The Recovery Curriculum
You may have heard, in the news, the term ‘recovery curriculum’ being used in relation to pupils returning to school in September.
After up to 6 months of home schooling for some pupils, schools are revising their curriculum offer to meet the needs of all of their children after such an unprecedented time.
How a school responds to the needs of its children will differ from school to school, and there is a lot to consider. Although approaches may look different from one school to another there are some core principals which all schools should follow.
Firstly, it is important to think about what the children have lost.
These are known as the Five Losses
Routine Structure Friendship Opportunity Freedom
It will be vital to bare these in mind when planning learning opportunities and setting expectations. Children will need time and space to reconnect with the staff and their peers in school, re-establishing friendships and trust. It will be important for the children to understand the rules and become familiar with school routines in order to help them settle and feel safe in their environment.
Secondly, it will be very important for the children to learn about COVID-19. We are all living through history and our children’s children will learn about this period of time in their history lessons in the future. The children need to gain an understanding of what has happened and have the chance to express how they feel about it through subjects such as art, drama and music. Stimuli such as poems, images, video clips and art all linked to the pandemic in some way, will inspire the children to express their thoughts, ask questions and process their understanding which will, in time, help them to then move on in a positive way.
Timetabling will play a big part in how the children respond to coming back to school. We have noticed how incredibly tired the children are, who have already returned. Short bursts of learning will be appropriate with an aim to increase stamina over time. Hands on experiences, outdoor learning opportunities, mindfulness tasks and time and space to adapt are key.
It will be important to bring joy into learning, giving the children opportunities to have fun, laugh and enjoy what they are doing. Many children will have dis-engaged during this time and re-engaging them and developing their self-motivation will be key to how quickly they settle and begin to fill in the gaps in learning that will have developed over time.
Support for children who have experienced bereavement, trauma, high levels of anxiety and attachment difficulties will be in place. This could be through 1:1 intervention, small group activities or whole family support.
One of the most important things to remember is not to rush.
An anxious child is not a learning child.
The Mental health and well being of the children will always be the most important thing. If we get that right, if the children feel safe and happy in school, the learning will come.