The reality of returning to the classrooms is daunting – not only for parents and teachers but for children too.
Here is South Africa, we are deprived on a cohesive school community with real problems with the basic facilities for learners and teachers at schools.
Over and above these usual challenges – we are faced with a tough decision as to whether or not to send our children back to school – or homeschool or perhaps even skip the academic year. That is the reality, and it is not an easy decision to face.
Not everyone has the capacity to home-school & work from home. There are various reasons for this. In some home parents depend on an after-care facility for their children; and may not always be readily available to be at home with their child — to choose this option.
Further, children are not accustomed to the homeschooling environment and this in itself can pose a challenge! How do we adapt and encourage our children to make this change?
Teachers are also fearful as to what going back to work will look like. Schools are a high traffic environment and therefore teachers will also have to be extra careful as they head back to the classrooms.
Then comes the child – who may not quite know and understand what terms like ‘social distancing‘ mean or manage wearing a mask for long periods of time. Remember, our children have been sheltered and protected at home for over fifty days now – and therefore have not been exposed to the reality of wearing masks, sanitizing frequently and following basic social distancing.
At all levels there is fear and anxiety attached to returning to the classroom.
That is okay! The fear is a reality, what is important is how we navigate through this time.
- Talk to your child – educate her about COVID19
- Do not express extreme fear or anxiety when speaking to your child – be factual yet compassionate in conversation
- Discuss different options available with your spouse / partner and be clear of where the family unit is regarding the remaining part of the 2020 academic year
- Be honest with yourself, and what will be most practical and workable reality in your home
- Do not judge your situation based on family and friends who have school-goers; do not feel pressure to make decisions based on others
- When you are feeling overwhelmed take a deep breath, focus on the present and re-ground yourself to the present moment.
Remember, that keeping positive is key during this time. The energy that you ‘exude’ within your home environment, within your family space – is imperative on how your children grow and respond to their day.
Be brave, this too shall pass! You are not alone. Reach out to talk and share your fears – it is always important to talk about what is on your mind – rather than dealing with it on your own.