Back to School: What to expect in September

August 27, 2020Information, Parenting, Real life

September is coming and schools are reopening, but what will that look like this year?

We know that this is a stressful time for everyone, especially for parents and your little ones.

To make things easier, we are breaking down some of these new measures with some straightforward advice to help you to make sense of this ‘new normal’.

For general information, the government has released guidelines for getting everyone back to school this autumn, which you can read here.

For more detailed information, check with your child’s nursery, school or childminder, who will be able to tell you more about the changes that they have made for the new term. 

Making sure it’s safe

New measure in place:

Before term starts, a health & safety risk assessment will take place and special changes and tweaks will be made to normal school routine to reduce risks for students and staff. 

How to help:

Start to (re)introduce a standard school routine into your child’s day, especially when it comes to eating and bedtime. Communicate with the school and talk to teachers about what your child has been up to during lockdown, what they are interested in and areas where they might need a little extra support.

Listen to your child and try to answer positively, be careful not to minimise their feelings but work with them to feel optimistic about the new term. 

High levels of hygiene 

Measure in place

This means frequent hand washing: on arrival, after breaks, before & after eating, etc; increased cleaning, especially on surfaces more often touched by little hands; taking the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach to coughs and sneezes. 

How to help

Remind your little one how important it is to wash their hands properly and thoroughly. Read our list of easy 20 second nursery rhymes to help them to remember and feel confident when they are away from you. If you haven’t already, start to introduce these new measures to their current home routine and reinforce the importance of cleanliness to keep the virus away.

Controlled contact

Measure in place

Social distancing has become our new normal and this will continue as much as possible in schools and nurseries. Each institution will decide the best way for them to do this, but examples include: dividing classes in half, staggering drop off and pick up times, limited access to parents and reducing classroom hours for reception pupils.

Most schools will be operating as a series of ‘bubbles’ where classes and teachers are grouped together by year group and only have contact with each other during lessons and break times. 

How to help

Kids have spent a long time away from their friends and peers so it may feel strange for them to be reunited, even from a distance. Talk to your child about their friends and the opportunities that they will have to make new ones, encourage them to feel excited rather than anxious.

Chat to their teachers about any anxieties they may have so that they can feel supported in the classroom like they have done at home. 

Support for returning

Measures in place

For children who have had a particularly tough time during lockdown, a phased return may be possible to help the transition from stay-at-home to back-to-school run smoothly. 

If you are worried about further risk factors for your child, speak to their school about the resources and adaptations that may be available. New school starters may participate in virtual meet and greets with their class teachers and take virtual tours of the school before the 1st day. 

How to help

Ask your little one how they feel about back to school and really listen to their thoughts and fears. Open up conversation about the new term and speak calmly and reassuringly to your child about what they can expect and the fun they will have. Talk about what you have done and their achievements during lockdown to boost their confidence for September. 

Try to walk past the school building on some of your walks and practice the school run together to establish familiarity and introduce this new element of their daily routine.

In case of contact risk

Measures in place

If a pupil or member of staff at your child’s school either tests positive or is in contact with somebody who does, your child may need to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days. Depending on how the school is organising class ‘bubbles’, this may not be necessary. 

How to help

Talk to your child about the possibility of this and what would happen and speak to your child’s school about support options for remote education during this period. Above all, reassure your little one that they are safe and that these measures are in place to keep everybody safe, healthy and happy.

If your little one is preparing to start or return to school or nursery, we hope that this article will help you to feel calm and ready for the big day.

These last 6 months have been a difficult time for families and you have done an amazing job looking after your little ones. Please tag us @My1stYears on Instagram to show us how you and your little learners are getting on this term. 

With love,

My 1st Years x