Weekly update - 1st May 2020
Dear Parents, Carers and Families,
It's hard to believe we are now coming to the end of a yet another week of school closure and we welcome the month of May and hopefully the better weather returns! We miss all our children and families and look forward to a time when we can fully open our happy, vibrant school and see everyone again.
It is worth reminding ourselves that everyone is doing their very best in extraordinary circumstances, everyone... and that means you too! It is sometimes easy to feel that we are not coping as well as others, perhaps when following social media posts or comparing ourselves to friends and neighbours. Everyone will be facing challenges during these difficult times; our staff included and I wanted to say to you all; ‘Keep going, we’ve got this!’
Week 7 – Show us your learning; I aim to create a video that combines staff, parents/carers and our children and young people and the focus will be RAINBOWS; please send your class teacher photographs and/or very short videosof rainbow pictures you have made, dressed in one colour, or as a rainbow, or even waving some rainbow scarves around!
Next week will no doubt bring new challenges as we await the announcement of the end of lockdown and what this might mean for us; I am working with the Trust to consider scenarios of what this might look like; as always the safety of us all is paramount though. At some point we will be seeking your advice and opinions on how we can reopen Red Kite safely and in a timely and controlled manner.
So, thank you for everything you continue to do, for your thoughtful contributions to our ways of working, your diligence in your approach to 'getting on with it' and your courage and commitment during this national crisis.
Warmest wishes and stay safe!
I hope you that you continue to find the home learning activities, visuals and packs helpful. Remember you are not expected to teach your children as they would be taught in school.
How to support home learning – by now you are experts in this but remember...
- Be realistic about what you can do
- You're not expected to become teachers and your children aren't expected to learn as they do in school. Simply providing your children with some structure/routine at home will help them to adapt
- Take care of your own health and wellbeing
- Create and stick to a routine if you can, this is what children are used to. For example, eat breakfast at the same time and make sure they're dressed before starting the day – avoid staying in pyjamas!
- Make time for exercise and breaks throughout the day
- If you have a garden, use it regularly. If you don’t, try to get out once a day as permitted by the government, use the space available to you
- Ask grandparents or other family members to listen to your children read on FaceTime (or ask grandparents to read to younger children)
- Give them chores to do so they feel more responsible about the daily routine at home
- Ask them to help you cook their dinner, make snacks and bake together
- Accept that they'll probably watch more TV/spend time on their technology – that's ok but you might want to set/agree some screen time limits
This link is for a free book that explains the COVID -19 virus to children; https://nosycrow.com/blog/released-today-free-information-book-explaining-coronavirus-children-illustrated-gruffalo-illustrator-axel-scheffler/
The following is also really helpful information;
Occupational Therapy: Regulating Sensory Activities
- Walking - This is a very regulating activity as it provides rhythmical and predictable sensory inputs. Try to walk at the same pace and aim to walk for over 30 minutes. Walking up hills and/or wearing a back pack with bottles of water in will increase the resistance which will provide stronger regulating proprioceptive inputs.
- Trampolines/trampettes - These provide strong vestibular input which can cause rapid overstimulation. You can increase the regulating proprioceptive inputs by standing/sitting on the edge of the trampoline as will increasing the amount of effort your child uses to bounce. This should reduce the stimulating effects of the vestibular inputs. You could also reduce the possibility of overstimulation by controlling the amount of bouncing by counting the number of bounces to 20 then say stop. Ask your child to stand still like a solider and look at you while you count to 10 and repeat.
- Den building - Use blankets, throws, tarps etc. to build as these create a regulating environment and reduce the amount of sensory input your child has to process. You could have a picnic in the den with crunchy and crisp foods which are regulating. Or play regulating games like colouring or connect 4.
- Hot Dogs Game - This deep touch pressure of this activity is relaxing and calming.
What you will need:
- Foam mat or flexible gym mat
- Large beach ball or therapy ball
- Variously textured household items such as a washcloth, sponge, pot scrubber, vegetable brush, basting brush or large paintbrush, wooden foot massager and fabric swatches
Preparation: Spread the mat on the floor or bed and have the child lie tummy down on the mat, near one end. The child’s head should be off the mat
What you can do: With consistent, firm pressure roll and press the ball up and down all over the child’s body, say “I am making sure this hot dog is really well packed.”, crouch next to your child and roll them gently and tightly in the mat toward the other end. Put one hand on their shoulder and the other had on their hip, rock them to and fro for movement.
Benefits of the activity: Deep touch pressure from the mat and textured materials provides input to your child’s somatosensory (tactile/proprioceptive) system. The rotary action of rolling organises the vestibular system.
- Obstacle Courses -These provide great regulating sensory experiences. Encourage your child to carry/punch objects to make the obstacle course. Try to include things that will allow your child to crawl and have different body positions.
- Cosmic Kids Yoga -There are lots of fun and child friendly You Tube clips that include simple yoga poses which are regulating and you and your child could do them together. To slow YouTube clips down:
Open the video in YouTube, click the three dots in right hand corner or settings icon on the bottom right and select ‘playback speed’ to 0.5x or less.
- Heavy Work Activities - Any activities that involve pulling, pushing, carrying heavy objects provide regulating proprioceptive inputs. Some ideas include: gardening activities – digging and pushing a wheelbarrow, tug of war, cycling, helping with house work, row, row your boat song, door pull up bars, wall press offs
Some websites for further information around proprioceptive regulatory strategies and activities include:
Whatever you manage to do, and this may change from day to day, is great!