We have come through and are still going through one of the most testing times we have ever experienced, we are in the middle of a global pandemic, we are struggling to eradicate racsism, global warming is alarmingly severe and our children are trying to navigate a new way of learning and maintain social distanced friendships. None of this is easy but it can be helped with constructive ways to meet these challenges, we have to actively search for the silver linings.
I am not going to ask how you have got on with learning a new language, mastering a musical instrument or how you have set up a new global online empire during quarantine - I'm sure you all have that in hand! We need to focus now on the next stage and for all of us at BCB this means getting our children back to school.
The first few days and weeks of any new academic year are often filled with a mixture of both excitement and anxiety. Not just for the children, I know very well that parents and teachers also experience the same feelings. It is important to start talking to the children about their feelings and how they have felt about being at home for so long and how they feel about returning to school. Children will feel the whole range of emotions and it is important to let them know that this is perfectly normal for them. You can help children identify big worries and little worries, let them know who they can talk to both at home and at school. It is , of course, especially important to reassure children about how to keep safe. Good preparations include hand washing for 20-30 seconds, catching coughs and sneezes in tissues, keeping a safe distance and to follow the very clear instructions that their teachers will give.
Children respond so well to the regular routines of school life, the transition period back to a full physical school will take time, this can start with getting back to normal routines, the school timetable will provide the structure that for many will feel like putting on a familar cosy warm coat.
We need to focus on rebuilding relationships, when the children eventually return to the physical classroom they will have had a whole range of different experiences whilst they were away. It is important to turn the separation period into an advantage. We will spend time listening, understanding where the children are and what they need, we will all need time to re-engage with school.
One of the big positives is the level of involvement in a childs education, never before have parents been in this position of being so ‘hands-on’ with their childs education. The single greatest , most important and the most underutilised resoucre is a parent's love for their child. Parents and teachers have a common purpose - to help children learn and to be successful in all they do, let's build on this collaboration and use this to make the gap between home and school ever closer.