LIFE & LIVING
Helping our children?
Helping our children to be Successful…
From home schooling to small group bubbles, blended learning and beyond. What does the future of schooling for our children look like? Elizabeth Parker looks at how we can help our children make progress and achieve their potential.
One thing you can be sure of is that everyone involved in the education of our young people wants the best. All of our educators have used the government guidelines to ensure the safety of our children whilst helping them to be educated in unprecedented times. From the moment that Boris Johnson or Gavin Williamson stood at the podium, teachers, head teachers and all educators would be informed and work to ensure everything was put in place. As one of those educators I always felt completely safe at school, a credit to the team I work with. If you have any fears I have often described schools as feeling safer than visiting the supermarket.
‘Current guidelines’ is a phrase that is used a lot with an understanding that the guidelines do change regularly, as they should, in response to scientific research and evidence. The almost daily discussion of ‘if and when’ a vaccine will be ready, herd immunity and the current number of cases linked to local lockdowns make us all feel a little on edge. So put yourself in the mind of a young person who has spent several months in a lockdown situation and not socialising with their friends apart from on screens. How do we move forward ensuring that they are ready to go back to school in September?
Your child’s school will have been in touch with you as parents to explain what is happening in September. Expect variation between schools as they interpret the guidelines and then put into place a robust plan which is reflective of the provision of your school. Primary schools are having staggered start times, specific play areas and class bubbles. Secondary schools are more complex and seem to show more variation. One school I know has year group bubbles in a specific area of the school with the teachers moving from class to class. Whilst another has implemented a strict one way system. Staggered start and end times, staggered lunches and lots of hand cleaning.
But what about the education of our children? Will these children be the lost children of the pandemic? Certainly not if the teachers have anything to do with it.
Education is not a one way street. It should not be something that is done to a child. It is not a passive process and now more than ever it should involve the school, parents and children working together. Easier said than done I hear you say and I am there with you. As the mother of a child who told me that the word Wednesday had too many letters in it and then a week later he went to school and wrote six lines independently for the teacher he adores. Getting a child to be proactive and completely on board is not an easy process.
With younger children I believe the key is in what they are interested. Henry doesn’t want to write and learn the days of the week whilst he was more than happy to be writing a descriptive piece about a monster he had invented.
Children need to develop resilience and a passion to want to do well. I have found this fantastic book that is written in a lovely readable format that just flows. It describes being kid average or kid awesome. ‘You Are Awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything’ by Matthew Syed. In this book Syed says, “Children will enter a world where things are changing faster than ever before. This book is about helping them to find their inner passion, curiosity, and confidence to reach their potential – and to thrive. I have always believed that mindset matters more than anything else when it comes to happiness and success.”
What is my advice to parents?
Think about how different life is going to be in September. As parents we are going to be juggling the demands of work and parent hood in an ever changing environment so think about how our young people will feel. We are going to have to wean them off the electronics that have been their social life, entertainment and providing the feel good endorphins of success and then to put them in an environment that will feel alien to them especially if they have not been to school since the start of lockdown.
What can you do?
Take time to discuss the new routines with them and the reasons behind why they need to be more independent learners.
Help them to organise themselves, their belongings and their time.
Plan their week and include time for the electronics that have been their life.
Ensure that you also have knowledge and access to all of their electronic learning platforms. Make your own note of their passwords.
If you can, sit with them while they do their homework.
Encourage them to talk to their teachers.
Be interested in what they are learning.