Posts tagged “How to help children”

During Lockdown, we saw that lots of schools were wondering how best to support the children in their care. In response to this, we started creating free resources and blogs for schools.  
 
Then we realised we could do more. 
 
What if we could equip children with skills for life to help them deal with whatever life throws at them? 

Emotional literacy - teaching non-academic skills 

Evidence suggests that development of non-academic skills is more effective when teaching is integrated into the regular school curriculum*. 
As the summer term comes to an end, our thoughts turn to head teachers who have spent five months with the emotional load of rethinking everything, thinking about every little detail of how to keep staff and children safe all the time. 
 
Every week has seemed to bring about another load of different procedural changes, then there was the need to open for key workers’ children, then Reception, Year 1, and Year 6, then wider opening, and it must have been like jugging multiple schools simultaneously. 
 
Not only has the building been under the spotlight, but so has providing a home school provision under the scrutiny of parents and the wider world. 
Are you feeling confused about how to approach children’s return to school in September? There are lots of conflicting opinions out there. An article in Friday’s TES talked about children needing routine, not hugs.  
 
Then there is The Recovery Curriculum – Evidence for Learning by Professor Barry Carpenter CBE and Matthew Carpenter – based on five levers, Relationships, Community, Transparent Curriculum, Metacognition, and Space (see Compass Hub for a free five-week Recovery Curriculum). You may have also heard terms like trauma-led approach, gratitude, Restorative Practice, SWAN, positive thinking, that all children have suffered an ACE (Adverse Child Experience), and more. 
Going back to the classroom after lockdown
We’ve been hearing about teachers being taught the SWAN framework as a springboard for thinking about the return to school for children and adults, whereby the swan looks like they are gracefully gliding across the surface, whilst in fact they are frantically paddling beneath the water. Teachers are being told that right now, our children need us more than ever to be the swan. 
 
Please think about what this teaches children before you start gliding around like nothing has happened. This teaches children that the right response to loss is to be strong. 
Going back to the classroom after lockdown
We are extremely excited to launch a year-long curriculum for schools, which has been created to give children the means to deal with losses of any kind and help their emotional development and wellbeing. The Open Ears Programme, designed to fit with the new PSHE guidelines due to come into place from September, is intended for whole-class teaching. 
 
Children will also gain plenty of other skills too, such as self-awareness, taking responsibility, being a good friend, and learning how to listen. 
Today the government has announced a £1bn catch-up package to provide extra support to children who have fallen behind while out of school. While this is fantastic news, we would urge schools to think about tackling recovery first before the curriculum. 
 
Here’s why. Returning to school for many children, having had six months away, 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. 
When children return to school, remember that every child’s Lockdown experience has been different. Teachers are not therapists, however what you can do is give children the right tools to deal with emotional pain and grief, and you can control how you talk and listen to children. 
 
There are some obvious and subtle behaviours that can indicate that children are not feeling ok or may even be in emotional distress. They may be struggling to adapt with the change of returning to school after a long period at home. They might have lost a family member to COVID-19. They may have had an awful time at home, having lost the one place they feel safe (school). Fundamentally, you know the children in your care and how they normally behave and react to situations. 
Going back to the classroom after lockdown
 
Families are experiencing more emotional outbursts from children of all ages in Lockdown. If you want to take the intensity out of them, or try to limit them as much as possible, firstly you need to understand why they might be happening, and secondly read on to find out what you can do about them. 
 
Tantrums are a short-term energy releasing behaviour. Think of it as a boiling kettle letting off steam. The feeling of frustration and the inability to communicate their feelings – either because they don’t understand what they’re feeling but know they’re feeling something, or because they’re not being heard – must come out somewhere. 
Emotional outbursts in children
What’s your main priority when your school opens? Get things back to ‘normal’? Safety and security of your teachers and pupils? The emotional well-being of all in your school community? Are you worried about the future and what that will hold for your staff and pupils? 
 
The re-opening of schools is certainly not an easy task for any Headteacher, and their Senior Leadership Team, to be considering in these unusual times. You are juggling the demands put forward by the Government (which seems to offer none of the reassurances school leaders want) versus the safety of your staff and students and the growing call for a well-being curriculum that allows all involved to process what has happened to them over the last few months. Now throw into the mix the negative portrayal of teachers in the press and morale of anyone returning to school being at an all-time low
Going back to the classroom after lockdown
Teachers need each other. This isn’t a time for working in isolation. Collaboration and friendship are vital in keeping teachers sane and happy, especially when everyone starts returning to work after Lockdown. You may not know what your colleagues have been through over the past few months. They may have been directly affected by COVID-19, they may have lost a close relative or friend, they may have been juggling home schooling their own children alongside their own workload and have now had to persuade their own children that it’s safe enough to go back to school. 
Going back to the classroom after lockdown
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