Updated: Sep 13, 2020
It is typical that after a long relaxing summer break away from school, children require some support from parents and teachers to get back into the routine of school life. However, this summer hasn't just been a typical ‘relaxing break’. If anything, lock-down life has been a strange and confusing time and for many families, the affects of the lock-down have resulted in huge changes. Some families have had financial crisis and I have worked with many families who have struggled to put together meals for the next day. On the other hand, there is no doubt that some parents also have some trepidation about sending children back to school and these worries may have been handed down to the children like an undesirable heirloom.
For many children, especially those in my SEMH (Social, emotional and mental health) setting, school is safe place to be. It’s where they find familiar faces and comforting routines, there are adults to talk to, children to play with and food to eat. We need to do our best as educators to continue to facilitate a safe and welcoming environment, as we always do, but this time with different considerations in mind. Of course you'll need to re-enforce the government’s hygiene routine (wash, wash and wash again) and this will become a part of daily life for the foreseeable future. But you may also want to consider that the mental health of some of many of your pupils will be adversely affected. Some have had to shield because of vulnerable family members, while others haven’t played closely with any friends at all during the whole lock-down period, so there will be some adjustments to help ease them into being once again part of a new-style group, together…whilst metres apart.
I've created a free downloadable for you which you can grab when you sign up below. In it I've included a few fun activities that I might introduce to my pupils in the first weeks back. Some activities will look to relieve children’s anxieties, whilst others will help contribute to the collaborative team vibe I’m looking to instil. I then thought it might be helpful for you to have a planner template so that you can decide which activities you want to do and when you’ll do them so I’ve included that too! I've thought of these activities with my Social, Emotional and Mental Health group pupils in mind, so they'll work for children with similar needs and you may want to adapt for other SEN difficulties.
Don't forget to show me over on Instagram what activities you've done to support children back to school after lock down. Happy Planning!