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.