Building young skills at home with Aegis

Workers in lockdown are developing lots of new skills, including supporting their children whilst they are away from school and learning from home. Unionlearn Projects Officer Kath Dawson recently sent on two activities for children to Learn with Aegis to help parents.

Eva and Yasmin Aegis
Eva and Yasmin - learning with Aegis

Julie Thompson, Project Worker for Learn with Aegis passed on the activities to Gurdeep Chokkar, an Aegis ULR based at the Sunbury branch of the Yorkshire Building Society so she could give them a trial run, something that went down very well with her children Eva (12) and Yasmin (10).

Julie said:

There’s certainly a lot of things the Learn with Aegis Project Team and our learners aren’t liking about being stuck at home during lockdown. We’re all worried about our family and friends; we’re missing seeing the people we care about and going to the places we love…and wondering what life will eventually look like after lockdown.”

However, the union has found some surprising positives for Aegis learners during lockdown. Providers have been looking at different ways of learning, with more online courses, learners having tutoring via Zoom, opportunities via webinar facilities and extra resources becoming available for families learning together.

Two of Learn with Aegis’ younger learners, Eva and Yasmin, undertook an activity with one of those resources to Build a Block Tower and what they thought. The activity was overseen by ULR Gurdeep, better know as mum.

The activity was to design and build a cost-effective and free-standing tower using LEGO blocks with a budget of £150.  Each colour of blocks would have a different cost associated.

The skills being tested here were Maths, Physics and Art and Design. The activity took Eva and Yasmin around 45 minutes. The towers were costed out and designed on paper and the finished towers were pretty impressive when finished. 

Eva and Yasmin were happy to trial the learning activity and even gave feedback at the end to help.

Eva (12 ) said

It was a very fun task and even though it took a while I feel I used the time well.  I’m looking forwards to the next task”. 

Yasmin (10) added: 

I really enjoyed working on the tower, it was fun and I got to be very creative with it. It did take quite a long time however, I thought it was very good way of keeping me entertained whilst learning at the same time”.

ULR and mum Gurdeep explained that she is probably going to be at home until at least June

Gurdeep said:

Kids are home and its very challenging keeping them busy with schoolwork. These activities came at the perfect time... because many adults with children at home are in the same situation.  The activities were easy to follow. If you have children, and LEGO, you are ready.”

Due to the age difference between Eva and Yasmin, the time spent on the activity was different.  They both needed more time, 30 mins was not enough. I gave them up to 1 hour- maybe in a class setting with older children, 30 mins would be ok. Eva understood the maths, younger Yasmin needed more guidance from me.”

Gurdeep said she would be passing on this activity to some of the other parents in the local area.

Julie was really impressed when she saw the photos of the finished towers and the planning and budgeting the girls did as part of the task. 

Julie commented:

We are getting various requests from our learners to have activities aimed at supporting Home Schooling or learners wanting to make good use of their time whilst under lockdown.  As a project we love the fact that learning providers have adapted quickly to the change in environment and with  
providing courses and activities that will work for our learners and their families”.

Kath said:

This shows how unions and ULRs are adapting and being creative under these unique conditions. I’m so glad that the activities have been able to support [email protected]

Learn with Aegis is a very creative project who have utilised these activities to reach out to members and their families. Their story shows how ULF projects teams are continuing to work in this changing environment to support learning.”

Unionlearn has added a page of resources, links and ideas aimed at parents supporting their children at home during the lockdown. Go to the "Learning at Home with you children" page.