As more Illawarra businesses adapt to survive and thrive through coronavirus Acting Up Drama Academy is supporting its students in three ways.
Founder and owner Erin Bubb also knows how communication is now more important than ever.
"All over the world students are finding themselves thrust into a world of online learning, and, just like their teachers, they have had zero time to prepare and zero time to understand what this change will look like in their day-to-day life," she said.
"We are in unchartered territory. And what we need are students and teachers who are equipped with the confidence and skills to communicate clearly and competently in a variety of situations".
Fortunately in Acting Up Drama Academy's case teaching communication skills is a core part of what it does with students of all ages.
"Speech and drama and performance and communication are not just skills and lessons that help students shine on stage as a performer," Ms Bubb said.
"These are skills that stay with our students for a life-time. Skills that help them as a school leader, or skills that help them stand out in a job interview. Our students have gone on to be successful lawyers, news reporters and teachers".
Having communication skills as such a key ingredient of what it does Acting Up Drama Academy was able to adjust quickly in response to the spread of COVID-19 and the need for social and physical distancing.
It was quickly able to use technology to set up a Google Classroom online so students could have immediate and direct access to a variety of content 24/7.
"We create and upload numerous videos daily so that students can access our online learning content at a time that suits them and their families," Ms Bubb said.
"In our online classroom we set daily challenges and activities for our students to complete.
"We acknowledge and understand that our students are dealing with a high level of anxiety in these uncertain times.
"So to produce an online classroom with accessible content has provided them with some normality and routine. Which has eased their mental state.
"Providing this online content also allows parents to connect with their children as they learn.
"We have received some heart-warming photos and videos of our students and their families engaging in their online content. Images of them playing, learning and laughing together".
Online learning is one of three measures Acting Up Drama Academy has deployed to combat the impact of COVID-19.
Along with other educational institutions and businesses it is using video conferencing technologies such as Zoom, Facebook Messenger and Skype to continue to deliver live face-to-face content.
That has allowed students to receive their tuition in real time and keep some routine.
Ms Bubb said as with any change there are always difficulties to overcome.
"Speech and drama is such a physical and interactive activity that some components of the lesson are certainly lessened when social distancing," she said.
"But we believe that the performance and communication skills that we teach and have equipped our students with, will ensure our students rise to the new challenges they are being faced with in this ever-changing world".
Ms Bubb is also aware that not all families have access to technology.
And some don't have instant Internet access required for online learning..
So she has created a physical work pack for students to work on individually and with their families.
She said Acting Up Drama Academy will do everything it can to continue engaging, teaching and inspiring the next generation of leaders. And COVID-19 won't stop it doing that.
Ms Bubb said she will keep changing to find and develop the best ways to deliver lessons that help build resilient, confident communicators.
"We will continue to evolve and thrive in our ever-changing environment," she said.
The Illawarra Mercury has launched a Taking Care of Business campaign.
Each day we will highlight a local business who is adapting or evolving to be able to keep operating under these trying times.
If you know of a business adapting, please send us an email titled Taking Care of Business to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have also put a call out and will run a list of cafes, restaurants and clubs who are offering takeaway or delivery on our Facebook page. If you know of an outlet now offering home delivery or takeaway, please let us know and add it to the list.
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