The first Monday of the holidays in lockdown and our Head Students comment….
Kia ora and greetings to our LCŌ whānau
I write this on late Monday afternoon having just been out between showers – or close enough – to clear a blocked guttering of its leaves. Autumn is now with us, quite swiftly.
This update starts with a message from our Head Students and ends with wellbeing material for children from our counsellors, and a repetition of information from previous updates about how to communicate with us over these brought-forward holidays.
From our Head Students: Mario Cvetkoski and Paigan-Lilly Hall
Kia ora koutou. Talofa. Kia Orana. Malo e lelei. Bula. Fakaalofa atu. Namaste and Kumusta. Greetings everyone at Linwood College and our wider LCŌ community.
I know that the past few days have been incredibly confusing and chaotic, especially with the school having to shut down and all the learning having to be moved online. (Let’s hope that students were actually doing learning and not just playing video games!) Hopefully, all of the students and their families can now relax with the holidays approaching and put their health, both mentally and physically, at the forefront.
We are currently living through unprecedented times, so I would like to reassure everybody that Linwood College is doing everything in its power to support you. From the counsellors remaining open, to whānau support, Linwood College has your back. These may be difficult times, but the government is also doing its best to protect all of us as well.
So remember, stay home, stay safe, save lives.
Kamusta, Kia ora, Talofa lava, Bonjour and Hello to our Linwood College at Ōtākaro family and our wider community,
I know that we are all watching the development of the current COVID-19 pandemic (aka coronavirus) with feelings of concern and uncertainty, however these feelings aside, it is important that we remain calm and stand by each other at this difficult time.
Please be reassured that the staff and the senior leadership team are doing all they can to minimise the disruption to our learning.
I understand that most of us will be distanced from friends, family and classmates due to the lockdown. Please stay in contact with each other and offer the necessary support.
Remember to stay home to keep ourselves and loved ones safe so we can help save lives.
Keeping yourself updated
§ The Ministry of Education website will continue to be updated with education related information.
§ The Ministry of Health website will be regularly updated with health and status information.
§ The All of Government website will also have the latest updates.
From the ChCh City Council: eBooks, eMagazines, eAudiobooks
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Ministry of Social Development support
Everyone’s family situation is different and MSD has information for people affected by COVID-19. MSD may be able to provide financial support for those struggling to meet their costs. See their information page for more information.
Skinny Jump is flexible prepaid broadband: Only $5 for 30GB of data, no contracts or credit checks. https://www.skinny.co.nz/jump/home.html Skinny Jump is a not-for-profit service supporting those who may find access to the internet more difficult, including families with children, job seekers, seniors, people with disabilities, refugees and migrant communities and those in social housing. If you think this sounds like a plan that can support someone in our community please share with them.
Police are here to keep our communities safe and help prevent harm. They understand these will be stressful and unfamiliar times for many whānau around the country. They have released in different languages a message about the Covid-19 Level 4 alert. Please see below:
English Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/nzpolice/review/400151014/8de03483c5
Supporting children’s wellbeing during the pandemic, from our counsellors
Understand that reactions to the pandemic may vary.
Children’s responses to stressful events are unique and varied. Some children may be irritable or clingy, and some may regress, demand extra attention, or have difficulty with self-care, sleeping, and eating. New and challenging behaviors are natural responses, and adults can help by showing empathy and patience and by calmly setting limits when needed.
Ensure the presence of a sensitive and responsive caregiver.
The primary factor in recovery from a traumatic event is the presence of a supportive, caring adult in a child’s life. Even when a parent is not available, children can benefit greatly from care provided by other adults (e.g., foster parents, relatives, friends) who can offer them consistent, sensitive care that helps protect them from a pandemic’s harmful effects.
Social distancing should not mean social isolation.
Children—especially young children—need quality time with their caregivers and other important people in their lives. Social connectedness improves children’s chances of showing resilience to adversity. Creative approaches to staying connected are important (e.g., writing letters, online video chats).
Provide age-appropriate information.
Children tend to rely on their imaginations when they lack adequate information. Adults’ decisions to withhold information are usually more stressful for children than telling the truth in age-appropriate ways. Adults should instead make themselves available for children to ask questions and talk about their concerns. They might, for example, provide opportunities for kids to access books, websites, and other activities on COVID-19 that present information in child-friendly ways. In addition, adults should limit children’s exposure to media coverage, social media, and adult conversations about the pandemic, as these channels may be less age-appropriate. Ongoing access to news and social media about the pandemic and constant conversation about threats to public safety can cause unnecessary stress for children.
First, adults should reassure children about their safety and the safety of loved ones, and tell them that it is adults’ job to ensure their safety. Second, adults should maintain routines to provide children with a sense of safety and predictability (e.g., regular bedtimes and meals, daily schedules for learning and play). And third, adults should support children’s development of regulation. When children are stressed, their bodies respond by activating their stress response systems. To help them manage these reactions, it is important to both validate their feelings (e.g., “I know that this might feel scary or overwhelming”) and encourage them to engage in activities that help them self-regulate (e.g., exercise, deep breathing, mindfulness or meditation activities, regular routines for sleeping and eating). In addition, it is essential to both children’s emotional and physical well-being to ensure that families can meet their basic needs (e.g., food, shelter, clothing).
Keep children busy.
When children are bored, their levels of worry and disruptive behaviors may increase. Adults can provide options for safe activities (e.g., outside play, blocks, modeling clay, art, music, games) and involve children in brainstorming other creative ideas. Children need ample time to engage in play and other joyful or learning experiences without worrying or talking about the pandemic.
Increase children’s self-efficacy.
Self-efficacy is the sense of having agency or control—an especially important trait during times of fear and uncertainty. Children often feel more in control when they can play an active role in helping themselves, their families, and their communities. For example, children can help by following safety guidelines (e.g., washing their hands), preparing for home confinement (e.g., helping to cook and freeze food), or volunteering in the community (e.g., writing letters or creating art for older adults or sick friends, sharing extra supplies with a neighbor).
Create opportunities for caregivers (which may mean yourself!) to take care of themselves.
Children’s well-being depends on the well-being of their parents and other caregivers. Caregivers must take care of themselves so they have the internal resources to care for others. To this end, adult caregivers can engage in self-care by staying connected to social supports, getting enough rest, and taking time for restorative activities (e.g., exercise, meditation, reading, outdoor activities, prayer). Seeking help from a mental health provider is also important when adults struggle with very high levels of stress and other mental health challenges.
Seek professional help if children show signs of trauma that do not resolve relatively quickly.
Emotional and behavioral changes in children are to be expected during a pandemic, as everyone adjusts to a new sense of normal. If children show an ongoing pattern of emotional or behavioral concerns (e.g., nightmares, excessive focus on anxieties, increased aggression, regressive behaviors, or self-harm) that do not resolve with supports, professional help may be needed. Many mental health providers have the capacity to provide services via “telehealth” (i.e., therapy provided by telephone or an online platform) when in-person social contact must be restricted.
Emphasize strengths, hope, and positivity.
Children need to feel safe, secure, and positive about their present and future. Adults can help by focusing children’s attention on stories about how people come together, find creative solutions to difficult problems, and overcome adversity during the epidemic. Talking about these stories can be healing and reassuring to children and adults alike.
Communicating with LCŌ
Please contact us if you have any questions. As written above it is school holidays now so I am encouraging staff to put away their laptops and be with their whānau. All staff emails are on the school website for contacting teachers when term starts again.
However we are in extraordinary times and specialised staff are expecting and welcoming contact if it is required.
Therefore for urgent guidance and wellbeing support my last update, #10, had all the counsellors’ phone extensions and emails. Also Sue Ingle, our Head of Guidance, has stressed that if it is simpler anyone can contact her directly with any urgent issue and she will forward to the appropriate person. Sue’s contact details are:
Sue Ingle 982 0100 ext 822 email@example.com
Many of us will know Loren, our smiling face on the front desk at school. Loren has said that she will monitor the school office and phone number daily over the holiday period and forward any messages to the appropriate staff so that line of communication is also open. 03 982 0100 firstname.lastname@example.org
If anyone wishes to contact me directly, my email is email@example.com and my phone is 027 6221090.
Next communication: I will put out another communication this coming Friday or immediately if important information comes through before then.