“When will they actually go back to school?” This is the cry from many parents, and there is no answer. But that does not stop us thinking about what it will be like for each and every one of our children, at whatever age, stage or ability level on the day they walk through the classroom door.
It would be naive to think that the child will pick up the curriculum at exactly the same point at which they left it on the day their school closed. Too much has happened. As some children begin returning to school, having heard what they have said and experienced. Not all of it follows the usual pattern of a school year with all of the annual cycle of events.
Teaching is a relationship-based profession. That has been clearly demonstrated in the response of the teaching profession, supporting children through online teaching during the crisis, and also caring for the children of key workers by keeping schools open and offering an activities programme. This was not without its inherent risk.
With that in mind, we have provided a summary below of both our approach and the thinking behind it.
We hope that you feel this approach will support your child’s well-being as they begin their re-engagement with learning at school.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like more information.
A Recovery Curriculum: Loss and Life for
our Children and Schools Post Pandemic
Chalkhill Primary have put the child’s well-being at the centre of our thinking. We acknowledge that the children will have had different experiences during this time. However, the common thread running through all is the loss of routine, structure, friendship, opportunity and freedom. These losses can trigger anxiety in any child. Some of you may have experienced this with your own children.
We know that an anxious child is not in a place to learn effectively. So with this in mind, the school community has thought about the most effective way to support your child’s ability to learn. This approach will encompass and support the academic expectations for your child.
What is it?
Professor Barry Carpenter has developed the Recovery Curriculum, as a response to the losses described above. It is a way for schools to help children come back into school life, acknowledging the experiences the children have had. We want children to be happy, feel safe and able to be engaged in their learning. We have decided that a way to achieve this for the children is to acknowledge the importance of helping them lever back into school life using the following 5 Levers.
- Lever 1: Relationships – we can’t expect our students to return joyfully, and many of the relationships that were thriving, may need to be invested in and restored. We need to plan for this to happen, not assume that it will. Reach out to greet them, use the relationships we build to cushion the discomfort of returning.
- Lever 2: Community – we must recognise that curriculum will have been based in the community for a long period of time. We need to listen to what has happened in this time, understand the needs of our community and engage them in the transitioning of learning back into school.
- Lever 3: Transparent curriculum – all of our students will feel like they have lost time in learning and we must show them how we are addressing these gaps, consulting and co-constructing with our students to heal this sense of loss.
- Lever 4: Metacognition – in different environments, students will have been learning in different ways. It is vital that we make the skills for learning in a school environment explicit to our students to reskill and rebuild their confidence as learners.
- Lever 5: Space – to be, to rediscover self, and to find their voice on learning in this issue. It is only natural that we all work at an incredible pace to make sure this group of learners are not disadvantaged against their peers, providing opportunity and exploration alongside the intensity of our expectations.
Professor Barry Carpenter, CBE is Professor of Mental Health in Education at Oxford Brookes University.
Below is a link to his podcast on the Recovery Curriculum.