How Changes in Situation and Schedule Can Affect Children

March Letter from the Director 3/13/20

How Changes in Schedule and Situation Can Affect Children

 

Dear BFS Families,

 

I write these letters to you each month thinking about the themes that have emerged for the children or the experiences they are likely to have in the near future. If you had asked me a few months ago if I would be writing to you from this particular perspective, I would not have thought that the transitions I wanted to reference had to do with children's separation mid year. And, yet, this is where we find ourselves. Not quite sure if we are coming or going.

 

What we tend to focus on at this time of year is the progress children have made and the process of children's thinking. If you take a walk downstairs, near the Rainbow room, there is a wonderful illustration of children's process. How do they "see" and think about the world around them?  What do they perceive? What are their questions? And, importantly, how do they want to reflect these ideas and questions to us, their community or audience?

 

You have just gone through the Parent Teacher Conferences and had the opportunity to hear from your children's teachers. During the conference you may have heard about connections your child has made, ideas he or she may have expressed or challenges that are currently an area of focus. All this is a typical aspect of the Preschool arc.

 

What is atypical is the energy of the conversation around young children. It is the anxiety and frustration that inescapably leaks out around our youngest family members. We forget that, as nervous as we are, children only sense the emotion, not the ideas. They only feel the feelings, empathetically knowing something is not quite right. In these moments, they construct their own narratives that can cause them even greater stress. Oftentimes, they do not mention these "scary" thoughts, instead acting out and regressing. We need to be careful about the conversations they overhear and the media that is running in the background. 

 

As a result of this outbreak, many children may be home with parents or extended family for long periods of time. These separations and eventual reintegration are inevitably going to cause children to feel the need to work through some feelings.  While children can present in unique and different ways, transitions can be universal points of stress for those who need routines and relationships to feel grounded.  

Peer to peer connections, classroom relationships between students and teachers and the interplay between families and school are all vital aspects of what makes us feel like a community. Our shared value systems, our views of who children are and what it means to be a community will carry through this challenge. 

 

 

What Families can do if some or all of us are away from school for a while:

  • Routine is one of the best ways to create a sense of calm and consistency; so:
  • Establish a new normal at home by creating a routine that you realistically can stick to.
  • Make sure you get out to the park to be outside. Nature is a calming and centering force. Use it. If you are cooped up completely, you can tend to go a little stir crazy.
  • Try to limit screen time. I know. It is how meals get prepped. How we get alone time. It is just something of which to be aware. Some of you have the ability to project images on the wall from your phones. Use that to project images of nature instead of a movie or show. This way, children are creating their own stories instead of following the stories of others.
  • Make books by collecting paper together, stapling and "writing" stories. Adults make great scribes as children tell their stories. If the kids get stuck, ask them to "add details. Where are you? What does it look like, etc..."
  • Cook together. 
  • Use your own loose parts, beautiful stuff collections to construct and deconstruct sculptures.
  • Write letters or emails to friends. Skype whenever possible.
  • And, as always, laugh as much as you can!