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What does ‘COVID Recovery’ really mean?

The term ‘covid recovery’ has been bandied around consistently since the height of this pandemic, but what does it really mean?

The focus has mostly been on curriculum catch-up with not much of an emphasis on the wider needs of a child. Barry Carpenter and Matthew Carpenter have looked into the deeper need of recovery for children as they return to school, and they have some rather interesting food for thought. Looking at the needs of the child from their research, and thinking about how these needs can be catered for in schools, this blog will give some top tips for helping your children recover upon their return. 

  • Create a ‘back to school’ booklet, this should include photographs of the staff the children will work with, as well as of the space they will work in. This can help children feel more comfortable and confident with starting back in school again. It is a concept regularly used for very young children just starting school and for children with SEND.
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  • Relationships will have broken down during the time away from school, and with friendships a vital element of school life, these need to be built up again ASAP. A great way of doing this is allowing the children time to connect in the morning as they enter. This could be through an interactive game or even simply allowing 5 minutes for them to chat before work begins.
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  • A clear structure for every day is key for helping children feel settled. Children love to know what to expect – it actually helps them learn – so setting out clear guidelines for the day can be really helpful for both learning and behaviour. A visual timetable is great for this, and even just writing the order of the day down one side of the board is effective.
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  • As educational professionals, we are used to working with children of all abilities, but this pandemic will have significantly widened that gap. Prepare for your children to return at different levels, even more so than usual. This will be particularly prominent in PE, as the level of physical activity partaken by each child will have fluctuated hugely. Make sure you have lots of resources ready to get them engaged and to give them the support they need.
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  • Keep the children’s mental health in mind at all times. The needs of each child will vary greatly – some will want space, some will need reassurance, some will just want to forget it all and ‘get back to normal’. This all needs to be catered for. A good way of doing this is to ask children to fill in a small journal sheet at the start of the day to show how they’re feeling and what support they need today. This can help you cater for exactly who needs help the most.
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  • Allow time for plenty of active breaks. The children will have been used to getting up and moving around at home whenever they wanted, so sitting down at a desk all day again will be a challenge! Little games are great for providing some quick relief. Our End of the Day activity ideas are perfect for giving the children a break whilst keeping them engaged and on topic. 

It’s an uncertain time for everyone, and we are all just learning as we go along! If you have any successes using the tips above, or even have some of your own suggestions, let us know @ActiveEduCo!

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