The COVID pandemic has forced us all to adapt our day-to-day. Though it’s exacerbated many of the challenges that RMCC kids were already facing, it’s also taught us to be more adaptable, resilient, and creative.

Here are four learnings that will influence RMCC programs in 2022 and beyond:

Building mental wellbeing and social connections must remain our number one priority.

The largest driver of stress for RMCC kids during lockdown wasn’t falling behind in schoolwork (though many experienced this due to reduced teacher contact); it was being isolated from their classmates. Recognising that stressed kids can’t learn well, our Programs team ensured each session’s activities focused on reinforcing their sense of connection with others. This guarantee of weekly interaction with other kids saw our program attendance numbers increase throughout lockdown.

Food is the way to everyone’s heart!

Of all the fun activities we design for each session, the one the kids have talked most about is the ice-cream biscuits they learned to make. We’ll include more cooking-related activities in future sessions; it teaches them life skills, maths, reading skills, and provides a delicious reward at the end.

We need to reconnect with the parents of RMCC kids.

When they bring their kids to our weekly face-to-face sessions, it carves out some time in their hectic weeks to watch their children’s progress, participate in the learning, and connect with other parents in similar situations. When we’ve had to run programs online, the parents are too busy at home juggling their family’s needs to be able to sit down and participate in the session. Parents are a critical link in the support network we create around RMCC kids, so we must ensure they feel as supported by RMCC as their children do.

Access to technology is a permanent need for students, not just something required during lockdown.

Our Tech to Connect donors helped provide RMCC kids with access to Chromebooks and internet from home during lockdown, but we’re not removing this access now that lockdown is over. Kids that don’t have technology at home can’t research and learn with the same effectiveness as peers that do. We’re committed to ensuring any child in RMCC programs has ongoing access to technology for their learning: lockdown or no lockdown.

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