Some recommendations and requests as teachers, staff, parents and children prepare to start a new school year in September.
Realistic Expectations Returning to School this Fall
Whether you are relieved or worried about schools re-opening this September, we wanted to provide as much information and insight for our customers as possible. The re-opening of schools is a huge endeavor, and we think it is important to realize we must keep our expectations realistic if we are to get through this together.
Everything is NOT back to normal yet!
It is important to start by saying everyone needs to be ready to put in a little bit of extra effort to keep not only your family, but everyone else’s, safe! Extra effort can mean anything from ensuring you are timely, extra patient, prepared with supplies needed for the day, etc.
We think the extra patience & understanding is the most important, and will go the furthest in helping us all get through this together. This thought has been bringing me back to a recent photo that we would like to share with you. While it is not necessarily geared toward teachers & school staff, we think the sentiment is very applicable for most situations these days!
For the Parents: Patience Padawan!
Once again, we are urging you to be patient + helpful towards all school staff. As many of us know, teachers were already feeling under pressure about class sizes, resources, and support before the pandemic. Imagine feeling that way at work before the pandemic began… returning to work knowing it was going to be full of children you want to keep safe could definitely be a scary thought. Not to mention all the new policies and procedures you have to adopt!
Ensuring your children have all of their own school supplies will definitely help teachers keep everyone safe. They don’t need to look around for extra supplies and compromise their supervision of students being safe, nor would their extra supplies need to be shared between students over the course of the year. Ensuring you and your children are timely will also help teachers/staff/volunteers keep to a safe schedule when it comes to checking in and out. This last piece of information had to be quickly addressed when day cares re opened, which is why we thought to mention it. Teachers are expected to limit interactions with students to their specific class(es). If the teacher is expecting one thing, and your child is there when they are unprepared, there are not many other options other than you having to wait in the car with your child for the teacher or appropriate staff to be ready to receive them safely.
For the Teachers: The Rights to Recess!
Amid concerns of social distancing the easiest answer for questions about Physical Education and Recess is a simple, ‘no’. We completely understand the need to make tough decisions if we are not prepared to do things as normal, safely. However we do see the need to follow industry professionals’ advice and PRIORITIZE RECESS + RECREATION.
Typically, recess is the only unstructured time that provides children with physical, emotional, and social development, which are fundamental for mental well-being, school engagement & learning. We must ensure this time is meaningful, which requires as much to stay the same as possible. Unstructured play is important and meaningful at every age but specifically for younger children.
What matters most for children at recess are friendships, social connections, and feelings of connected-ness and belonging. They are less concerned about their break from school or physical activity, so simply taking a break from class, or providing “recess packs/boxes” to individual students will not cut it.
Recess may be the children’s only chance for outdoor self-directed play. With increases in screen-time, urban density, neighborhood violence, fear of abduction or injury, and lack of accessible/affordable recreation, there are less and less opportunities for children to partake in self-directed recreation and leisure outside of school.
Rights to Recess:
Canadian Schools have a responsibility to help provide recreation & leisure to children. As a member of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Of the 54 articles, one of the most overlooked and unprotected of the rights is Article 31, “the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child.”
Schools are not exempt from playing a role in supplying this right to children. Schools have a responsibility to ensure the recess environment is inclusive, fully accessible, secure from the effects of social harm and appropriate for all genders, ages, stages, and abilities.
It is not always easy to ensure your children and students have the recreation and leisure time they require. We made that our business over 17 years ago and we are not going anywhere. We have been updating our policies and procedures constantly throughout this pandemic to best suit our customers needs. We are always here for you, so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like some help providing some extra recreation for your children! Also, feel free to browse our other blog posts from this year if you are looking for more information on our updated policies and procedures.