Ready for onsite learning

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9 October 2020

who is my neighbour?As students, families and teachers get ready for the return to onsite learning, CatholicCare has offered some helpful ways to support children through the transition. Sarah, Child & Family Counsellor at CatholicCare, encourages parents to ‘support their children through these periods by encouraging self-regulation of their emotions’. One important way to do this is to help children to name their feelings. ‘Not only does it allow your child to develop vocabulary so they can talk about their feelings, but also creates a starting point to explore the root of the problem.’ Sarah suggests creating a ‘toolbox’ of coping strategies that includes physical activities like stretching, as well as identifying trusted friends and finding creative outlets that help a child to regulate their emotions.

While it can be an exciting time to reconnect with friends, there can also be a mix of other feelings, including anxiety. ‘Parents have done an amazing job during these challenging times’, says Dr Anthea Rhodes, paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), ‘and while lots of parents are breathing a huge sigh of relief about kids getting back to school, it’s normal to have some worries too’. In a helpful video put out by the RCH, Dr Rhodes helps parents to support their child through the transition. ‘All children will experience things differently and, while some will run out the door and can’t wait to get back to school, others may be experiencing some worry or anxiety about leaving home and the return to onsite learning.’

Principal Marcy De Nardis of St Thomas More’s School, Hadfield, has been encouraging her teachers and families ‘to listen to the student voice, and to offer them an opportunity to express what they feel is important during this time and their ideas about how best they can transition back to onsite learning. We want our children to have a voice and to help determine the best way forward, for their wellbeing and their learning’.

For principal Chris Reed at Mother Teresa School, Mount Ridley, this is a time for kindness. He is encouraging students, staff and families to imagine what this time can be like if we look at it as a pandemic of kindness. ‘We’re trying to consider: what would a pandemic of kindness look like for ourselves, in our community, for our neighbour and beyond our community? Our kids will be exploring that in the parable of the Good Samaritan, and exploring how they can reach out like Mother Teresa.’