I’m worried. I have a six-year-old granddaughter who has been out of school since last March. She doesn’t have any siblings, and she lives where there are many regulations about social distancing and not getting together with those outside of her immediate home. She’s in first grade. She’s doing great academically, as she’s a bright little girl, and her mom, my daughter-in-law, is doing a wonderful job of homeschooling, but…
I am thankful that the Austrian government understands the importance of allowing children to come to school as often as possible and our need to go outside to enjoy God’s creation beyond the confines of our four walls. Many schools around the world have been closed for almost a year. One of my former French and drama students, Rachel Farmer, is now a first-grade teacher. She was just awarded Teacher of the Year at her school, which is a great honor. She recently posted on Facebook her concerns for her students who she is trying to teach virtually. She wrote:
This post comes because today, which follows many others similar, I had a little student say the following, “Can I stay on here and talk to her (another little girl), and you?” “Sure,”I say, and the two little girls stayed in a meet with me for another 15 minutes. This, along with many other things that I have experienced repeatedly over the last several months, is that our children are hurting…So while we are in the middle of all this, I beg you please do the following with your kids:
- When school is over….turn off the tech.
- Go outside.
- Teach your child how to play and use their imagination (because. Yes. I had another child tell me this week, he didn’t know what an imagination was or how to use it!)
- Go to a playground!
- Schedule small playdates with people you know.
- Finally….please quit isolating these kiddos….I can see the damage every day.
~ a concerned teacher
I guess today I just wanted to remind you to consider your own and your children’s emotional health. Those of you in your immediate family may be the only ones who can speak face to face without a mask. You are the only ones who can hug and kiss each other. You need to give each other the physical affection and the emotional support that you are not getting elsewhere. We don’t want COVID to rob out kids of the ability to trust others or to relax when being close to each other. We don’t want them to fear physical touch.
One of the things that I believe we can do at school is to model what it means to live without fear, all while showing caution and abiding by the restrictions that have asked of us. We can demonstrate joy amidst trial. We can have fun together, laughing and playing even if we have to wear a mask. We will get through this pandemic together. But in the meantime, let’s do everything that we can to provide as “normal” an experience as possible. We want our children to grow up healthy – and not just physically, but emotionally, as well.
Because of His Faithfulness,
Dr. Sharon C. Brobst, Director