As summer comes to a close, excitement begins to bubble for children. Most adults can share in the excitement, if only as fond reminiscence of days gone by full of back-to-school shopping and the electricity in the air after a hot August. But what happens when back-to-school takes a new form? Does the excitement survive when there is no classroom ready and waiting for its students to return?
Yes! It’s different, but the end of summer and start of the school year remains precious. It’s all about adaptability and attitude.
Portland Public Schools and Beaverton Public Schools have announced that they will not hold in-person classes until November at the soonest. That leaves students and caregivers to figure out the right course of action in terms of education. Here are some tips we have compiled to help you lean into the change and make the 2020 school year the best it can be.
Because most students will learn at home, they need an education space. As a family, designate a study space for learning such as a desk or a dining table. Also have more informal spaces available such as a comfortable spot for reading or a place to explore outside.
Families should prepare mentally, too. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others. During the global pandemic, we are all learning as we go. Try not to stress out. Developing routines can help normalize learning activities and ensure that enough time is set aside each day for education.
If you are able, be an active participant in your student’s education. Research shows that schoolchildren benefit from discussions about what they are learning at school, and that’s especially important with virtual learning. You could also have a family reading group, with everyone picking up the same fun book.
It’s not all about education, though. Students (and caregivers) need time for physical activity throughout the week. Try to get some exercise every day. Your body will thank you, and you’ll be amazed at how much it helps curb stress.
Finally, caregivers need to engage with students and children of all ages. Ask them what they’ve heard already, then calmly go from there into a discussion about COVID-19 and explain why schools are closed. Kids will have questions; take the time to find answers for them. If you need help, your GreenField providers are ready to provide it.
Remember, every child is unique. Each will respond differently this year, and it’s up to adults to help them make it through this challenging time successfully.
Tips for students
- Set up a designated study space.
- Have realistic expectations for yourself and others.
- Stick to a routine.
- Set active goals and really focus on physical activity.
- Be patient with yourself.
- Make sure you have time for fun outside of school work.
- Dive into a project that interests you like:
- Publish your art or stories,
- Make a website,
- Virtually volunteer.
- Try yoga.
- Get really into cooking.
- Talk to your friends; set up weekly virtual hangouts.
- Reach out if you need help:
Tips for caregivers
- Talk to your kids and explain why they can’t go to school.
- Tell kids that most children who get COVID-19 do not get very sick but some do and we can help them by staying home, wearing masks and washing our hands.
- Make time to listen to your students. Sometimes adults get into the bad habit of talking without listening. Remember kids have their own views of the pandemic.
- Focus on your own self-care as well as your students’.
- Make separate work areas for you and your students.
- Get in contact with your school district and local library to learn about helpful programs they are offering.
- Keep students busy with school work as well as exercise and fun activities.