These last 7 weeks have been a learning curve for just about everyone. Whether it has been working our how to organise learning at home, discovering the implications of being furloughed or dealing with relationships both within your household, as well as struggling with maintaining relationships out of the house, there is no denying that we have lived a very different life from what we have been used to.
Our children, as well as ourselves, probably will be encountered some elements of trauma and it is really important to acknowledge the difficulties each family have gone through, and as the next stage approaches, more anxieties will, no doubt, arise. It is important to validate all these difficult feelings and emotions and not just reassure: we don’t actually know that everything will be normal soon! Children (and adults) need to know that worries and concerns are serious and they matter.
What is trauma?
Trauma is the response to any events encountered as an out of control, frightening experience that disconnects us from all sense of resourcefulness, safety, coping and/or love. (Tara Brach, 2011)
Trauma is not an event itself, but an emotional response to an overwhelmingly painful and stressful event where there was no-one there to help you with what was happening at that time (Margot Sunderland)
As a Trauma Informed School, this understanding is high on our agenda. We know and understand that trauma can impact on our relationships, self esteem and behaviour and can replace positive social engagement with more negative defensive behaviour. It also halts our capacity to learn.
All of us have recently experienced a sudden, unwanted change which has been completely beyond anyone’s control.
We have all experienced loss in the last 7 weeks. Loss looks very different, but encompasses loss of friends and significant relationship with adults; routine and structure; safety; freedom to act; the ability to mark milestones; and possibly bereavement.
We have all experienced isolation, fear and uncertainty; some children will have experienced dysregulated adults, increased poverty and for some, domestic abuse. Children do not just ‘witness’ domestic violence, they experience it.
In our ‘Recovery Plan’ we are aware of the different life experiences of the last 7 weeks and are planning how to support our children and staff. On Friday, we will send out a letter outlining what our return to school will look like, so that you can make an informed decision as to whether you will send your child back to school or not, if they are in EYFS, years 1 or 6.Whatever decision you make, you are the parent and you know what is best for your children and your family. However, it would be irresponsible of the school to pretend that we can guarantee a COVID-free environment and that social distancing in the classroom will be achievable one hundred per cent of the time, despite our very best efforts.
Meanwhile, we would like to signpost 3 brilliant resources: A Book of Worries, a link to Headstart Kernow, and another fantastic book written especially in the preparation in the return to school.
In the meantime, please pass onto your children, that all the adults in school are missing them!
A fantastic book about worries
This website has a wealth of resources to support children’s mental wellbeing. Many of the resources are aimed at children aged 10+
The return to school
This is a book you are able to download to support your children in the return in school after school closure due to COVID-19. It has been recommended to us, and we will be using it in some classes.