In an article I researched from the UK that gave advice for teachers and parents as students return to schools post COVID-19 isolation. The article (cited below) gave some excellent tips but also reminded practitioners that children are not innately resilient as some would think. The evidence shows that young people need the correct environment to bounce back from what is currently a “financial catastrophe; a public health emergency; a mass community trauma.” The good news is that schools, SCM in particular, are well placed to start the healing process and prevent escalation of trauma. How you may ask? School itself is the answer. Not that we will need to transform into psychologists or counsellors, the “treatment” is the school community.
As we always have strived to achieve, San Clemente will provide the basis of physical, emotional, cultural, relational and moral safety. We will strive to provide the stable, predictable routines that our young people will be craving. Educational researcher Dr Karen Treisman describes the power of school communities as “the brick parent, the secure base, the safe haven.” For students and parents we ask that you also consider returning to the routines that provide us with stability and predictability. Uniform, punctuality, academic focus, organisation, respectful conversations and positive relationships we will be the focus for our Wellbeing team in an effort to support students return to normality. In the past, I have referred to these aspects as the 1 percenters that allow a school community to provide the basis of a positive and thriving environment.
The article also referred to basic principles that schools could focus on as students return. Of further interest to our wellbeing team was that these recommendations are the basis by which we at San Clemente strive for on a daily basis. They included:
- Promoting and affirming core values of the school. Now, more than ever, a focus of Community, Service, Study and Prayer through acting out the 5 ways to wellbeing will provide the strategies for healing and growth.
- Reaffirm boundaries, rules and routines as safety measures. Mentors, Year Coordinators and all teachers will continue to support students in an effort to provide a safe and predictable environment to thrive.
- Identify and support children in most need. Maintaining lines of communication between families and school is essential at this time. Please contact relevant Year Coordinators if young people need extra assistance.
- Place relationships front and centre and build social capital. At San Clemente we authentically value “Community”.
Nathan Beckett, Assistant Principal, Wellbeing