Letter from the Principal 25/03/20

Dear Parents and Guardians,

These are very unusual times we find ourselves in and I hope that you and your families are staying safe and well. We have all by now heard the news that schools will not reopen until after Easter at the earliest.

Home schooling has become an overnight necessity. You might be loving every minute, or feeling under pressure to get it all done, or even overwhelmed perhaps having several children to help, or at the deluge of resources being shared online by teachers and other parents. You might be inclined to draw up a strict timetable for your children. You possibly have high hopes of hours of learning, including online activities, science experiments, and book reports. You’ll limit technology until everything is done! But . . . ..

Our children are just as scared as we are right now. They not only can hear everything that is going on around them, but they feel our constant tension and anxiety. They have never experienced anything like this before. Although the idea of being off school for several weeks sounds too good to be true, they are probably picturing a fun time like summer holidays, not the reality of being trapped at home and not seeing their friends. (They should NOT be seeing their friends!!)

Over the coming weeks, you will possibly see an increase in behavior issues with your children. Whether it’s anxiety, or anger, or protest that they can’t do things normally – it likely to happen. You possibly see (for some of you) unfamiliar behaviour like meltdowns, tantrums, and oppositional behavior in the coming weeks. This is normal and to be expected under these circumstances.

What our children need most of all right now is to feel comforted and loved. They really need to feel like it’s all going to be ok. That might mean that you tear up your carefully drawn timetable and simply love your children. Play outside and go on walks.Do some baking and paint pictures. Play board games and watch movies (Now TV currently have 3 months free and I think Disney may be free at the moment too). Do a science experiment together or check out all those free zoo-cams being shared online. Start a book and read together as a family. My own favourite children’s book ever was “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”. Perhaps we could do a “St. Francis Book Club” together? Or perhaps, simply snuggle together and do nothing.

Don’t worry about academic work. Every single child is in the same boat and they all will be just fine. When we are back in the classroom, we will work from where they currently are. Teachers are experts at this! There’s no point in getting cross with your children if they don’t want to do maths 😀 Don’t feel upset if your schedule isn’t working. Don’t demand 2 hours of learning time if they are resisting it.

The bottom line really is that your children’s mental health will be more important than their academic skills. And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did or did not do during these few weeks is long gone. So we should all keep that in mind, every single day.

We will keep you informed as the situation develops, or if there is any change. Let your children know that we are thinking of them.
Keep busy – but not too busy, and more importantly . . .

Stay safe and well.

Oreena

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