While the news from Governor Baker may not have been a surprise, the reality of school closure for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year is still upsetting. The realness of the situation will take some time for each of us to process, and each of us will process it in different ways, with differing emotions.
There is a long list of end-of-year “to-dos” and celebrations that will need to be discussed and planned. I ask for some time to work through this list with the staff and the PTO. I know our 5th Grade Moving-On Ceremony is one that will take careful consideration. Hunnewell has had its challenges over the past two years, and we always get through these challenges by working together and supporting one another. We are ONE HUNNEWELL! We can do this.
Whether in Morning Meetings or Small Groups, the teachers will be checking in with our students. The following tips were shared by Dr. Cassidy, one of our school psychologists, for leading these conversations.
Tips for Classroom Discussions about the School Closure
While this pandemic and its effects seem different from any other crisis that we have experienced, in many ways it is not. Many of the ways that we handle and discuss the school closure will be the same as we have done with other crises that we have weathered together as a school community.
This is yet another opportunity to help students develop resilience and coping skills as well as to see us as adults who will help them feel safe and secure, connect with them, and listen to them. Let students take the lead and if they do raise concerns/questions about the closure, it will be helpful to:
Allow time to listen to children if they bring it up using statements and questions like, “What do you know about this situation?, ”Tell me more,” “What are you thinking?”
Stick to the basic facts, don’t get into too many details, or make statements that you don’t know are true (e.g. coming back together next year)
Validate children’s feelings, thoughts, and worries (e.g. it is hard to understand why this is happening, missing school, friends, teachers, family members)
Be reassuring and explain that this is to keep everyone healthy
I have attached two resources that you may find helpful. The first is a letter from the PreK-5 School Psychologists, which includes additional resources available to each of us. The second is an article from Harvard Business Review written by Scott Berinato, “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief.” Should you have any questions or need anything, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am in the process of working with our PTO Co-Presidents to find a time to connect remotely next week. In the meantime, I wish you good health and safety.