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Grimsdell Reflections on a Pandemic

After two full weeks back at school, I have taken a moment to reflect on the last six or seven months and the journey we have all been on; globally, nationally, locally and within our precious schools and families.

When standing on the door each morning I take a moment to feel grateful for the fact we are open again, and that the sound and sight of children and their interactions fills the school. There are differences of course, but we are getting used to these and building them into our routines naturally and without a fuss.

The memory of our empty school during lockdown is not one I relish, but it has made me appreciate even more deeply what we have at Grimsdell.

My reflections, like most people I am sure, are about gratitude, positivity and appreciation of non-material things, and I hope to maintain these values with great substance both personally and as part of school culture so that our children will absorb and embody them.

Here are my observations and lessons from lockdown about children, their development and education.

  • Children are always surprising us with their ability to adapt and process the world around them. This does not mean they are immune to anxiety, but that they have great capacity to just get on with things and play and live as normal. They are really inspiring.
  • We know that children will use play to process events and also to use events as simple material for their play, and when we re-opened the children would play ‘Coronavirus Tag’. There was nothing sinister or alarming. It was nicely played and they enjoyed it, but it was fascinating to see their collective consciousness taking on board the significance of the virus and applying it to the playground.
  • Children can be taught to be hygienic! Their hand gelling and washing skills and routines are a revelation! After being a Head for 19 years, I never thought it would be possible!
  • This is not really a new observation, but it was nice to have it reinforced. Children love school. When we re-opened I have never seen so many children desperate to be back, despite classes being split, pupils being allocated different teachers and different rooms and classrooms looking ‘Victorian’. Being in the building and in the company of their friends, and accessing learning face to face is something they missed and craved.

Sometimes it feels we have lived 100 years in six months, and sometimes we wonder if there will be another 100 to go before the year is out. But regardless of that, children will always find joy in any situation and give us hope.

 

Kate Simon, Head