It is safe to say that the Coronavirus pandemic brought a host of unexpected challenges to our everyday lives. Not least to our mental and specifically student wellbeing.
Effect of School Closure on Student Wellbeing
On the 20th of March, schools in England were closed indefinitely to most students and learning was moved online. Being confined to our homes, and our homes becoming our office and classroom brought unique challenges of their own. Parents became teachers overnight, and teachers swapped their physical classrooms for a much less familiar digital one.
Now that we are once again able to mix with some of our family and friends (at a safe social distance), the prospect of returning to school in September may cause feelings of anxiety. Even though children may be looking forward to returning to school. Excited about reuniting with their friends and teachers, there may be some worry about stepping back into the classroom.
Even before the pandemic though, mental health and wellbeing awareness has always been needed in schools; for example, 49% of teachers had reported that their workplace had negatively impacted their mental health and wellbeing (Education Support Teacher Wellbeing Index 2019). Also, in research published by YoungMinds, it was found that school leaders had reported a 90% increase in the number of students reporting feelings of anxiety or stress in the last five years.
Support Student Wellbeing with Twinkl Life
At Twinkl, a Sheffield based educational publishing company, we understand that returning to the classroom may affect student and staff wellbeing. Therefore, we have created a range of resources. Some of which are available for free, to help prepare students for entering back into the classroom. Some of our resources also focus on teacher wellbeing. This is so that teachers can ensure they are still looking after themselves, whilst guiding students through these strange times.
We hope that by providing these materials, which are available to everyone, we can help lessen the burden felt by teachers and help them support their students through the readjustment process after COVID-19.
Resources for Students Wellbeing
Our Back to School Lesson and Assembly Pack can be used by teachers to support EYFS, KS1, LKS2 and UKS2 children returning to school after lockdown. This resource aims to inform the children about the changes that they may see in school. Also why these are needed. Being well informed of these changes should hopefully make children feel more comfortable and therefore protect their wellbeing.
Also included in this resource pack are circle time activities. These are designed to ease children back into the classroom. Also to offer a safe space to express their thoughts on being back in school. These activities are split into KS1 and KS2 so they are appropriate for all primary school-aged children.
3 top tips for supporting children’s return to school:
- Emphasise any positive changes that may have occurred due to Coronavirus and the lockdown.
- Allow an open discussion to raise any concerns, letting children support each other.
- Remind children that the new normal will take some adjustments, but it won’t feel so strange forever.
Looking after Staff Wellbeing
When thinking about returning to school in September, it is important to remember that staff wellbeing is just as crucial as the wellbeing of the children
During the lockdown, Twinkl partnered with Mind to offer free support for staff who were struggling to adapt to their virtual classroom and with lockdown life.
The free resources on offer include
- giving advice on being emotionally present whilst physically distant,
- coping with stress and
- sleep wind-downs.
These resources emphasise the importance of supporting colleagues whilst returning to a very different workplace and signpost available external support.
Supporting Wellbeing at Twinkl Life
Whilst Twinkl Life does offer a PSHE full scheme of work, which is in line with the statutory guidelines for teaching health and relationships education, it also offers a range of resources which are designed to help staff wellbeing throughout the school year. Beyond this, it provides resources for auditing and improving schools mental health services, which are great for headteachers and other leaders.
Twinkl Life offers a range of resources available for free. These cover topics such as ensuring a fair work-life balance, motivation and anxiety at work. Ensuring staff feel supported and safe when returning to their classrooms is key to helping students adjust back into the classroom. Especially with the adjustments to their learning environment.
If you would like any further information on how Twinkl can help prepare teachers for returning to the classroom, take a look at this blog.
Sometimes we do need a little extra support. If you are a teacher or work in education, and you’re worried or stressed about returning to school, the Education Support 24/7 helpline offers free and confidential advice and counselling, if necessary. They can be reached at 08000 562 561.
Support Student Wellbeing with Twinkl Life
About the Author
I’m a Content Executive at Twinkl Educational Publishing, the world’s leading publisher of digital teaching materials for schools. I am enthusiastic about ensuring children have access to the mental health help that they need at school.
At School Entrance Tests we think student wellbeing is of great importance, please also read more about