RESPECT & REMEMBER
Respectful ways to remember and reflect the things, places, people and events that have marked the time since school closure.
Think about ways that allow children share information with friends who are not in their 'social bubble'.
Opportunity to share information and successes, devise new milestones and ways to find meaning and celebrate together
BOUNDARIES, RITUALS & ROUTINES
Reminding children that some things have not changed. Don't go overboard with the rules, we still need flexibility to respond to needs, but children also need to have physical and emotional boundaries in order to feel safe.
Consistency is crucial - all members of staff need to uphold the values, ethos and rules that make school feel predictable and secure.
Create your own meaningful rituals - maybe a new ways to greet every child in the morning.
Share information safely across the school with one consistent message and be as honest as possible if there is something beyond your control, or no immediate answer. This is especially important to help children manage transitions.
CHECKING EMOTIONAL HEALTH
Everyone in school has a named person they trust and can talk to, don't forget the quiet ones
Screenings, worry boxes, email in-box, drop-in's for staff, briefings, check-ins, circle (bubble)-time. If you're struggling we want to know.
Don't fprget virtual check-ins for children who have not returned to school
Worried about an individual child needing more support?
Click here to complete a referral form and let us know your concern
OPPORTUNITIES FOR HEALING
Building relationships with traumatised children requires repeated, consistent, repetitive responses. Simple acts of kindness can make a huge difference, along with our language. Everyone has a role to play and needs to be on the same page. In your daily briefings, make sure that everyone has a shared language of kindness, and a goal to listen with empathy, so that every chance to connect becomes a positive, therapeutic experience for children.
You'll also find some great ways to talk about feelings in the COVID-19 Wellbeing Activity Book - written and designed by Priscilla Bacon
Download your quick guide to words that hurt and the clues that will help you look beyond behaviour and recognise the survival modes that children rely on to cope with trauma.
WATCH OUT FOR BURNOUT
Responding to trauma every day can soon become physically and mentally exhausting, especially when children do not respond in positive ways to our best efforts. It's important to spot the signs of burnout and know what to do when children find powerful ways to communicate deep distress and anxiety. Download your guide to projective identification, how to spot it and avoid it.
Worried about vulnerable children who aren't in school? Click here to sign up for our 12-part blog and book 1:1 support for parents
STRATEGIES AND RESOURCES FOR YOUR CLASSROOM
So you've identifed the survival behaviour, you're using emapthic listening with kind language, and you're mindful of your own responses. Now's the time for some ready-made resources to help you plan trauma-informed activies to support children to build positive attachments. Images and information courtesy of Beacon House Therapeutic Services & Trauma Team | 2019 | www.beaconhouse.org.uk
Have you seen me? Attachment and trauma in the classroom
Trauma informed schools resources pack
SINGING & DANCING
Singing is great for regulating breathing.
Dig out those well-known songs for a whole school singalong, and give children a sense of belonging and togetherness.
Use up the extra space and every opportunity to wiggle and jiggle or learn a new dance routine. Why not get them to create one themselves! They could use it as a positive, unique way to enter the classroom and start the day. Take some inspiration from community-led dances around the globe; try out a class-wide Huka dance to share how they're feeling.
Get an adult singing along with individual children who need more support, or get out the headphones and let children listen to their favourite music in a private space
Have a CD on in the background with calming tones (similar to ‘lullaby’ tones for young children).
Use a background CD with short bursts of rhythmic tunes throughout the day
Encourage children to write their own rap song and create the words and music
DRUMMING & TAPPING
Get those drums out (or maybe make your own) and play along together. Drumming as a community is a great way to involve everyone to create a shared rhythm, as well as add their own signature beat.
Encourage children to listen to their own internal 'rhythm' that resonates with their feelings.
Encourage children to tap their feet or tap a beat on their knees and other parts of their body.
Get children to tap opposite sides of their body while they think of positive things or encourage them to tap while they do something fun.
Make use of the extra space to stretch, bend and flex their limbs and encourage whole-body expression.
Mindfulness activities can help children to feel more safe as they learn to release the feelings that have become stored in their bodies.
Why not use chairs, tables and floor-space to create a calming ‘yoga’ ritual.
Above all, help children to see that social distance gives them space for everyone to be themselves and find creative ways to be together.