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Video: Starting school again, and helping kids with new routines

Sep 08, 2020 06:01AM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Photo: WDIO-TV

From WDIO-TV - September 8, 2020

More kids are heading back to school on Tuesday. Or at least, starting their school year from home. But as everyone knows, it's going to be so much different than years past. But some things remain the same.

"Typically children navigate towards other children. It's how we survive," shared Dr. Molly Harney, an associate professor of early childhood education at UMD.

Many kids have been kept away from other peers during the past six months. Back to school time means they might be around more of them again. They might be nervous, but the structure can be comforting, too. "Those routines and predictability help children feel safe," Harney said.

They are always looking to adults, she added, to see if things are safe and if they should be worried. Supporting them and listening to their fears, is important.

"Helping children recognize, if we are all careful, and take care of each other, we will come out on the other side and be together again. We really need to be careful right now in helping them recognize that," Harney said.

For those who are doing distance learning, it may be really hard to see others return. The message can be phrased in a way to emphasize the bigger picture.

"Instead of you you can't go to school, or sorry your friends can't come over, we can flip the narrative. We can say, look at all the ways we are staying safe. And we are doing our best to keep our friends safe. And we are in school, at home," Harney suggested.

Learning can take place all around us. In the kitchen, or in the garden. 

To keep isolation at bay, she suggested finding a few friends they can see, who align with your family's practices, with social distancing.

All of this could lead to a bigger culture of empathy. "Thinking about how we can use this crisis to support the next generation, in thinking about how they play a part in larger community," Harney said.

To watch the original report and see related stories, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.
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