Reported by Fife Council – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.
On 23rd March 2020 the United Kingdom went into lockdown in response to Covid-19. All schools closed and children began home learning. Apart from taking some daily exercise as a family group, children have been confined within their home environment. Interaction with extended family and peers has been limited to those with access to social media. This has become the new norm for our pupils.
The key finding is that most children are RESILIENT. Good communication, caring staff with supportive relationships, effective planning and the safety and predictability of routines will effectively settle most children back into schools. Most pupils will require no formal intervention but will benefit from the support naturally given by family and friends as well as other key adults in their lives.
Research indicates that some children will require additional support to manage ANXIETY in the shorter term. Children are highly attuned to parental anxieties. Given the economic impact of the pandemic many adults will be anxious about their jobs/sources of income and ability to pay household bills. TV and media reports can also have a cumulative effect causing concerns about present and future health. Additional planning by the team around the child for highly anxious pupils will benefit and support them into school.
Many children will be anxious about the loss of RELATIONSHIPS. The relationships in school that pupils have built over the years with key adults, as well as peers, may have become more fragile during social isolation. Pupils will require time to adjust and support to reconnect with and rebuild these trusting relationships.
Bereavement and loss
Children may also require support to cope with BEREAVEMENT AND LOSS. It is probable that most children may return to school knowing of someone who has died. Some will have faced the death of a significant person in their lives. Educational Psychology Service have Bereavement and Loss leaflets available on the website.
A minority of pupils are likely to require intensive interventions and long-term support.
Risks experienced by children
Children may have been affected by a range of difficult situations during lockdown, for example government statistics indicate that there has been a surge in domestic abuse incidents since lockdown was put in place. Children who have witnessed domestic abuse may be likely to present with high levels of anxiety and difficulties settling to learn. Multi-agency planning will be required to support these parents and children going forward.
Transition back to school for nursery and primary pupils
Practical suggestions for parents and carers
- Speak with your school over any transition programmes they may be offering online or by other means.
- Find out what the school day may look like so that you can practice this in advance with your child.
- Most schools use a visual timetable which can help children to plan their day, you could try this too using photos or pictures of daily activities.
- Rehearse with your child regularly that they will be starting or returning to school but you are not sure when.
- Explore the school website with your child where you may be able to have a virtual tour of the school and see staff members.
- Play “schools” at home with you and your child taking turns to be the teacher- make it fun!
- Try on school uniforms if you have them and practice packing the school bag with items they will need – keep it exciting and make a game of doing this
- Where possible walk past your school or through the grounds during your daily exercise session
- Practise self- help skills, for example putting on coats and shoes independently, washing hands after visiting the toilet .
- Try and keep links with other children who will be starting / returning to school either by phone or social media.
- Consider noting some key information which may be useful to share with staff upon return, such as what your child enjoys or what they find tricky.
- Should you have questions which cannot be answered through looking at the school website or other school communication, note these so they can be answered at some point in the future.
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