Recovery Curriculum at Knights Templar Community Church School and Nursery
Returning to school in September is going to be different for us all - whether you are a child, parent/carer or member of staff. Although we have all been travelling in the same storm (COVID) we have all been in our own boat – navigating our own journey, with our own thoughts, experiences and emotions.
We are all heading towards a ‘new school norm’ without knowing quite what that will be and how it will go SO first of all we need to look after each other and support each other’s well-being.
For children, this has been written about a lot and links to the Recovery Curriculum. It suggests we consider children’s emotional well being, their experiences throughout lockdown, the indoor and outdoor learning environments we create and the daily routines we follow so that children have space/ time for to re-discover themselves and find a voice.
Information for Parents
As September is fast approaching and the expectation is that all children will return to school for the new term, we felt it was important for us to explain to you the approach that we are taking here at school to enable for this to happen safely for all of us. Below is a summary of both our approach and the thinking behind it. We hope that you feel this approach will support your child’s well-being as they begin their re-engagement with learning at school.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like more information. Thank you.
A Recovery Curriculum: Loss and Life for our Children and Schools Post Pandemic
Professor Barry Carpenter has developed the Recovery Curriculum, as a response to the challenges of re-integrating children back into the school learning environment. It is a way for schools to welcome children back into school life, acknowledging the varied experiences the children have had over the past few months and the different starting points at which they will arrive on their first day back.
However, the common thread running through for all of us, is the loss of routine, structure, friendship, opportunity and freedom. These losses (including bereavement) can trigger anxiety in any one of us.
Children will perhaps have experienced these aspects all at once and in a sudden and unplanned fashion which can leave children and adults feeling vulnerable. Some of you may have experienced this with your own children and there will be others who might have been exposed to adults who are anxious and may not be acting in their normal way or maintaining the normal routines which they are used to.
When we return to school, we want our children to feel happy, safe and to be able to express how they are feeling and to be engaged in their learning with their peers and for you as parents to feel supported.
Here at Knights Templar School and Nursery we have put the child’s well-being at the centre of our thinking from the very start of the school lockdown with our keyworker and vulnerable children and this approach will continue.
We know that an anxious child is not in a fit place to learn effectively, so with this in mind, the school community has thought about the most effective way to support your child’s ability to learn. This approach will encompass and support the academic expectations for your child. We will be working within four main areas of development. These will be:
The children’s day will be different at first to how it would have been pre-pandemic. The children will be encouraged to re-establish friendship groups and to re-adjust to potentially being in a new classroom with a different teaching team and for many, different friendship groups.
The children’s ability to sit for long periods of time and to listen will have been compromised because it will be unfamiliar after all this time, so there will be shorter sessions, time to move around, use of the indoor and outdoor learning environments and a focus on independent learning through continuous provision. This is where children can access the resources that they need in order to support the direction that their learning is taking them. This means making choices and taking control of their learning and developing good attitudes to learning.
The feel of the day for each class will be shaped by the needs of the children within that group with circle time, turn taking games and opportunities to talk and share will be a high priority. Lots of talk has been had in the media about the amount of time children have had their formal learning disrupted and talk of a “catch up” curriculum. This would imply a heavily loaded curriculum squeezed into a limited time span. We do not believe that this is what our children need. Our approach will be to celebrate all that the children have experienced whilst learning at home and working with them from each of their own individual starting points. Whilst the children’s formal school learning has been disrupted, they will have undoubtedly learnt new skills through a wide range of activities and situations which must only be seen as a bonus.
We will take time to work with the children to find out what they have been doing and be flexible in our approach as we start on our recovery journey. In preparation for this start, all of our teaching teams have undertaken two, two-hour blocks of training to support with working with children who have experienced emotional turmoil or even trauma. This focuses on promoting children’s well-being and good mental health.
The classrooms have all been redecorated and re-organised to create calm learning environments with space for a flexible learning approach. Each class has an allocated outdoor space which can be used throughout the day. We are also fortunate to have the wildlife area and the school grounds to enhance learning experiences.
We will of course be following government guidance as it is issued so our plans for the practical start of the new year could possibly change. Our draft plans include:
We are avoiding setting a plan in concrete at this early stage, but clear guidelines will be issued on the school website and through PARENTMAIL towards the end of August when it will be clearer what the government is expecting from us and when we know more about the containment of the spread of the virus. If you have any questions please contact us via email and we will do our best to clarify any confusion.
We understand that these are worrying times and particularly for those parents whose children start with us in Foundation Stage. We will make sure that you are all aware of all of the arrangements for September as soon as we are able to clarify them. We hope that you understand.
We are so looking forward to having the children back and of course to welcome our newest members of our school family. In the meantime have a happy Summer.