21st January 2021

Dear Parents,

Lockdown 3 – it is hard to believe but here we are.  It feels as if everyone is working harder than ever and it’s groundhog day!  Keeping ourselves and our children positive at this time can be challenging.  In general I would say the Gatehouse children are proving themselves to be really resilient and their positivity is keeping us going, I have seen this particularly in the registrations and form times I have been involved in over these past few weeks, with the children in school and those children I have seen in zooms and live lessons or tutorials.

Unfortunately this past year has seen an increase in mental ill health in our society, and in our children and young people too with the challenges that many of them are facing.  At school we regularly talk to the children about the importance of good mental health and how to help ourselves stay mentally well.  In the Autumn term at school we have discussed the importance of exercise, healthy eating, talking to trusted people and positive friendships to help maintain our mental wellbeing but we also talked about other strategies that can support our wellbeing too.  These included discussions about mindfulness meditations, mindfulness drawing, journally and random acts of kindness.

On the Gatehouse website there are some simple journals children can complete each day which can help them think about the positives and negatives of their day, and also think about the role of gratitude to our wellbeing, and kindness.  Please have a look and see if any of these resources would be helpful to your children.  If they are too young to write, or they are all written out, then having a small reflection time with your child where you do an activity they enjoy together like mindful colouring or Lego building and have it as a time to discuss the best thing that happened today, what I am grateful for today or a kindness count (of kindness they received and gave out).  This can be a good time to reflect on the day together without the pressure of doing this as merely a conversation.  Children often report back to us that it is easier for them to talk about emotions and feelings whilst they are doing something else, a walk in the park, a shared activity.

If you feel you would like any guidance on these strategies or support for your children who you feel may be showing heightened signs of anxiety or stress then please do contact me at school for support with strategies or indeed for me to contact and support your children directly.   Many children find it helpful to talk to someone outside their immediate family about issues they may be facing or struggling with, whether big or small.

I attach below a helpful link to the NSPCC coronavirus advice page.  There is a lot of useful advice on how to support children at this difficult time in matters such as home schooling, separated families advice, family conflict resolution techniques and returning to school support.  There is also advice on the NSPCC site about how to talk about tricky subjects to children which gives useful tips too.

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/coronavirus-advice-suppport-children-families-parents/ 

As ever, if you have any questions or concerns you wish to talk through regarding this or any pastoral issue then do not hesitate to contact me by email jenni.veitch@gatehouseschool.co.uk  or call through the office at school.

Best wishes in these difficult times

Jenni Veitch

Head of Pastoral Care

Gatehouse School