Coronavirus Support and Resources

Last updated: 5th April 2020

This page will be updated as often as possible with resources and signposting to help us collectively through the coming days and weeks. Please do let us know the issues you are facing and your concerns. If we can help we will do so. Get in touch using our email: info@catalystpsych.co.uk

Last Monday we tuned into Reasons to be Cheerful “a podcast about ideas to fix the world” hosted by Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd. We were both humbled and proud to hear local headteacher Jayne Kennedy (Barlow Hall Primary) describing the many ways in which her dedicated team are supporting vulnerable children in their area, as so many of you will be doing in your schools and communities. Jayne’s story, representative of all our Manchester communities, reduced listeners to tears. This is just one of many inspiring stories behind the headlines. Follow the link in our ‘podcast of the week’ section to hear the interview.

This website gathered a lot of interest last week and we value and welcome feedback and comments. One of our readers, a parent, challenged us on Twitter:  "I think we are OK for activities, school work, reading etc. What I think my KS2 son is missing the most is free playtime with his peers. Any suggestions for how to do this?" Always up for a challenge, we have turned our attention this week to the question of play, particularly social play, whilst we are distancing.

Latest resources

The importance of play: 5th April 

If adults played more maybe they wouldn’t be as stressed all the time

In 2019 the British Psychological Society published a position paper on “Children’s Right to Play” which explains why play is important to all aspects of children’s development. Many schools are developing as Rights Respecting Schools using principles from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). In 2013 the UNCRC defined play as “behaviour initiated, controlled and structured by children, as non-compulsory, driven by intrinsic motivation, not a means to an end and that it has key characteristics of fun, uncertainty, challenge, flexibility and non-productivity.” According to educational psychologists, “the importance of children being able to play without intrusive adult controls or structure has been recognised as an important factor in promoting lifelong attributes,  such as resilience and flexibility and the development and maintenance of children’s social relationships.” (Mannello, Casey & Atkinson, 2019).

Here, with some help from Michael Rosen, children explain why play is important:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dGjaTWF3KY

There is clearly a challenge in the current circumstances of the required "lockdown" to find ways to enable children to play and to maintain play-based social relationships with their friends. We have a number of suggestions below and hope there are some new ideas here as well as, perhaps, some forgotten favourites.

Practical ideas for keeping in touch with friends (all ages)

Hannah McHugh (hannah@catalystpsych.co.uk) and Ruby Noble (ruby@catalystpsych.co.uk)

Ruby and Hannah have reviewed the variety of ways to stay in touch and ideas for virtual socials/play dates. See the full list on our website here or download the information sheet here.

Re-discover your inner child…

Rebecca Wright (rebecca@catalystpsych.co.uk)

Rebecca has put together an information and ideas sheet for parents that considers the different types of play (free play, guided play, directed play, work disguised as play and work) with some examples for each aspect. Why not give your older children ‘permission’ to re-experience ideas they may have left behind? Download Rebecca's resource sheet here and see more ideas on our webpage here.

Teacher Views

Will Tyrrell is a teacher at Silver Springs Primary Academy in Stalybridge.

“Last week, I wrote that maintaining personal connections would prove even more important for children than academic learning during this lockdown. Children’s wellbeing should always come first! That is why many teachers across the world have been setting fun challenges for children, alongside traditional home learning tasks. It is also why, at Silver Springs, we are giving our children and families a break over what would have been the Easter holiday.

We will still be in touch with them every day, encouraging the children to continue to learn, but – more importantly – we will be encouraging them to relax and play with their families. Instead of setting work throughout each day, we are setting ten projects for the two weeks. There are story-writing, cookery and art challenges - including a competition to decorate an egg. There is a challenge to design an indoor egg hunt, and another to teach origami skills. We have also sent links to interesting documentaries for families to watch together and discuss.

We are hoping that this will bring families together, encourage our children to rest and relax, and inspire yet more positivity in these uncertain and challenging times.”

Support for adults (school staff and parents)

 

Practical resources to support children and young people

 

Psychology research and evidence base

 

Weekly updates: Catalyst Courier



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