Its week four of the new school year and from conversations I have been having this week with school staff, it seems that lots of children are still finding it hard to settle back to life in school. Children who have experienced trauma, inconsistent and unpredictable parenting, live with drama and chaos as part of their everyday lives and have had unsettled and disrupted early experiences with the adults in their lives WILL find it much harder to adjust to being back at school.
These children’s difficult relationship experiences outside of school are often transferred into school and onto their relationships with their new teachers. These children have learnt that adults change their minds, don’t mean what they say, can’t be trusted and need to be tested all the time. Children who behave like this in our schools and are finding it much harder to settle in their new class and adjust to being back at school are just telling us that they are still feeling anxious, scared, worried and confused. They need the adults in school to be calm, consistent and predictable and to offer clear explanations about what is happening at regular intervals during the day. This will enable them to feel less anxious and scared, to feel safer in school and therefore clear some head space for them to start to engage with their learning.
New relationships take time to build and at the moment some children have had six weeks of being at home with different or no rules, versus four weeks of being back at school.
Be gentle and patient with the children, yourselves and each other.