Coram experts highlight need to support children's mental health as schools return
Published: Tuesday 25th August 2020
The mental health and wellbeing of children should be prioritised as the nation's children children return to school after months of lockdown, say Coram's experts.
Harriet Gill, Managing Director of Coram Life Education, and John Simmonds, Director of Policy, Research and Development at CoramBAAF, have been quoted in the Evening Standard as part of a story about the importance of prioritising the mental health and wellbeing of pupils when they return to school. Many children have not been to school since lockdown began in March.
“It is more important than ever that we put children’s mental health and wellbeing at the forefront of their return," said Harriet. "Children's mental health on their return to school will impact significantly on their ability to learn and related attainment."
With this in mind, Coram Life Education has created a free online toolkit for schools which helps teachers to support children's mental health and wellbeing as they adjust to their new school environment post-lockdown.
The mental health toolkit to support schools' recovery curriculums provides a framework for teachers, and five fully-resourced sets of plans that can be adapted for what works best in each school. Additional teaching materials along with songs, activities, certificates andreflective journal templates are also provided.
Dr John Simmonds, Director of Policy, Research and Development at CoramBAAF, also highighted the need for a specific focus on the impact of coronavirus and lockdown on children and young people in care, or who have previously been looked after, for whom a variety of issues will be significantly amplified.
“Schools must also be fully informed and resourced to understand and help children where serious levels of stress have influenced their welfare and wellbeing," said John. "Children need to know that they are not alone, that there is somebody whom they can turn to and who will actively and thoughtfully respond to them. It is not helpful to falsely reassure them that everything will be OK, but it is helpful to convey to the child that there is an adult on their side who will listen to them and hear their concerns."
Find out more on CoramBAAF's website here about the possible impact of coronavirus on care experienced children and young people, along with a range of recommended materials to support them.