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PSHE in lockdown: supporting our pupils

Mr Wilson breaks down how PSHE has been adapted to best serve our pupils in the current situation and how it play a key part in our online education provision.

How will PSHE lessons work now that we can’t be together in school?

PSHE is increasingly vital in supporting our pupils with managing the disruption, isolation, anxieties and increased use of technology in the current situation. We are hugely lucky to have an amazing team of staff that contribute to PSHE delivery from all areas of the school, including Boarding, Learning Support and Computing. Mr Stonier has increased PSHE time in our timetable and as a team we have changed our curriculum. A series of lessons called ‘Sharing and Caring’ are focusing on what our children can do to look after themselves and those closest to them.

We are discussing the importance of routines in terms of building up positive momentum each day and balancing the need for work, exercise, relaxation and socialising. We want each pupil to consider what is in their “Happy Toolbox” of creative outlets that gives them the energy or calm they need at different times of the day. This could include colouring, reading, baking, online yoga programs like Cosmic Kids or Yoga with Adriene, Headspace for Kids or the sleep stories on Calm.com. It is all about introducing pupils to a range of activities, allowing them to find the things that work for them and encouraging them to build them into their own routines. We discuss healthy sleep in terms of routine, environment and cutting down on screen time. Mr Barber is our sleep guru and has prepared lessons for our day pupils and boarders on how to catch the best Zs!

Pupils are encouraged to manage and discuss their worries and anxieties in different ways, depending on their age and inclinations. This is something that ties in with the work of many other Junior King’s staff and will adapt and continue after we return to the school site. We naturally discuss online relationships and etiquette and one consequence of the current situation is that our pupils are coping brilliantly with a steep technological learning curve that will serve them well in years to come. In PSHE there is significant overlap with other school subjects and even across topics. How to sleep well in the current situation involves considering working from home, getting enough exercise, cutting down on screens, managing worries, etc. It is all interlinked!

I hope that when we are back at school we (and I very much include myself in this!) will carry on, having established some good new habits that continue even in the hustle and bustle of “normal” life!

How will the sessions differ for different age groups?

With younger pupils we are continuing the fundamental process of discussing issues as a form and supporting pupils within the crucial individual teacher–pupil dynamic. We try to get the right balance and tone in discussing issues that affect every one of us and yet can be invisible to a child’s eye. Things like ‘The Gruffalo’ illustrator Axel Sheffler’s e-book on Coronavirus help with that. With older pupils, we carry on discussing issues as a form to elevate their thinking and understanding of the world, and we introduce them to activities like guided meditation or online yoga that they might like to do independently in the future.

What are you looking forward to most about being back together in school in the future?

My favourite day is a Tuesday. I teach a range of languages in the morning, have a delicious lunch with members of 7W and enjoy the chance to catch up properly. This is topped off with a quick walk around our beautiful grounds with members of the MFL dept. What could be better!