Care, Communication and Collaboration to help parents and children transition back to school

Hello everyone!

We are thrilled to launch our Below the Willow Tree blog. 

After a brief hiatus, we are active again on our Facebook and Instagram pages and hope to engage with you there!

To serve you better, we will also be creating detailed articles that you will find useful. This information along with other useful and interactive resources will be available in the “family” section on our website.

Let’s talk about going back to school first up! We commend all the parents out there that have home-schooled their children along with juggling home and work commitments! It certainly has been another year for navigating in uncharted waters. 

In NSW and Victoria, Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 12 students have begun returning to school.

With COVID-19, the start of this school term feels very different. Some families will be very eager to return to school and transition back with ease, but others may feel a little different. Based on some of our conversations we’ve had with parents and educators at our kindergarten and OSHC services, everyone is experiencing greater levels of anxiety and stress. And the conflicting messages we have been given don’t help.

We just want to assure you that it is perfectly normal to feel how you feel! After all, these are unprecedented times.  

Everyone is thinking:

  • Will children be safe from COVID-19 while in school or childcare?
  • How soon will school life go back to “normal”, and what is the new “normal”?
  • What social-distancing rules and mask protocols are in place?
  • What about those who are not vaccinated? 

A thousand more questions bounce about in our heads.

The good news is that parents, educators and other admin and support staff play an influential role in helping children cope. By being proactive in reducing their anxiety and worries, we can help make the transition smoother. 

Here are some pointers to remember as we all adjust to this new “normal”:

  • This is a new start and it’s normal to feel uncertain

While many Before & After School Care and educational services remained open to provide essential care, for many of you, the last 3 months meant keeping your children at home. And many babies who were born during this time may have stayed home too. For all of you, the upcoming weeks are going to be a brand-new experience. Remember, feeling anxious is normal and you are NOT alone. 

  • Transitions are hard

No one likes change. Most children, having been home-schooled for a long period of time may feel now feel overwhelmed with the new school environment filled with many more children and adults!

They may require more attention in the classroom setting, for which they will need some time to adjust.

At Willow Tree Kindergarten, we are adapting our transition program to suit each individual child’s and family’s needs to ensure all feel comfortable and welcomed.

  • Social distancing and masks make transitions extra hard

During the lockdowns, we have had to:  

  • Limit visitors and change drop-off pick-up procedures to limit contact
  • Enforce masks on our educators and families
  • Adhere to social distancing rules

As humans, we depend on voices, facial expressions and body language to understand each other. With masks and social distancing, children have had to adapt how they communicate! We have worked hard to overcome these obstacles to ensure all the children in our care were still developing these crucial communication skills. 

The key to overcoming these challenges is communication and cooperative behaviour. We urge all parents, teachers, and education staff to be patient and lean on each other to help our children transition with minimal stress and anxiety during these difficult times. 

If you need any tips or advice, drop us a line via our socials, and we’ll be happy to help in any way we can. 

In the meantime, if you are looking for early learning resources for your children or early learning centre, feel free to look browse our much-loved selection HERE.

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