The charity Coram Life Education has launched a free online toolkit for primary school teachers, supporting pupils’ mental health as they adjust to a new school environment post-lockdown.
For pupils, time away from school may have set them back academically, and affected their emotional and social wellbeing, whilst teachers are preparing to adapt to the new constraints of social distancing, reduced class sizes and stretched resources.
The toolkit is designed to build children’s resilience, self-esteem and kindness and includes practical resources in line with new government guidance, such as lesson ideas for smaller class sizes and to use outdoors. It also includes adaptations for parents and carers of children who are home-schooled and in preparation for a return to school.
The toolkit is part of Coram Life Education’s online ‘SCARF’ programme accessed by over 30,000 teachers, promoting the values of Safety, Caring, Achievement, Resilience and Friendship. The toolkit provides any teacher who signs up for it with six weeks of lesson and assembly resources from SCARF, focusing each week on a different SCARF value and ending with a ‘celebration’ week to mark all that children have achieved in their return to school.
The toolkit features:
- Teacher guidance and support including how to develop a safe space for children to discuss their worries about Covid-19, and how to respond to those concerns
- Lesson plans andassembly resources including activities, films, games, songs and stories, adaptable for smaller class sizes and to be used outdoors, building understanding of the situation, for example, ‘why our classroom has changed’ and ‘how to keep each other safe’
- Suggested book titles to accompany each of the SCARF values for classroom or home reading. These are provided by the reading charity Coram Beanstalk who know that books can be powerful tools in helping children gain greater insight and empathy. These titles also support the aim of boosting children’s reading progress and confidence at a time when it may have slipped
Harriet Gill, Managing Director of Coram Life Education said: “We know that this is a hugely challenging and anxious time for children, families and teachers, and it is more important than ever that we put children’s mental health and wellbeing at the forefront of their return to school. Our toolkit saves teachers time and gives children the space to process change, adjust to new routines and re-build relationships.
“We have launched the toolkit ahead of the staged reopening of schools, so that the resources are ready to use in a flexible way by parents and teachers, whenever they need them. In these uncertain times, it is essential that we equip children with what they need to feel safe, supported and happy so they can continue to thrive in their education.”
The toolkit is suitable for children in early years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. To find out more and to access the toolkit, please visit coramlifeeducation.org.uk/back-to-school-with-scarf.