This week at Bentley...
I am one of the members of staff in school today and it is VERY odd for school to be this quiet. We have had the children in this week whose parents are needed for key work during this extraordinary time. I know that many of us were out on our doorsteps last night ‘clapping our thanks’ to these fantastic people who are making such a difference for everyone at this time. Thank you, we all appreciate it.
There has been another big shift in the government expectations saying “If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be”.
Whether in school or not, we have all started to adapt to a very new world of learning, living and working together at home. For those who would like more work please use the Online Education Resources which can be found by clicking here. For those who are struggling with their own skills, or their child’s ability, or child’s behaviour, please know we all feel like this at times. We are doing something very unusual and we cannot carry on ‘as usual’. These are extraordinary times. Do what you can and be kind to each other and yourselves. Everyone is in this together and all children are experiencing this so keep in mind that your child is not going to be ‘more behind’ than anyone else when we come back to school.
I am very aware of the huge deluge of emails and top tips and ‘must dos’ that are flying into every inbox and on every television programme. We are trying hard not to overwhelm and if it feels as though we are, then we apologise. We also have other parents clamouring for more support and it feels hard to find any happy balance. The links below have been carefully chosen to support parents who are struggling themselves or whose children have extra needs. Please feel free to use them as you wish.
Next week we will still be running school and teachers have planned daily learning for your children but their focus will now switch to our requirement for writing the children’s annual reports, just in case we are not back to school this academic year. If you have an urgent request, please email the office but know that teachers may not get back to you immediately as they still have teaching commitments on top of the reports.
A few people have requested for work to continue to be set over the holiday. This will not be possible but I plan to pull together a holiday programme for those who may like it. School staff will continue to open school for the key worker frontline staff to allow their children to come in but all other school business will close as usual for the two weeks.
I continue to hold you in my thought and prayers.
Keep well everyone,
Mrs Katy Pinchess, headteacher
TIME TO SHARE!
Remember to task your child with drawing a picture, writing a poem or story, or writing a letter for our elderly local residents at Paxhill or in self-isolation at home. The ones already sent in are fabulous and certain to bring a smile to anyone’s face. Please ensure you send your child’s in by the end of the day on Monday.
Have you got a good story we can share anonymously to get us all laughing and remind parents that none of us are alone? In the virtual staffroom, we have been sharing our own family stories of parental meltdowns, a run-away child and a biting incident (child to child!), all on top of having aches in muscles we did not know we had thanks to Joe Wicks daily PE sessions! We have all lived through these and have found it helpful to share these tricky moments - and the good ones too! If you have a funny story to share anonymously please do send it in.
Acts of random kindness – what examples have you got from your child’s ‘Make a difference’ work? Have they written a lovely note to a grandparent and what chores have been taken up by which age of children? Please share your suggestions so that we can all use your ideas!
ADDITIONAL HELP AND SUPPORT
Have you visited our website and found the ‘Need some help?’ link click here to access it. More resources are being added here linked to the current situation. You can also find an excellent resource for YOU on that page which includes a new resource called ‘Reassuring myself’ by Maureen Bowes.
MENTAL HEALTH OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
Please see link below to the Hampshire CAMHS website, which has a significant amount of information about their services and other useful information at this time. Please use and share as widely as possible; https://hampshirecamhs.nhs.uk/help/young-people/coronavirus-help-support-and-advice/
For children with anxiety; This resource has been recommended by the East Hampshire School Nursing Team. This website offers advice to young people, parents and carers and schools around mental health at this challenging time;
For children with Speech and language needs; https://speechandlanguage.info/parents
And just for fun…
David Walliams is releasing a free children's audio story every day at 11am for the next month. The author of The Boy in The Dress and Gangsta Granny will be sharing an audio story from one of his best-selling World's Worst Children short story collections in this daily treat, nostalgically named 'Elevenses'. Children and grown-ups can tune in for a tale elaborately told by David Williams by clicking on this link.
Children are likely to be online much more over the coming weeks, possibly using their laptops to access virtual classrooms and learning material as well as other entertainment. The risks will vary depending on their age, but here are some tips to help keep them safe and healthy:
- Ensure your passwords are strong and secure for your router and any accounts that your children might be tempted to access.
- Make sure all your devices have the latest software updates
- Keep anti-virus software up to date and consider installing parental control software to protect children from stumbling across inappropriate content.
- Be aware of fake news and scams - these are already emerging.
- Ensure children are adequately supervised while using technology in their learning.
- Ensure that your child logs out properly after using any online resources.
- Agree some ground rules about screen time, breaks and exercise – it’s much easier to do this in advance than argue about it later. Keep an eye on their posture too.
- Use PEGI ratings and reviews to check the age suitability of any games they want to play.
- Remind children about the need to keep personal information private and not to be tempted to over share or click on links or free offers.
- Remind them only to communicate online with real life friends.
- For children using video chat, have a conversation about who they are chatting with and how they know them, to ensure their contacts are safe.
- Talk about good digital citizenship, about being kind and thoughtful in their online interactions and how thoughtless behaviour can both damage their reputation and hurt others.
- Reassure them that you are there to help if they have any worries about anything they come across online or about the current health crisis.
Based on advice and guidance provided by Gooseberry Planet