Dear Parents and Carers
As I sign off for now, from a fully open and functioning school, I wanted to leave you with some thoughts for the weeks ahead and the time you will now spend with your children.
You might be inclined to create a minute-by-minute schedule for your children. You have high hopes of hours of learning, including online activities, science experiments, and projects. You’ll limit technology until everything is done! But here’s the thing...
Our children are just as scared as we are right now. Our children can not only hear everything that is going on around them, but they feel our constant tension and anxiety. They have never experienced anything like this before. Although the idea of being off school for many weeks sounds awesome, they are probably picturing an exciting extended spring break, not the reality of being trapped at home and not seeing their friends.
Over the coming weeks, you will see an increase in behaviour issues with your children. Whether it’s anxiety, or anger, or protesting that they can’t do things normally - it will happen. You’ll see more meltdowns, tantrums, and oppositional behaviour in the coming weeks. This is normal and expected under these circumstances.
What children need right now is to feel comforted and loved. To feel like it’s all going to be okay. And that might mean that you tear up your perfect schedule, some of the time, and interact and play games with your children a bit more. Play outside and go on walks (safely and with social distancing of course); bake cakes and paint pictures; play board games and watch films; do a science experiment together or find virtual field trips of the zoo; start a book and read together as a family or just snuggle under warm blankets and do nothing.
Don’t worry about them regressing in school. Every single child is in the same situation and they will all be okay. When we are back in the classroom, we will all ‘course correct’ and meet them where they are. Teachers are experts at this!
Don’t pick fights with your children because they don’t want to do maths.
Don’t scream at your children for not following the schedule.
Don’t mandate 2 hours of learning time if they are resisting it.
If I can leave you with one thing, it’s this: at the end of all of this, your children’s mental health will be more important than their academic skills. And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during those 4 weeks (or more) is long gone.
So, keep that in mind, every single day.
Finally, we have created a home school page for you which has links to safeguarding and wellbeing advice as well as teaching and learning tips. We will update it regularly and every week I will be in contact with you all to keep you in touch with the news at school.
As I said to the students this week:
‘These are dark clouds …but they will move on…the blue sky above never leaves.’
Work hard, stay safe and keep smiling while you are away from us. We are already looking forward to welcoming you back.
Mrs S. Williams