As the founder of Yap Books and a father of three children, I have experienced first-hand just how difficult this past year has been for our little ones. Following the announcements of schools closures back in March 2020, many children have experienced an overwhelming lack of social interaction and daily educational engagement. Causing roughly 69% of pupils to describe their mental health as ‘poor’ following the pressures of returning back to school.
It’s clear that children have experienced a decline in their educational growth and development during this period, but with children experiencing social anxiety, raised stress and an overwhelming lack of confidence, it’s important we take our time to introduce learning gradually and put children's mental health first.
By adopting a patient approach, we can offer children an easier route back into education with our children’s well-being and mental health as a first priority. Giving children the time to explore and grow their confidence through play and interaction. Whilst allowing children the time and flexibility they need in order to fully reconnect and rebuild relationships with friends and social groups both in the classroom and on the playground. Taking a more patient approach may help to alleviate any unnecessary stress or anxiety associated with the pressure of returning back to school.
It will also come as no surprise that our children have learnt to adopt new technology and have quickly adapted to online learning. However, the immediate change from digital learning back to traditional methods has become quite a shock to many of our young learners. Digital learning methods have now become a familiarity for our children and have proven to immerse, engage and entertain our children far better than any paper and pen. These digital apps, devices and resources are shaping our children and will most certainly ease the transition for pupils when heading back to schools if used correctly.
It’s inevitable that by mixing play into classrooms, playgrounds and technology, will offer children the perfect comfort zone to grow, develop and learn. With play at the centre of the reintegration strategy, children can be given the freedoms they need to help them adjust back into school life. It is also important that teachers and parents communicate and work together to listen to children's concerns and fears and help them to rebuild their relationships, confidence, and their love for learning once again.
To learn more about how you can support your pupil’s mental health at school, follow the link below —