Have you heard the words: “The children will fall so far behind…” during Lockdown? If we don’t spend a period of time focussing on Recovery when all the children return to school, they will continue to be far behind. 
Here’s why. Returning to school is going to cause a second loss event. Loss of their new structure, routine, safety, security, and family. And that is for the children who haven’t suffered a bereavement during Lockdown and haven’t endured any suffering.  
Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by a change or an end in a familiar pattern of behaviour. Common responses to grief include sleepless nights, lack of concentration, restlessness, or emotional highs and lows. These reactions are normal and natural, and as you can imagine, will inhibit children’s abilities to learn. 

 Preparing to help students with loss 

To prepare for children who have experienced a death of a relative or friend, we would suggest creating a record of losses to families, which is shared with the leadership team, pastoral workers, and class teachers. You may wish to gather this information via teachers who are calling families for weekly updates, or via a gentle email to parents and carers. This way, you can be as prepared as possible for children who will inevitably need a greater level of support. 

Easing back into school 

Try not to worry about learning the curriculum for at least the first few weeks back at school, try to return to it gently. Here are our tips to help your school during the recovery phase: 
Send photos or do a video of the school to show to children before they return. This will help them to see what to expect when they return. 
Treat it like September. Spend time getting to know the children again. What are their likes and dislikes? How do they like to learn? (Think ‘metacognition’). What are their hobbies? 
What was Lockdown like for them? Plan lessons around this. 
Children need time to explore their feelings and emotions. They may struggle to understand how and why they feel the way they do. Give them the tools to be able to express themselves. Be patient. Returning to school may result in some behavioural issues. 
Listen. When they talk to you about their feelings, try not to interrupt. Then acknowledge how they’re feeling. 

How we can help 

We are creating lots of resources that you can use before and after Lockdown is lifted. These include posters, tips, articles, lesson plans, videos and more, which are being made available on our website – www.griefuk.org/schools. 
If you have a specific need or want relating to the kind of resources you’d like to see, please email us on schools@griefuk.net or take our easy, 1-minute survey
When Children Grieve is a definitive guide to helping children really deal with loss from the authors of the Grief Recovery Handbook and founders of the Grief Recovery Institute - available in paperback and as an audiobook on our online shop
Helping Children Deal with Loss programme 
This programme for adults will teach you how to communicate with the children in your care about losses they have experienced and those they yet might face. Led by a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist this programme uses When Children Grieve as the textbook as you work through the process step by step over weekly sessions. More information can be found here

Have you seen our Top 5 tips for living through lockdown? 

Living Through Lockdown
Get your free copy of our Living Through Lockdown eBook to have all of our tips in a handy, downloadable guide! 
Take a look at our 5-point Plan for how to cope, improve your relationships and start feeling better today: 
Looking to expand your in-depth knowledge? 
Would you like to speak to someone or are considering a Grief Recovery programme? Click here to find an online Specialist who can help you right away
Living Through Lockdown eBook
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