21 Jul Making COVID-19 Fun
by Dr. Katherine Koonce, Head of School
No, I have not lost my mind. We adults have a very important job ahead – to make our “new normal” into normal, maybe even – dare I say – fun, for our children. On the one hand we know that social and mental health of our students is extremely important in the grand scheme of “school;” on the other hand we have a global pandemic, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in a century, and that is causing anxiety and consternation among adults and children alike. It’s time to gear up, put on our game face. We can do this!
Children are highly suggestible. When teachers make “masks on” and “masks off” into a Simon Says game or use morning meetings to talk about how the masks are helping to keep us safe, children respond accordingly. Children take their cues from us adults. So, if we are matter-of-fact, accepting, moving forward, then our children will be so as well. On the other hand, if we adults voice our hatred for masks or are disparaging of those adhering to safety protocols or wring our hands in anxiety about the virus, then the children will do the same. It’s a truly remarkable phenomenon. It’s a timeless truth.
The teachers at The Covenant School will be putting into place activities, lessons, and language – in developmentally appropriate ways – that will help our students mitigate any fear they may feel. Children need to feel part of a tribe – a family, a team, a classroom – and they tend to adopt the rules and the attitudes of their tribe. We will do our part at school to create an environment that encourages children to remember the Truth they know about God and his protection and provision. We will talk with them about the timeless truths that are being made clearer during this time of COVID-19. We will help each child to see that they are part of the solution when they wash hands, wear face coverings, wipe up their areas, or keep their hands to themselves. It is a tremendous feeling of bravery and confidence when children see themselves as a part of the solution.
The children are watching us. Even the little ones are watching. They are watching us in an attempt to understand this virus and its ramifications. That’s what children do – they watch the adults. And this fact calls for a plan. Let’s plan to communicate positively to our children when we’re talking about school and rules and even ways that the virus has made our lives inconvenient. Let’s pray for those who the virus has made sick and for those who are helping them. Let’s enlist them in our conversations about how we might re-create our plans in a way that keeps everyone safe. Let’s reassure them that they are safe and that the adults in their lives are helping to keep them safe, and God’s love for them is as big and real and wonderful as it has ever been.