Qatar Foundation school parents talk about how they used the pandemic as an opportunity to learn, play, and build stronger family bonds
While the lockdown has proven extremely challenging for the majority of the population, many parents have used the crisis as an opportunity to help their children grow and develop through exciting at-home activities and online learning, while building strong and healthy family relationships.
The benefits of staying home have not been limited to academia, but it has been a chance for the family to reestablish a positive environment at home
Hanadi Haider is the mother of three children at Qatar Academy Al Wakra (QAW), part of Qatar Foundation's Pre-University Education. She says that through online competitions and courses, her children gained a variety of different skills and knowledge.
“We definitely benefited from the lockdown caused by COVID-19,” Hanadi explains. “Two of my children – Fahad and Hamad – took part in a number of different courses online, including the 2020 Qatar Virtual Marathon organized by the Qatar Olympic Committee. They also visited the Ajial Center to present a message of thanks and gratitude to the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy for its efforts in combating the pandemic.
“They were also able to practice their photography and filmmaking skills by taking part in the school stars competition in Qatar and winning first place.”
The benefits of staying home have not been limited to academia, but it is has been a chance for the family to reestablish a positive environment at home, full of energy, love, and creativity.
“We immersed ourselves in our children’s world. We played with Lego, painted pictures, kept fit, and through these activities, we were able to help our youngest child Jawaher develop a range of skills. We worked hard to make sure that they learned the importance of spending time with the family,” says Hanadi.
“And with the easing of restrictions, we have started going to the beach every week, fishing and swimming. The pandemic has taught us that, with a positive outlook, we can transform any crisis into an opportunity of learning and play, while building healthy relationships with our children.”
Kholoud Al Kuwari is a doctor and mother of four students at QAW. She says that staying at home was not easy, for both the young people who had to learn using digital platforms, or the parents who had to work remotely along with helping their children with their studies.
We used the lockdown as a chance to enroll our children in educational activities
“We used the lockdown as a chance to enroll our children in educational activities, like Qatar Reads. My daughter, Maryam, participated in a competition organized by the Visual Art Center, where she won an award for a drawing she did about the pandemic. She has also been nominated for the Education Excellence Award 2020, which aims at consolidating and promoting the culture of excellence in the field of education by celebrating outstanding winners says Dr. Al Kuwari.
Online competitions and activities have helped encourage students to strive for excellence, instilling confidence in their abilities. “My other children also participated in several projects, such as a project to create a house for a cat out of empty plastic containers. My son Jassim also presented videos to raise awareness of the pandemic, which saw both of my children doing a lot of research online.”
Explaining how the quarantine served as chance to improve communication between family members, Dr. Al Kuwari says: “We had a great time together. As a family, we did a lot of physical activity – yoga, walking, and swimming – and built some truly wonderful memories.”
Jocelyn Malesa, a mother of two students at Qatar Academy Msheireb, explains that when the lockdown was announced, there was a need to adapt very quickly, especially in terms of creating an appropriate space in the house for online learning and remote working.
“We had to reorganize the rooms,” Jocelyn explains. “Such as customize an office for my daughters to study online. My husband had to host webinar for his company from our dining room, so I had to basically beg our children to be silent and remain in their bedrooms for three plus hours at a time during his presentations. And that was hard work!”
Jocelyn applauded the teachers’ dedication in creating detailed and varied lesson plans that resulted in well-rounded, all-encompassing, full academic days of learning for both of her daughters.
My girls learned a tremendous amount of Arabic during the lockdown. This was actually one of the main reasons we enrolled them at a Qatar Foundation school
“Their teachers were easily reachable and were ready to help us and clarify coursework when needed. But even more, the staff at Qatar Academy Msheireb have evolved into not only our friends, but also an extension of our family.
“My girls learned a tremendous amount of Arabic during the lockdown – they’re not native speakers. This was actually one of the main reasons we enrolled them at a Qatar Foundation school.”
The family also used their time at home to learn a variety of life skills. As Jocelyn explains, “We were able to teach them how to properly fold clothes, prepare basic meals, understand measurement differences and abbreviations – like tsp and tbsp – and how to tie shoelaces. They also learned how to ride their bicycles without training wheels. And now that the beaches and the Al Khor zoo have reopened, we have been taking little family trips.”
Jocelyn also explains how they used this time to create open dialogues at home, discussing important topics such as real-life superheroes. “We continue to speak with them about superheroes, from doctors and nurses, to the people who feed stray animals. And this is actually how Madeleine – one of our daughters – decided to become a veterinarian.”