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Business as usual? Three good reasons why it can't be

1. Children 2 Youth 3. You!

The way forward - REACHING FOR HOPE for a different education future.

This gentle, insistent, and growing call for education to focus on how children and youth will thrive in schools must first be fully understood by all adults in schools.

We must learn about thriving and the importance of relationships, allowing compassion for ourselves and then for others, the first and most important value in our lives today. And this means providing safety and buffering above everything else. Compassion and understanding are far more important than a return to focus on catching up on lost intellectual pursuit.

We don't have a USUAL in these times. Our constant is in ourselves and any variable from our feeling ok is in how we manage our experiences occur through our thought.

People are constant - their experience through thought is the variable. Understanding how we create feelings impacts the way we are ready to show up in the world. We know this because we are all experiencing disconnection from family and friends and this brings times of emotional uncertainty and wobbling. Let me show you how this impacts children and youth.

Consider the lifestyles of our children and youth before the lockdown and the impact of some of the phrases that burst into our lives overnight, without any clarity of understanding.

  • Lockdown - bringing an underlying sense of fear and concern

  • Social distancing - a sense of helplessness, a space of uncertainty

  • Social Isolation - you can't reach or see the people you love

Each of the above phrases have become a huge part in every child's life from baby to youth

and all ages in between. No there is no business as usual and we MUST stand together in knowing this.

Children who naturally run and play and use their senses to explore the world are restricted for safety reasons. They are with holding their natural way of being in childhood. Those who may already experience restriction and adversity, now have very little respite. They are learning to STOP, holdback because the world isn't safe. To be afraid of something as a child can be far more intense , because the only thing you have to defend your fear are your reactions to it.

The fear is so real to our children and youth and becoming a part of their sensory experience. Teenager are at the peak of their independent discovery of life - they are on pause and will need time to make sense of this world. We all will.

The FEAR is real.

Two of my neighbour's children came to my drive recently, to leave beautifully painted stones at my door and step way. When they were 3-4 metres away, I opened my door to say thank you and the younger child ran forward. His mother shrieked “STOP!”

The child froze mid run; the fear on his face will live with me for a long time.

Equally the postman was trying to thread a small parcel through the letterbox. As he walked safely away, I cautiously opened the door to retrieve it and he jumped in fear and froze.

The fear is real for children and for our youth.

My examples are only two everyday places where our alertness is becoming the norm. This is the body's alarm system - a way of protecting us and this is good, unless we begin to live in that overly alert space.

I have worked with so many traumatised children from all age groups, for differing reasons. Some having to bury their fears so deeply – their sense of safety is fragile and held together on an inward breath. Some children learn to please and live with a distorted sense of lack of self- worth. Others might cover fears with anger, arrogance or diffidence; some children divert attention through extreme behaviours.

I wonder how this prolonged world of fear will impact the little boy and the postman? The child whose family member becomes ill or dies.

How will it impact classrooms and children’s learning?

NO, this is NOT business as usual. It is business magnified.

Schools will need to be ready to focus on wellbeing. Wellbeing of staff initially BEFORE any return of children. The government needs to know this. Scientists who are not pedagogically informed need to listen to teachers, together we can find a way forward to enhance childhood – not brush it to one side and allow it to become forever lost or damaged.

The FIRST reason why (and how) we must focus on children's wellbeing will be shared on Twitter, throughout the day on Sunday


Please also look out for my podcast with the same title

NO, this is NOT business as usual. It is business magnified.

Your wellbeing is about noticing your thoughts in the moment. Letting go of dwelling on the past, not 'what iffing' the future and understanding that thoughts are transient. Moods fluctuate according to how much we focus on our thought and feelings around them.

Please listen here for more information