I do hope you are all keeping well.
This week we have welcomed more children back in to school following strict health and safety regulations. We look forward to being in a position to see everyone in person, but this may not be as soon as we had hoped.
As you may have seen in the news this week, the government plan to have all primary school aged children back in school before the summer holiday has been deferred for now. I will be working with the staff to think of a way to see as many children as possible, even if only for a day or two in July. Currently with the government guidelines, we can only have seven children in each of the KS1 and KS2 classrooms. EYFS can accommodate 10 children and the hall, where our year six are, can accommodate 15. We are of course limited by the number of staff available as well. We will ‘get creative’ while of course observing the current safety protocols, and see what we can organise.
Please support us by observing the government social distancing rules. Children need to be reminded to keep 2 metres apart. This means no football games, play fighting, tagging games or hugging. Several children have been seen playing outside in the evenings and not observing the social distancing rule. If you or your children are not observing the 2 metres rule, you are putting yourselves at risk. If your children are then coming in to school, you are putting the other children, their families and our staff and their families at risk as well.
In school the children have their own dedicated space in their classrooms and when they play, the staff monitor closely so that they do not get too close. If they do, they are reminded and they separate immediately. The children do forget at times, but when reminded they are really good at moving away. If you are letting your children out to play unattended, how do you know they are being safe? I’m sorry to nag, but this is a really important issue. I really appreciate your support in this.
Black Lives Matter
I am sure that like me, you have been moved by the terrible fate of George Floyd and the subsequent reaction across the globe. Year 5 and Year 6 learnt a lot about the Civil Rights movement during our Heroes topic. I recall with pride how Birch class presented their learning and feelings in our assembly by sharing speeches and re-enacting the story of Rosa Parks.
Talking about racism, inequality, slavery, police brutality and civil rights with children can be tricky but important to do if they are to learn about how the past has influenced the current day and climate. Here are some good websites and resources you may want to look at to help you unpack this with your children:
American but some good advice and links: https://www.parenttoolkit.com/social-and-emotional-development/advice/social-awareness/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-race-and-racism
Two lists of book recommendations for children:
‘Don’t touch my hair’ is a really important book. This is a behaviour I have witnessed far too many times – I can tell a few stories about this.
Newsround is a good site for children to understand current news stories https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround
This video clip did the rounds a few years ago. I have shared this with children in the past to show how some of us have privileges others do not have. Again it’s American, but still relevant in the UK. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K5fbQ1-zps&safe=active It is hard to address our own prejudices and privileges but vital if we are to make change.
Be careful not to say ‘we are all the same,’ we are not, that’s the point! We need to be open to listen and learn about other people’s lives, celebrate difference and challenge stereotypes and negative comments in a kind and supportive way.
An Adult Read
I have just read Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman. It’s not specifically about BLM, it has a much wider remit. I have found it really uplifting and so relevant to us at the moment. Spoiler alert: we are hard wired to be kind – however we need to be aware of the behaviours and psychology which can derail us.
Devon Family Advice Line
Exeter Community Initiatives (ECI) have launched a new phone advice line for parents and carers across Devon. The number for the new service is 01392 949059 and it will be staffed from 10 – 2pm Monday to Friday. People will be able to leave a message outside of these hours, or when the operators are all busy.
It will offer advice on a specific issue around their children and their family relationships, including any communication issues or conflict they are having with their partners or co-parents of their children. It is not meant to be a replacement for more targeted work, but just a way to offer people a place to be heard and a few tips on how to deal with a particular situation or to signpost them to an organisation which may be able to help them.
Looking for work?
I have been asked to share this website with you https://www.jobcentrenearme.com/
Miss Penny’s Weekly Family Challenge – ‘Joyful June’ from Action for Happiness
This month we are looking at being joyful! Please refer to this calendar for prompts to help us all make the world a more joyful place. Although there is one a day, there’s no need to feel restricted to do them exclusively on a particular date!
On Wednesday the suggestion was to take a photo of something that brings you joy and share it. Let’s see these on Cluster this weekend!
See https://www.actionforhappiness.org/joyful-june for a clearer copy.
Keep safe everyone,
All the very best
Head of School