Our Recovery Curriculum – Autumn 2020
As a school, we have been thinking carefully about what a curriculum should look like for our children when they return after the school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the time of home learning, our children and families constantly amazed us with their commitment to supporting children through that difficult time and continuing their learning journey. In September 2020, in line with local and national guidance, all of our pupils returned to school and it is now our turn to support not just their academic progress, but also their social and emotional mental health.
With this in mind, we will be implementing for this period and into next term a “recovery curriculum” which acknowledges that there have been big losses to children as they have stayed at home and that these losses can contribute to pupil’s mental health with anxiety, trauma and bereavement playing a large role. Children will perhaps have experienced these aspects all at once and in a sudden and unplanned fashion which can leave children feeling vulnerable.
As a school, we are also very mindful of the impact this pandemic has had on our children’s attainment and progress. This recovery curriculum will support our children’s transition back into school so that they are then able to make accelerated progress in class and continue to follow our school vision of ‘Dream, Believe, Achieve’.
With all of this in mind, our ‘Recovery Curriculum’ will be split into the following areas:
Supporting our children to build positive relationships with others
Many of our children will require support to rebuild their strong relationships they once had in school, with both their peers and staff members. They may need to re-learn how to interact in class, take turns and share, problem solve, seek help from an adult when it’s needed and know which adults help and keep them safe when they need them.
To support this area, our curriculum will
- build in opportunities to develop important social skills e.g. turn taking and sharing.
- provide children with independent learning opportunities to develop joint play
- ensure adults build in opportunities to give sole attention to pupils to rebuild relationships.
- build in PSHE opportunities to explore which adults in school keep us safe, and how they do that.
Supporting our children to manage their feelings and behaviours
We recognise that over the last six months many of our children will experience emotions and feelings that they may not have had in the past. Our recovery curriculum will support pupils to relearn the positive behaviour they may have forgotten outside the school environment and we will equip our children with self-regulation strategies to help them feel safe and calm.
To support this area, our school day will
- be built around clear routines and communication for all children
- build in opportunities for children to express themselves and share their individual experiences of lockdown
- make use of clear behaviour expectations, focused wholly on our behaviour policy and three school rules
- build in tools to support children in communication, such as circle time, mindfulness sessions and therapeutic play times.
Supporting our children to enjoy school and make outstanding progress
We wish for all of our children to experience once again the many moments of success and achievement that school can bring. This learning will be within our children’s abilities and sits alongside an understanding that potential trauma experienced by our children during the school closures may impact on our children’s ability to learn in the near future.
Despite this, we will build in new learning opportunities that will look like familiar structured sessions that the children are used to (such as guided reading, maths, science etc.) so that our children can reexperience the feeling of success within the classroom.
To support this area, our curriculum will
- provide sessions that will be familiar to our children
- provide opportunities for our children to engage in some independent learning
- make use of resources that our children are familiar with (such as knowledge organisers and word mats for example).
Supporting our children’s physical health and well-being
We also understand that many of our children will need to re-engage with physical health and well-being routines, whilst also learning new routines to keep themselves and others safe with regards to infection control. As a school, we have introduced a great number of safety measures and rules that our children must adhere to. We will take the necessary time to explain these changes to our children and the reasons for their introduction. We will reiterate to our children that keeping them safe at all times is our number one priority.
To support this area, our initial recovery curriculum will
- include sessions that explore how school life and the learning environment is different to how it used to be.
- seek to teach children explicitly about hand washing, hygiene practice and the importance of staying safe during these times
- ensure all children are clear on the new expectations in school and know where to go if they have any questions or concerns.
Additionally, we will be carrying out careful assessments of our children with regards to their academic progress. We understand that our children’s experiences during the home-learning period may vary from one individual to another. With that in mind, we will be ensuring that our curriculum matches the needs of our children, using teacher assessments in class, and planning to address any gaps that are discovered through our own analysis.