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Digital exclusion: How we’re keeping families & families connected in lockdown

During the pandemic, it’s become more and more important to make sure that families have the technology and connectivity to keep children learning through lockdown. Children like four-year-old Matilda, a bright, chatty girl with lots of energy who loves going to nursery to learn and play with other pre-schoolers.

Because of the restrictions, Matilda’s nursery has been closed for significant amounts of time over the last year which meant she’s had to spend a lot more time at home with her Mum, Hayley, and two older siblings, Keisha and Oliver.

Like many families, before the pandemic, online technology was not such a big issue. But as all three children stayed home from school and nursery, it became very clear that there was not enough equipment or wi-fi connectivity in the house to make sure that they could all keep up with their learning.

So, when Hayley found out about the Good Things Foundation scheme to give families access to tablets and wi-fi routers, funded by BBC Children in Need, she applied to her local online learning centre. They supplied the kit and a short educational course on how to use it, so Hayley could then set up home learning for all three children.

The tablet made a huge difference to their lives in lockdown. The two older children used it until they could borrow laptops from their primary and secondary schools. Then Matilda played educational Phonics and Maths games every day to help prepare her for starting school in September. Matilda also loves karate and has continued lessons online with her teachers.

And when the tablet wasn’t being used, Mum logged on to study from home so she could complete her qualifications in health and social care whilst maintaining her role as a volunteer in family support at her local hospital.

As the children return to school and nursery, they can continue to use the tablet to enhance their classroom learning and stay connected with family and friends until the restrictions ease fully and life returns to normal.

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