How can I support my child(ren) to navigate the return to school phase of this pandemic?
As a parent, you may be asking yourself this important question during this unprecedented time. There is so much to think about as cities and countries around the world slowly begin to reopen schools while the pandemic continues to disrupt our lives.
Back in July, we published a blog post sharing general guidelines to our parents as it relates to returning to their Maple Bear school.
As a follow-up to that post, we have more specific and practical advice on things you can do to help ease your child and yourself back into the school routine.
Have a Positive Outlook and Talk to Your Child
Begin to have positive conversations about going back to school. Ask them questions like
- What are you looking forward to?
- What are some of the best things about school you can think of?
- Who are you excited to see again?
Reinforce to your children that it’s a step in the right direction to be back at school and learning new things in a familiar, friendly place.
Include some discussion about the new rules and control measures to help reduce exposure to COVID-19, like wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Explain the reasons for these measures in a simple way.
You can also use the conversations you have as an opportunity to create and learn.
For example, Year 5 and 6 students at Maple Bear São Bernardo, Brazil created posters about prevention methods and characteristics of the Coronavirus.
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Remember that a positive, cheerful outlook helps to set the tone for a favourable return to school mindset.
Build Connection With Your School
Your connection to the school is imperative at this time. Make sure you continue to communicate and collaborate with the school and most importantly with your teachers. Ask the administrators any questions that you need clarification on.
The online learning your child is doing is an essential part of maintaining a close relationship with their teacher and friends. It is important to continue participating in the online classes as it maintains continuity in learning.
Other things you can do to prepare your child for back to school:
- Schedule a time to drive by the school as a happy reminder of going back. It can be an opportune time to open the conversation about returning to school.
- Ask a staff to share a photo or a video of the “new” classroom. You can explain and discuss the new rules that go along with the new set up.
Encourage Independence in Younger Children
Going to school is a step toward greater independence. Take some time before school starts to help your child do more things on their own. Some examples:
- Let your child get dressed with as little help as possible.
- Encourage them to try on the Maple Bear uniform and wear it for their virtual classroom meetings.
- Let them feed themselves at snack time.
- Establish some clean up routines after playtime, as this is expected at school.
- Praise them for helping you with chores like sorting laundry and washing dishes.
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Get Back Into a Regular Routine
Lockdown and school closures have had a big impact on our pre-COVID routines. We recommend one week before school is expected to start, ease back into a routine that sets your child up with a good sleep schedule and a morning routine.
Organize School Supplies and Snacks
Help your child get all their school supplies ready. Make an adventure of shopping for required items such as a mask, hand sanitizer, new pens or pencils, or perhaps a new lunch kit. And let your children play with their purchases before school begins. New school supplies can signal an exciting new beginning.
Discuss what the new lunch and recess procedures will look like. And make sure to stock up on their favourite snacks and lunches, if you will be sending them with a lunch.
Our Maple Bear schools around the world have taken all of the necessary steps to ensure that the safety, health and well-being of our students and families are at the centre of their decision-making. And we look forward to collaborating and working together with our parents to make sure the transition back to school is smooth and stress-free.