After several long weeks of remote learning, all our students have finally made their way back to school for face-to-face learning. Although it’s a relief for parents and guardians that their children are back to school, for many of our students, readjusting to being back in the classroom can also be a challenging process. It’s important for both teachers and parents to work together to ensure a smooth transition for students to return to learning in person.
The early stages of transitioning are a critical time to maximise our students’ learning opportunities and help them find the motivation to build a new routine. Unlike after the school holidays, the shift from learning face-to-face, to remote learning and then back to school again can confuse students. As our students return to school, it’s essential for parents and teachers to not rush our students back into their old routines. Instead, start slowly bringing the positive habits they learnt in isolation into their school learning environment. The difficulties with technology and finding structure with remote learning have allowed our students to learn valuable lessons about resilience, problem solving and becoming more independent learners. Combining these new and learnt skills with their previous school routine is the best way for our students to adapt to a new normal.
Here are some tips and suggestions for students, parents, and teachers to manage the transition back to school.
Routine, Structure, and Communication
Ensure that communication of changes from the School are clearly explained. Reassure students that it is safe to return to school even though it might feel a little different. By talking to your children about school, including what they like about school and what they have been missing can help students see the positives of returning. If changing their routine again is the issue, talk through their old school routine before Covid-19, and discuss what will change and what will remain the same. Practice small things that might help getting back into a structured schedule such as laying out their school uniform or packing bags the night before, as well as allowing extra time to get ready in the morning.
Focus on Individual Needs
With remote learning, it was essential to cater for the needs of all students and plan for teaching and learning based on their individual needs. As a result, the need to differentiate classroom learning between students will be greater now than before. Supporting students both during and after this transition and shifting our focus on the way we acknowledge their learning differences will help teachers prepare our students for further challenges. Teachers and parents can do this by paying extra attention to students’ emotions and needs and prioritising not only study skills, but also coping and calming skills.
Even through lockdown, we saw the importance of staying connected and remaining social even with physical distancing. Now coming back to school, we need to maintain the stronger connections we have made with our family at home. Talk to your child regularly about their day and ensure you include family time as part of their routine. However, do understand if your child wants to prioritise their friends during this time. As they have not seen them regularly for a while, they will want to foster their relationships even more than before.
Maintain Your New and Improved Study Space at home
During remote learning, our students have successfully transitioned an area of their home into an area of learning. Your children have now marked their learning space in the house, and they should keep it this way as best as possible. Keeping the same space will mean your children can maintain their focus as they did during remote learning. Understand that when they’re studying or doing homework, they should not be disturbed. Now that your children are at school majority of their time, it will be easier for them to keep the space tidy. It might be a little more difficult for students to find the motivation to study at home again, as there will be a clear separation between home and school. However, by ensuring their study space evokes the same atmosphere as school is a great way for them to find motivation.