Smaller classes, staggered times for breaks, drop-offs and pick-ups, reducing the use of shared items are just a few of the changes schools are expected to put into place. As we know, school is not going to be as children, families or school staff remember it.
Many children find it difficult to settle back to school under 'normal' conditions after the summer break, let alone returning after such a long time under such strange circumstances. Some children will return already unregulated having experienced loss of family, friends, living with difficult scenarios such as parents loosing jobs and working long hours as key workers, even loosing homes.
Also it is almost certain that unpredictability will affect emotional health and well being for returning pupils and staff whilst they are expected to adapt to a 'new normal'. Other people play significant parts in regulating emotional and social behaviour in people. Teachers and parents will carry a level of anxiety over their own safety and indeed may question how all this is going to work. Their own worries will inevitably be passed onto and affect young people through mirror neurones creating more uncertainty instead of safety.
Relationships will change dramatically because one of the most important means of communication is touch. Touch being the very first non-verbal communication tool we learn from the the feel of the amniotic fluid in our mothers tummy and the feel of our mothers rocking and soothing us. Warm gestures of touch will no longer be safe as both children and teachers spend a great deal of time putting distancing policies into place. Some schools will use PPE which will mean voices could be heard differently and facial gestures mis-understood. Voice tones and facial gestures are primitive and vital ways for communication to develop, so are very important.The difference between regulating and controlling emotions will be the difference between a successful and thriving school.
Families and school staff can make the whole situation a lot easier if they have the support and resources to communicate safety and control, to young people, in an empathic and positive way. If adults are able to keep calm and feel in control themselves, they will promote a positive and resilient environment for young people which will not only help them to adapt but will help them to thrive through these constantly changing times. WORKSHOP: COVID-19: Helping children, families & schools
This workshop is designed to help children, families & schools to transition safely back into school.
- Introduction to the neuroscience of human relationships
- Ideas for acclimatising & adapting to 'new ways'
- Facilitating safe integration & change in schools
- Using different ways to adapt & change in relationship with others
- Creating resilience & wellbeing
- Methods to help families & schools to thrive
The workshop can be delivered safely either via internet platforms or in a spacious environment.