Preparing to Return
Resources for Back to School 2020-2021
Return to School
This September marks the start of a new learning experience for us all. School will look and feel much different than it ever has before. Often, change can bring confusion, anxiety, or uncertainty among children. Providing information on what to expect and what school will look like is one way to ease anxieties and prepare children for new experiences. Attached are some resources to make the transition to hybrid and/or distance learning a bit easier for your child. In addition, your child’s Teacher, Counselor, Principal, and various other support staff are available to provide additional support.
Establish Boundaries and a Routine
Kids thrive with routines and boundaries, and predictability can be very comforting in anxious times. When something feels out of control, routines give kids a sense of security.
o During ‘Home Learning Days’ it is helpful to try to follow a similar routine as in the classroom. Teachers can share what a typical day looks like in the classroom and activities that are encouraged for break or movement times, such as Go Noodle.
o Wake up and Bed times are recommended to remain consistent throughout the school week.
o Provide information in digestible amounts. Remote learning can make assignments feel more overwhelming and daunting.
Talking about the Pandemic
Kids will continue to have questions about the Coronavirus Pandemic. It is okay to answer them. Take cues from your children and offer clear but concise answers in developmentally appropriate language. Keep the focus on prevention strategies that are within your control like proper hand washing and avoiding large crowds. It’s completely okay to acknowledge our kids’ worries rather than ignoring them. We can remind them that our worries about the virus are completely normal and they exist to keep us safe. In addition, it is best to limit news exposure regarding the virus.
· If Students are experiencing anxiety, remind them to use strategies to cope. The following are some coping techniques that can be used anywhere:
o Count to 5: Counting is a great way to help kids learn how to stop and think before reacting to a strong emotion. Impulse control is difficult to come by for young kids. This simple tactic gives them a chance to think before they act.
o Take a Deep Breath: Deep breathing is such a great relaxation technique. Despite how they are feeling, taking a breath (or two or three)can help them calm their bodies down quickly.
o Grounding exercise with your 5 senses: Breathe Deeply through your mouth. Slowly look around and find:
- 5 things you can see (Pictures on a wall, people walking, the sun, colors in the room, etc)
- 4 things you can Feel (Wind blowing, sun in your face, feet on floor, pencil in hand, etc)
- 3 things you can hear (birds chirping, clock ticking, car horns, fan blowing, etc)
- 2 things you can smell (food, laundry detergent, fresh cut grass, etc)
- 1 thing you can taste (Mint, breakfast, toothpaste, candy, etc)
Resources for Younger Students
· Read Social Stories with your child to help them understand scenarios that may play out in school, new procedures, or new vocabulary related to the Coronavirus Pandemic- such as social distancing or hybrid learning. See examples of social stories that may be helpful below. These can be adapted to the specific situation for your child.
o What will going back to School Look like?
o What is Social Distancing? https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UJjFPIg32zi75gFnANganNVjKq622ye6/view
o What is Hybrid Learning?
o I Can Wear a Mask
o Why are we Wearing a Mask at School? https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R1lSbfZ8TRchbHCiK_4svK7WLH62lSIH/view
o Mask Etiquette: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yrXDB4uF_jWH6vrD2m0xN8GWgbSJWQmR/view
o When Can I stop Wearing a Mask? https://drive.google.com/file/d/151SGJBIqmfUdfRNZhX2E3qyBx-OXXdet/view
o Greeting my Teachers and Friends at School: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bbOra0eAVV3DmuSrxyFp6DU_FrL9YeZP/view
o Sharing Materials:
o Visit https://www.autismlittlelearners.com/2020/07/covid-19-related-stories-for-schools.html for more social stories and visuals to support young children.
Visual story about wearing masks:
Let's decorate a mask (Sesame Street)
Mr. Hooper's Store Reopens:
RESOURCES FOR ELEMENTARY STUDENTS
Talking to kids about Coronavirus
BrainPop video explaining Coronavirus
BrainPop video about return to school
RESOURCES FOR SECONDARY STUDENTS
A Teen's Guide to Understanding and Coping with COVID-19