As we pave our way back to face-to-face learning, we are all wondering what the ‘new normal’ will be.
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity to learn new things and some of us have gained new knowledge and insights and new ways of doing things. We have learned a lot about ourselves and no doubt have been forced into some quieter moments to reflect on what we value and prioritise in life. Some students took to e-learning like ‘ducks to water’ and have loved their time at home whilst for others, the past two months may have felt like two years! Similarly, some of us will be excited about coming back to school and just like returning to school after the long summer break, next week may feel a bit like starting a new year. Like it or not, many of us have lived the past two months at a slower pace and the return to school may create some weary people (and not just children). Each student’s sense of belonging will be different and will vary depending on how well they cope with change.
This week, I was interested to read an article on how some of the Scandinavian schools made their transition back to school. Like us, they had to make some physical classroom changes to allow for social distancing. The collaborative classroom looked more like an exam room but that hadn’t stopped some really good learning taking place! Of particular note, it was observed that the students had become more organised and independent. Students have had to be self-sufficient and responsible for their belongings; they cannot share joint equipment. With breaks being staggered, not being able to spend time with some friends from other classes and sometimes without their normal playground equipment or favourite sports gear to share, they have been creative and inventive in the games they played during breaks.
With a few adjustments and a positive mindset, we will all be part of creating ‘the new normal’ when we return to school. We will need to reach out and support each other, be kind, adaptable, patient and resourceful. Life as we know it will be a little different for some time yet. What has become evident during this time is the heart of what schools are about; a place for our young people to thrive, build relationships and learn about life and the world around us.
Kate Croft Deputy Principal / Head of Senior School