It is safe to say that for many of us, the last few months have been one of the most difficult and uncertain periods in living memory. These times have highlighted the importance of social and emotional wellbeing for not only our students, but our teachers and parents as well. Nevertheless, what has been heartening is the unity of the entire Carey Donvale community; everyone is playing their part.
These current circumstances have taken from all of us a sense of control over our lives and over the world in which we live. Children need to be able to regain some control so they feel they can have a say in contributing to their world. Young children have valid opinions about what they can be doing to self-isolate and to social distance, and we have heard many great suggestions about how to do this while still staying connected with friends and family.
In a recent Early Childhood Australia Blog, Dr Fay Hadley and Dr Liz Rouse (Senior Lecturers in Early Childhood at Deakin University, Australia) provided some timely advice to educators and parents on how to create an extra layer of security for children by creating activities and spaces for them to be alone but feel safe and supported:
‘As parents and educators we can provide safe spaces for children to talk about their feelings, worries and concerns. Creating opportunities where children can engage in role play, art and music, allowing them to use their bodies to share and express their feelings are all important. Creating spaces for children to be alone and feel safe supports a sense of security in times of uncertainty. This can include using materials already to hand such as cushions or throw rugs, (choosing items that can easily be washed) or perhaps making little nooks where children can find a quiet space to just be. Supporting their sense of wellbeing and security at this time is our most important role. They are listening.’
As educators and parents we can also regain some control by seeing this as a unique opportunity; a chance to seize the day and ask ourselves the powerful question: What if?
- What if our children learn to have more empathy?
- What if our children find a greater level of family connection?
- What if our children learn to be creative and to entertain themselves?
- What if they develop a newfound love of reading, or learn to express themselves in writing?
- What if they learn to be safer and more discerning online?
- What if they learn that home is a place to be, and to dwell, rather than just a place to depart from?
- What if they learn to enjoy the simple things – noticing the sounds birds make, or when flowers begin to emerge, or the calming patter of gentle rain?
- What if this generation learn the value of sharing meals at home with family?
- What if our children learn to do laundry, cook and organise their spaces?
- What if they learn to stretch a dollar and live with less?
- What if they place greater value on our previously invisible health care workers?
- What if these children are not disadvantaged, but are actually AHEAD?
So, what if...?
Head of Junior School Donvale