Last updated: 27th March 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
As the Coronavirus crisis continues, this week we received the instruction that we should all remain at home as much as possible and avoid any unnecessary travel or contact with others, even members of our family. Meanwhile, children and young people are encountering a host of new experiences as “home-schooling” begins for most children and “childcare at school” has started for a few.
These are unsettling times for us all, as we grapple collectively with the loss of hopes, dreams and anticipated experiences (holidays, family celebrations); isolation; new worries about work and income, and, for some families, significant difficulties in sourcing food. Through all of this we hear news of friends and relatives becoming ill and experience the continuing anxiety of an unknown future. If you are aware of feelings that are new and unsettling or uncomfortable, it might help to recognise this as a collective experience of grief, described beautifully in this piece by Scott Berinato for the Harvard Business Review: That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief
Support for teenagers: 27th March 2020
Although the current situation is difficult for everyone, there are particular challenges for young people in the 13 – 19 age group. Social interaction is important at all stages of development, but socialisation outside the family plays a particularly important part in adolescent development. Research suggests that adolescence is a key time for the development of regions of the brain involved in social cognition and self-awareness and that a lack of social interaction during adolescence has lasting consequences in adulthood. Lucy Thompson has reviewed the research for us and provided a summary for our Research web page. The impact and implications for our young people are described in this comment piece for the Guardian by Donna Ferguson: A survival guide for parents during family isolation
With this in mind we have gathered resources to support your young people at home, with a particular focus on teenagers:
BBC Bitesize: How to look after your mental wellbeing at home
Young Minds: What to do if you’re anxious about coronavirus
Lisa Damour, writing in the New York Times reminds us that because of coronavirus, teenagers are missing out on many rites of passage. She recommends offering compassion in this piece: Quaranteenagers: Strategies for Parenting in Close Quarters.
If you are worried that your teenager is spending too much time on their phone, the British Psychological Society advises that being active on social media will help us cope with isolation: read their advice here and browse a range of recommended resources on our web page Practical Resources to Support Children and Young People
On a lighter note, perhaps the problem is that we are all suffering from Offline Friend Addiction (with thanks to @LindaKKaye, Cyber Psychologist):
Home schooling: Teacher Views
Will Tyrrell is a teacher at Silver Springs Primary Academy in Stalybridge.
As well as keeping in touch with the children working at home, a small number of staff at Silver Springs are still keeping the school open for children of key workers and vulnerable children. The school is also still providing free school meals for collection, by delivery, and in the form of vouchers.
Will says: “Schools across the country have distributed worksheet packs, and a seemingly endless list of resources is available online, but, at this strange and unsettling time, it is the personal touch that will matter most. If children feel connected to their teachers, their classmates, and their school communities, this will empower them to learn and complete work at home. More importantly, they will understand that they are not alone at this frightening time, but that they are just as loved and interconnected as they were at school.
To that end, along with the usual reading, writing and maths, we have been devising all kinds of challenges to inspire our classes online. We have had a workout, and a fashion shoot. We have watched a documentary together and answered questions about what we learned. We have filmed ourselves reading our work aloud, and then given feedback to our friends. We have shared photos of ourselves practising mindfulness, reading in the sunshine, and doing fun activities with our families. Every child is working on a personal project, about a topic of their choice. Through it all, we have kept in touch with each other, and tried to make one another smile”
Ben Pearce teaches English at Ark Globe Academy in London
"You can't use up creativity. The more you use the more you have." -- Maya Angelou
Ben says: “When schools shut their doors to most students last week the word ‘unprecedented’ enjoyed the kind of comeback that Oasis fans can only dream about. It is unreasonable to expect parents to deliver Ofsted-pleasing lessons from your front room. So, here are some alternatives to help young people keep learning whilst accepting this is not “business as usual”:
- Audible is offering audiobooks free to students.Get children listening to a story and then set a creative task: “Choose your favourite character and write their origin story”, “Turn the story into a film script”. (and then email it to your English teacher, trust me they will appreciate it!)
- The excellent Mr Bruff teaches daily lessons on the English GCSE through YouTube with worksheets. He even goes through the comments to give feedback!
- If you don’t mind making a mess of your kitchen, set a Food Technology challenge: “Make a cake, but the flavour needs to be suitable for us and the cat.”
Adults are being forced to be creative in the ways they work, imagine if we had learnt to do it as a child!”
If you want to encourage your teenager’s creativity, try this idea from Nicola Morgan “The Teenage Brain Woman” who recommends writing a diary and is planning a writing competition open to all age groups. More information on her blog here.