Notes on returning

I have been contacted by settings up and down the country and overseas, with dilemmas connected to what to do and what not to do as they get ready to welcome back (some schools and settings have remained open) children and their families following this period of lockdown.

Many have asked me to do an online webinar regarding returning to work. I have, instead, offered personalised online coaching as I feel a one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate, as many settings and schools have a variety of needs and every setting/school is unique.

I have, however, put together some quick tips that should be relevant for everyone:

Staff pre-session snuggle in:
If possible, get together as a team before you start, to reflect on the session ahead, even if it is for five minutes. An approach to consider is the KitBag approach,and this short clip. in brief, to ground yourself and acknowledge everyone’s feelings before the start of the session. In addition, my colleague, Teacher Tool Kit, has a template called the five-minute meeting plan, where as a team you can focus on a few important points that you all need to do or consider for the session.

Well-being Check-ins:
To preach to the converted, we are all displaying a number of emotions and feelings during these unpredictable and turbulent times. Before your staff return to work, carry out a one-on-one supervision (please contact me for the template) session, which can be done via video conferencing or face to face. Once back in work, prioritise these sessions as well as regular check-ins during the day. If staff disclose anything to you that needs professional support, please signpost them to their GP and/or any of the supporting organisations below. Importantly, to follow your polices and procedures.

Settling in:
As part of my KISP© planning system, I have a form called My Personal Page, which mirrors the person-centred approach. Even though educators will know their key children and their families, the My Personal Page acts as recap for educators to reflect to support and connect. Please email me if you would like a copy.

Key Person approach:
This goes without saying how important this will be now more than ever. Make sure that staff have connected with parents personally before the return – either with a telephone call or video call, whichever the parent feels is appropriate. Be sure to use the My Personal Page to aid your curiosity about the child and their family. Top of the tree will always be the Key Person approach – physical and emotional attachment matters.

Why, ethos/values, mission and vision
It is a good time to reflect on why you do what you do as a setting and what is important to you as this will help to guide you in the sensitive decisions that you will be making. This has been an area that I have been working on with my clients: their ‘why’ and how this is rooted in their personal and historical stories and is the authenticity for their day-to-day interactions with children and their families.

Your daily offer:
This may differ from session to session and will depend on a variety of issues and what you need to consider. I would use the principles of the EYFS, as a guide.

Unique Child:
Always start with the child. What are their unique personal, social and emotional needs?

Positive Relationships:
The importance of the Key Person approach. More than positive relationships, reflect on personal relationships that you have with children.

Enabling Environment:
Make sure that the environment is as safe as possible within current guidelines. Reflect on the emotional environment for children.

Learning and development:
Consider the learning and development of children during this ongoing period of change. Think about your setting or school’s pedagogical curriculum. Start with the child and meet them where they are.

For the first month or so, the priority must be the children’s wellbeing.

Government guidance:
The Government has issued guidance for settings and schools on returning. As we know, this information can change daily. Be sure to sign up to the Government alerts. Importantly, know the procedure that you would need to follow in the context of reporting coronavirus. In addition, contact your insurance company and double check the ‘small print’. As a result, you may need to add to or make changes to some of your policies and procedures.

Please feel free to contact me for personalised video conferencing sessions for you and/or your teams: Laura@LauraHenryConsultancy.Com

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