Returning to Cross Farm - Excitement or Anxiety
The 8th March 2021 is an exciting day for us as an Academy as we welcome our children that have been remote learning since the 4th January. However as I feel excited I am also full of all sorts of other emotions.
The children will be feeling the same. During the week leading up to the 8th March it is key to remember that these children have been away from the Academy for 12 weeks! The equivalent of 2 summer holidays. They are full of every emotion possible and this will manifest itself in so many different ways.
Children will be excited to see their friends and their teachers and return to the academy. They will like to get back to a routine that they are familiar with and in a different space where they feel safe.
Anxious and nervous
Many children will be showing signs of being anxious. Children have got settled in to the routine of being at home and not leaving the house other than for essential things. They will be in to a routine with remote learning and the one to one support they have received from their adults at home. They will be nervous about being back with other children and part of a bigger group.
Some children will feel anger toward the Academy. They will be angry that they have not been allowed to come in and learn and be with their friends. They will feel like we have abandoned them and will need to reestablish trust with us.
Sad and Upset
For lots of children they have enjoyed being at home. Having a change in routine to learn at home getting lots of fabulous attention from their grown ups and having that personal touch all the way through. This is now changing and for some children they will be sad about this and not spending so much time with their grown ups at home.
Many children will be confused about the current situation. They are returning to Cross Farm however they cannot see their friends and family still outside of the Academy. They will be asking lots of questions as to why this is the case and will require lots of support in understanding the small steps to coming out of the lockdown.
We are fully prepared as an Academy to support the range of emotions children will be feeling as they return to the Academy and our focus for the first couple of weeks will be back on the levers which were identified after the first lockdown these are:
- Relationships - children will need to reform relationships with children and adults and may need support with this.
- Community - continue to make links between home and the Academy will be key for children to feel that the remote learning was there to support them in the Academy.
- Transparent Curriculum - children may feel that they have lost time with their learning and we want to show them that we understand this and will support them to become the confident learners in the Academy again.
- Metacognition - Different styles of learning will have been mastered at home and children may need support with the styles of learning in the classroom.
- Space - children need to be given time to rediscover self and to find their voice on learning.
It is also key at this point to remember that the children who have been attending Cross Farm during this lockdown will also be feeling all these emotions. Routines will be different and they are nervous about seeing their friends and being back part of a full classrooms.
There are some fantastic ideas shared by CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) through a return to school document to support parents and carers.
Within the document there is a fantastic explanation of emotional coaching which is a strategy we use across the Academy to support children. This involves 5 steps
- Be Aware
- Connect with your child
- Listen and tune-in with your child
- Name your child's feelings out loud
- Set limits and problem solve together
For each of these it has great suggestions of ways you can support each of these. Time for children to talk at the moment is really key. Being open and honest with them about Covid-19 will help them to manage their feelings and emotions to understand what is going on at this moment in time.
If your child is struggling with the return to Cross Farm please let us know. As a team we are dedicated to ensure children's mental health and wellbeing is our priority as we know children who do not feel safe and happy, do not learn effectively.
As a result over the 3 and a half weeks up to Easter our main priorities will be children's social and emotional wellbeing followed by understanding what gaps in knowledge children have prior to continuing to cover the essential curriculum coverage so they can confidently succeed in their year group and beyond. This will apply for all children not just the children who are returning.
The resilience that children have shown over the past year is remarkable and they deserve our praise for continuing to manage each day as well as they do!