Welcoming students from all year levels back to onsite learning has been an extremely exciting and positive experience. Belonging and connection are critical to general wellbeing for all students and are even more important as they return to school after learning remotely since the first week of August. At Siena we are able to provide predictable, safe, connected learning environments for students as we know how important this is to helping everyone feel settled. In many ways, it has been like the start of a new year where school rituals are re-established. Teachers have done this through reminding students of class norms and expectations and through creating new seating plans.
As part of students’ transition back to school, they completed a survey asking what they were most looking forward to about being back at school, rated their feelings about this from 1 – 5 and then ranked some concerns. This data has been overwhelmingly positive with most students indicating that they were very pleased to be back. Heads of House will follow up and continue to support those students for whom being back has been more challenging.
Due to the pandemic, the world we now live in is a very different place. The hyperconnected nature of our current environment means that we are constantly being reminded of the challenges we face via numerous media and social media channels. Our connectivity to the digital world exposes us to a barrage of messages that can leave us feeling overwhelmed. As a result, many children and their parents are reporting higher levels of stress and anxiety.
Unfortunately, our brains have not evolved fast enough to adapt to this digital landscape. The combination of constant access to information and having little control over the situations presented can be stressful and overwhelming. It is therefore important for parents and guardians to check in with their children and be aware of what information they may have been exposed to. It may not necessarily be the information itself that is harmful, but more their inability to process and make sense of it. Providing children with the skills and strategies to cope will enable them to flourish and thrive, socially, emotionally and academically.
This School TV Special Report suggests a number of strategies to help manage any feelings of overwhelm that you or your child may be experiencing. We hope you take a moment to reflect on the information offered, and as always, we welcome your feedback.