9 July 2020
For many of us we have finally reached the realisation and come to accept that our children will not be returning to school before September, after what will be a six-month gap in their formal education.
Currently there is a lot of activity and talking around the return to school, with many professionals planning their curriculums for the next academic year. For me, we have all got it so wrong. Whilst listening to a webinar this morning, I heard the most hard hitting and for me the most crucial sentence that every educator and parent should take heed from. “The curriculum is the servant of the child, not its master.”
As a nation we have seen some of the positives that this pandemic has bought us, from random acts of kindness to re-evaluating what is truly important in life. Perhaps we should be asking ourselves, if now is the time when we should be re- evaluating our curriculum, and questioning whether or not we are all focused on the wrong things, from rote learning to preparing our children to pass examinations. We must now instead consider the wellbeing of our children with as much emphasis and importance that we have placed on Maths and English in the past.
We would all be extremely naïve if we thought that our children could return to school and merrily pick up from where they left off the last day that they were in. For many of our children daily routines were turned upside down to non-existent. We all need to appreciate that during this pandemic our children lost routine, structure, friendships, and usual learning experiences, as well as those who will have suffered from loss and bereavement.
Any return to school and planning of future curriculums must therefore take all the above into account. Not only should we be protecting our children’s wellbeing, but schools must prioritise the wellbeing of their staff too. Whilst dealing with their own families, staff will have shared many of the same experiences as the children they teach.
Everyone agrees that we need to move forward and allow children to return to school and re- acquaint themselves with their education. However, this is something that needs careful consideration. Individual and family experiences during lockdown will vary tremendously. A common feature is that of the experience. It is these experiences which should be allowed to be shared. As educators and parents, we must give our children the time that they need to express and share, validating their experiences as real and important and accepting the impact on their lives.
Whatever form the curriculum takes, recovery and re- engagement in education must be a fundamental part of it. For far too long our children have been servants to the curriculum, their master!