Although the rain is currently pouring down and the wind is howling around the playground I am filled with positivity about the way that this week has gone so far.
I can honestly say that I only saw happy faces on Monday when I greeted the children at the gate and regular trips into the classes have shown me that the children are definitely enjoying being back at school. The same was true on Tuesday and although the children were a little bedraggled at the gate this morning due to the weather, they still looked happy to be here.
We are finding that they are getting tired during the course of the day, but that is not surprising considering the circumstances we have been, and still are, living with. We are. of course, adjusting our expectations in terms of learning that we are covering at the moment, whilst the children build up their stamina again. We are focusing more on the social side of school as the children will undoubtedly need time to readjust to that before they really get stuck into their learning. By 'social side' I mean things like
- adjusting to being around lots of people again
- getting used to a more formal timetable and the pace of learning in a typical day
- listening to and following verbal instructions
- re-establishing expectations regarding our school values, particularly those of engagement and independence
We know it won't take them long to get back to where they were before the pandemic hit, and we can really push on from that point. Rest assured though we will continue to put their needs first and we will be keeping a close eye on how they are feeling as we move closer to normality.
Obviously, ensuring that the children have a positive return to school has been our priority this week, and the biggest factor in this has been what is going on in the classrooms. However, we cannot ignore the logistical challenges that have been involved in getting them into their classrooms in the first place.
Procedures at the start and end of the day seem to be working well, with only a small tweak needed for next week to make things run even more smoothly. Parents collecting their children on foot from the Castle Lane gate will be asked to walk through the playground once they have done this and exit the site from the main road gate.
It certainly seems busier at the end of the day than it did after our first lockdown, as we are really conscious of the need to make the most of every minute of the school day. Luckily we are blessed with a very supportive (and patient) group of parents who are doing everything they can to help with arrangements for drop-off and pick up. Thank you for understanding that there might be a bit of queueing to get into the car park, particularly on wet days, we couldn't do this without you!