Yesterday it was announced that all students will return to School over the next month, starting with Junior School, Years 6 and 7, along with all VCE Students, followed by a return from the Years 8 to 10 cohort two weeks later.
Many children will be ecstatic about the return, knowing they will physically see their peers every day again. Being back at School will result in many smiles and laughter from both teachers and students. However, we do understand for some it can lead to feelings of anxiousness. As a result of an extended holiday period, dealing with the back and forth between on-site and remote learning, the return to face-to-face learning for a second time this year may be difficult for some children.
The return to school also means masks will remain mandatory for teachers and older students, and physical distancing rules will be set in place making the transitions a little more nerve wracking for both parents and their children. To help you and your children, we’ve gathered some tips and advice to prepare them for going back to school and how you can make it a positive experience.
Encourage social interactions: Organise for your children to meet up with their friends this weekend, either virtually or up to 5 people (from 2 households) outside for a picnic or play in the park. This will help them feel more connected and comfortable with each other before they see each other at School.
Reassure your child that it is safe to go to School: When we moved to remote learning, many parents spoke to their children of the importance of learning from home during this time. Now that things are changing, some children may worry about the safety of going back. That’s why it is essential to explain to them that the decisions to return to School is based on the medical advice by our government and that there will be precautions put in place to make sure all students remain healthy and safe.
Ask your child how they are feeling about returning to School: Discuss what they are looking forward to and what they may be worried about. Reassure them that it is normal and okay to have mixed emotions about the return. Have a conversation before and after School, find out about their day and how they are feeling about the next, and do this again the following day.
Re-establish normal School routines: Start speaking to your children about how the return to School might affect their current remote learning routines. Bedtime and wakeup times are most likely going to change so make sure they are aware of that. You could even start returning to their usual school bedtime a couple of days before they go back. You could also get them to pick out their School uniform so they can get used to the idea of wearing one again or pack their bags, so they won’t forget anything for the first day back.
Normalise mask wearing and temperature checking: If your child isn’t old enough to wear a mask, at least make sure they are comfortable seeing them around. By now your child should be used to seeing everyone wear a mask but it might be worth having another chat to them about why the older students and children will be wearing one at School. Also familiarise them with temperature checks, it is important for the School to check temperatures every morning to make sure everyone is healthy. If you think your child may be afraid of it when they enter the school grounds, try practicing with them at home so they can get used to it and see that it is for their safety.