Keeping safe and keeping well during school closure
The purpose of this page is one of reassurance and to offer support, advice and links. For some of us, the new routines as a result of what is happening can be a little overwhelming. We may have the best of intentions to encourage our children to stick to tight time-tables, have high hopes of them completing all pieces of work set by teachers and think it’s the ideal opportunity to set them new challenges, but it’s important to bear in mind that some of our children may be feeling scared. Like us, this is the first time they have experienced anything like this before.
So, in addition to the new routines and structures, your children will need to feel safe, comforted and loved. This might mean at times relaxing strict time-tables, instead focussing on giving them love, attention and your time. Not easy when many of you have the pressure of working at home with your children, but where you can, play with them, take them for walk, bake biscuits, watch movies together, go on a virtual zoo trip, snuggle with them on the sofa and do nothing! Don’t worry about them regressing in school, every single child is in the same boat and they will with your love and support, be okay. When your children are back at school, teachers will help them focus on their learning and their educational needs. How they felt during this challenging time, will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during these weeks is gone.
For now, help them stick to a normal daily routine as best you can. Aim to get up at the same time as you normally would, stick to normal mealtimes, try and incorporate some art and physical activity into your day and get outside daily where possible. A few ideas that will help you structure your day and stay positive and stimulated are listed below.
Apps & Websites
OPAL at OPJS
Our friends at OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning) have done a super job putting together a number of activities for us all to enjoy! Follow the link:
Powerfully relaxing mediation and mindfulness exercises to help you get the most out of your day. It can also help you to fall asleep more easily, a great tool to use at bedtime!
App for Mindfulness and Mediation (Available on iOS, Android & Web).
This relaxation app trains you on “belly breathing” a technique that we have been practising a little in some of our PSHE lessons.
Another app that helps you incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. This app can help you launch yourself into regular practice of mindfulness mediations that we have started to do in some of our PSHE lessons.
This is a journaling tool with a simple interface where users can log instances of worry, fears or anxiety. You can add in the outcome of each situation your worried about which provides a comparison between expectation and reality that helps reduce anxiety over time.
Downdog Yoga App
This app is free to download and is the highest rated yoga app in the app store! You can purchase a pro membership for upgraded options if you choose, but the basic version is a great starting point for beginners.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA Foundation) has an award-winning children’s literacy initiative, a collection of videos of famous actors reading storybooks, called Storyline Online. Children can choose selections from the extensive library, such as Harry the Dirty Dog, read by Betty White, or Rita Moreno reading I Need My Monster.
Many museums are closed for the duration, but your children can still get their fill of culture with an online museum tour. Here are some museums that offer virtual tours:
- The British Museum
- Smithsonian Natural History Museum
- Musée d’Orsay, Paris
- British Museum: London, History of the World
- The Louvre, Paris
Zoos and Animal Cams
Children love to visit the zoo. Many zoos offer virtual tours, and some of them have animal cams.
You could take a virtual field trip. Here are some popular online destinations offering online tours.
- The Great Wall of China
- Space Center Houston
- Mars Rover
- FarmFood 360
- Langley Research Center
- Glenn Research Center
- Discovery Education offers a variety of field trips from a tour of the Johnson Space Center, to a visit to the Tundra, and more.
Concerts and Ballets
Check out The Royal Opera House’s (London) youtube channel where your child can watch an opera or a ballet and see the colourful costumes of The Caterpillar from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, or The Dance of the Knights from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet.
Dance and Exercise
We know that exercise is important for both physical and mental health. There are loads of online exercise and dance workouts or check out The Body Coach YouTube channel every morning at 9am!
Bear Grylls – The Great Indoors activities
Bear Grylls might be the king of the outdoors, but he also knows a thing or two about challenges which can be done in the confines of the house, too. Bear has teamed up with the Scouts to create 100 indoor activities to ward off boredom while kids are stuck indoors for most of the day. The Great Indoors will be a weekly live video feed and activities include making lolly-stick catapults, origami and designing and making hot-air balloons and all activities can be done in the house or garden.
David Walliams – free audio stories
David Walliams will be providing daily free audio stories from his collection of children’s books in order to keep kids entertained. The comedian and Britain’s Got Talent judge will share one story each day at 11am, beginning with The Terrible Triplets from his The World’s Worst Children book.
Myleene Klass – Music lessons and lullabies
As well as being a member of Hear’Say, Myleene Klass is also a classically trained musician, and she has been providing virtual music lessons for kids in lockdown. Monday mornings at 10am is an interactive class where kids can play along with a pan and wooden spoon, Wednesdays at 6.30pm she will play a Disney-themed lullaby for babies, and Friday at 10am is Music Klass. Children don’t need to have their own instrument to be able to participate, though there are interactive elements with items from around the house.
Carol Vorderman – The Maths Factor
Former Countdown star Carol is putting her mathematical prowess to good use and stepping in as maths teacher while children are off school. Her online maths programme, The Maths Factor, has waived its usual £2 a week fees to provide free tuition to children of school age while the schools are closed.
Oti Mabuse – Dance classes
Strictly Come Dancing star Oti Mabuse is hosting free online dance classes for children and adults alike, to make sure people are still moving despite being in lockdown. She and Marius Lepure have been sharing videos on her YouTube channel teaching routines to Strictly-inspired dances to help fans learn a new skill while they are at home. The kids’ class airs at 11.30am while the adult version is at 7.30pm, so parents and their children can both enjoy learning to dance while staying in.
A book to help explain the Cornavirus to children
This link takes you to a free online book explaining Covid-19 and social distancing in a child friendly manner:
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