Coronavirus COVID-19 : Supporting Children’s Wellbeing & Learning
This is an archive version of a page we created during the early 2020 lockdown period when schools were closed. For the most up to date information, please visit this page.
We would like to reassure our families of our support at this very challenging time.
The Covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented situation which is fuelled by uncertainty, resulting in fear and anxiety. This can be overwhelming and can cause strong emotions. We all react differently to stressful situations.
How you will be responding to the pandemic will be dependent upon a variety of factors and we need to be mindful at all times that despite us all being in the same situation, we are all facing different challenges that are personal to each of us. In particular, you may have fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones. You may also be feeling anxious about possible financial implications in the short and longer term.
You may experience:
Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
Worsening of chronic health problems
Psychosomatic symptoms – fear that any symptom may signal that you have COVID-19
It is important to remember that you are having a normal reaction to an abnormal event.
Taking good care of yourself, your friends and your family can help you cope.
We are here to support you. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with the services below to request their help, support and guidance. We also have a Suffolk Local Offer Facebook page which can be found here www.facebook.com/SuffolkLO/.
Wellbeing tips for families:
Take regular breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories about the pandemic – including limiting social media. Hearing about it repeatedly can be upsetting and fuel anxiety and worry. Remember, not everything you read will be accurate. Try to stick to national news broadcasts (e.g. BBC) and information from Public Health England.
Talk to your children and answer their questions. Ask about what they have heard about the virus and the situation so that you can correct possible misconceptions and reassure them.
Take care of your body. Take deep breaths; try to eat (and drink) healthily, well balanced meals, exercise and get plenty of sleep.
Make time to focus on activities you enjoy, whilst acknowledging any restrictions that are upon us.
Maintain contacts with others and try to talk with people you trust about your worries and how you are feeling. It is likely that these will be shared worries. Try to avoid exacerbating each other’s anxieties by keeping to the facts, as we know them, and being mindful of our tendency get caught up in negative thought patterns.
Find ways to let off steam- use humour and make effort to notice any positive signs or messages e.g. proactive support and acts of kindness shown by others.
Separate what is in your control and what is not. Focus on those things you can control – such as keeping good hygiene.
Avoid being too immersed in media coverage. Be mindful of the amount of things you are reading and watching, including social media – as this may add to worry and anxiety. Consider a few updates every day from trusted sources.
Remember that people react differently to significant events. Some people – adults and children – may feel worried, some excited, some nothing much at all. Be reassured that different reactions are normal and ok.
If your child seems worried, it may be good to distract themselves with something that takes their mind off their worries. You might also want to set aside 10-15 minutes each day for them to talk about any worries, and to reassure them.
Remember to keep things positive and give children hope. For example, tell children that now many people are working to make this better and that even though it is serious, everyone is doing their best to help people.
Try to keep familiar routines. Well-known routines in everyday life provide security and stability.
Do nice things together and keep active. Make a plan and suggest some regular family times where you can play games, do some exercise together, or do other things that you know most of you like. Try to find a good balance between time together, and screen time.
Keep in good contact with family and friends (via Facetime, Skype WhatsApp etc.; following NHS guidance on ‘social contact’). This will help children connect with others and know that others are thinking about them. It will also reassure them that others are well.
As a parent you may be concerned yourself. Take care of yourself and make sure you have breaks, time to relax, and ask for help from others if you need.
Talking to children about Coronavirus
Your wellbeing - a list of helpful websites (Local and National)
The Source - For young people in Suffolk
Kooth - Provides free online counselling for young people in Suffolk
Moodwise - Young people in Suffolk can search for resources to help them feel better.
YoungMinds - National Charity that empowers young people's mental health.
On My Mind - Anna Freud Youth Wellbeing Directory
www.stem4.org.uk (aimed at teenagers)
www.headspace.com – a subscription service but some free resources available.
Activities and ideas to try:
Our Local Offer team are posting each day with a mixture of wellbeing tips and family friendly activities.
Do you want to make history? The Engagement Hub, part of Suffolk County Council’s Children and Young People’s services have launched a time capsule competition in partnership with Suffolk Archives and The Hold (www.suffolkarchives.co.uk) to capture the moment in history when a virus called Covid-19 came to Town and changed daily life as we know it. The closing date is 1st September.
Other websites you might find useful:
Twinkl have made their resources free to use during the crisis.
CBeebies have a host of educational games, crafts and quizzes on their website for younger learners, plus an App to download.
BBC Bitesize is a free online study and support resource for learners aged 5-16 across a range of school subjects, with videos, quizzes, activities and games.
Activity Village have hundreds of colouring pages, puzzles and craft ideas available for download across a range of themes.
Free Apps (for IOS and Android)
Teach Your Monster to Read – learn to read and phonics games. Free for limited time
Sir Linkalot Spelling - free during school closures – go to sirlinkalot.org for an access code
Khan Academy Kids – educational games & books (4-7)
Go Explore from CBeebies – games and videos based on the early years curriculum
iTrace (handwriting for kids)
Writing Wizard - Handwriting
DoodleMaths: Primary Maths (KS1 & KS2)
Twinkl Little Red Coding Club – an immersive coding game (KS1 +)
Lake: Colouring Books (4+)
TED – recommendations to match interests (12+)
BBC Sounds – variety of podcasts (12+)
https://www.pathstoliteracy.org/resources/Virtual-EXCEL-Academy - activities for students with Visual Impairment
3 free months of SuperNova – choose from Magnifier, Magnifier and speech, or Magnifier and screen reader – call 01905754577
Touch Typing - For older children: Doorway - https://www.doorwayonline.org.uk/typing/
Free Home-Schooling Resources - www.guidedogs.org.uk
Activities for children and Young people with CHARGE - www.gaildeuceconsultancy.com
Inclusive Technology are offering monthly subscriptions (£6.99) for HelpKidz Learn Games and Activities, ChooseIt Maker 3, ChooseIt Readymakes –
- Games & Activities - https://www.helpkidzlearn.com/shop/online-software/games-and-activities
- ChooseIt Maker 3 - https://www.helpkidzlearn.com/shop/online-software/chooseit-maker-3
- ChooseIt Readymades - https://www.helpkidzlearn.com/shop/online-software/chooseit-readymades
Reading / Literacy
RNIB Bookshare at www.rnibbookshare.org
National Accessible Library at www.seeingear.org
RNIB library or Overdrive at https://www.rnib.org.uk/talking-books-digital-download
Libby library app through https://help.overdrive.com/en-us/1307.html These all allow you to download digital books or audiobooks via a device.
The RNIB also have a lending library that you could join which lends books via the post in font size 24. http://rniblibrary.com/iguana/www.main.cls?surl=a1
Audible at www.audible.co.uk or download the app. Usually requires a subscription but currently (March 2020) is offering free books to children via Audible Stories https://stories.audible.com/start-listen
Rising Stars is offering 90-day free access to digital resources including eBooks and worksheets
Free tablet-friendly eBooks for primary-aged children, including phonic books, which are linked to schools’ phonic programmes, such as Letters and Sounds and ReadWrite Inc.
Story time with David Walliams – www.worldofdavidwalliams,com
Facebook – Read Write Inc. Teachers
Stories with Gwyneth McCormack – www.facebook.com/PositiveEyeIdeaMachine
Science with Maddie Moate – www.YouTube.com/maddiemoate daily 11 a.m.
Wildlife with Steve Backshaw – daily on Facebook
www.funlearningforkids.com – rainbowwalking water science experiment
Mark Roper has lots of science videos on YouTube
Maths with Carol Vorderman - www.themathsfactor.com
Mylee Klass – twice a week www.YouTube.com/myleenesmusicklass
PE with Joe – https://www.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1 - Monday – Friday 9 – 9.30 a.m.
Dance with Ote Mabuse – www.YouTubeOtiMabuseofficial
Mindfulness and movement - http://www.gonoodle.com
Cosmic kids yoga – YouTube
Food Tech with Jamie Oliver – www.Channel4.com/keepcookingandcarryon
www.tv.historyhit.com with Dan Snow
15 free Howard B. Wigglebottom videos, songs, interactive questions and more to help young children be better listeners, learn important life lessons and feel good about themselves http://www.wedolisten.org
Tuff tray ideas – private group to join on FaceBook
Dough Disco – lots of videos on YouTube
Edible Playdough recipe here: https://rainydaymum.co.uk/how-to-make-edible-playdough/
A – Z of sensory learning activities - http://www.inclusiveteach.com
Lots of sensory ideas – www.imaginationtree.com
Sensory ideas – www.learningandexploringthroughplay.com
4 find your calm workshops for Visually Impaired 14 – 17 years https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nurturing-wellbeing-workshop…
Activity sheets - https://www.twinkl.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/SuffolkLO Family Lockdown Tips and Ideas
Search for VI activities, sensory activities, apps for VI children and so on. Pinterest:
Search for VI activities, sensory activities, apps for VI children and so on.
Psychology & Therapeutic Services
Psychology and Therapeutic Services
During these challenging times the Psychology & Therapeutic Service wish to reassure you that we will be providing support to you and your children’s educational settings over the coming weeks in the following ways:
- Our staff will respond to your emails and can talk on the phone should you need advice and help regarding your child’s wellbeing etc.
- Educational Psychologists are still required to fulfil their statutory responsibilities around Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments. We will be caring out our assessments without face to face contact, e.g. via phone calls to schools, parents and possibly children, by email, gathering assessments via questionnaires, or being informed from previous work undertaken. Our report will make clear any limitations to the assessment and that settings can contact us once a child is back and settled.
- We will continue to develop and provide schools and parents / carers with helpful resources and guidance.
If you need to contact a psychologist you have been working with, please use their email address. You can also contact the team at Psychology&TherapyServices@schoolschoice.org or phone business support on 01473 264700
Our Inclusion Facilitation team continue to support children and young people across the county (IF@suffolk.gov.uk). Whilst social distancing means that we are unable to meet in person, there is much person-centred and supportive work that can be undertaken by video conferencing. If you would like any further information, please contact Imogen Howarth, Senior EP: firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.
We will let you know of any changes to our service as the situation evolves.
Information & Resources for Schools:
Check how schools in Suffolk are affected by COVID-19, including closures and the provision for key workers on the Suffolk County Council website.
Suffolk Headlines continues to be the main line of communication between the local authority and Suffolk school leaders. If you know of any other staff at your own or other school that would benefit from receiving Suffolk Headlines, please pass on the message so that they can sign up by registering their details here.
Keeping the local authority informed of schools open/closed
The government have asked the LA to coordinate school provision for children of critical workers or vulnerable children where there is no other safe provision for their care. To aid this we need to keep up to date information about schools that are open and schools that are closed or considering closing.
Where schools are having to close local collaborations are still being found to ensure that there is provision. If you are planning to close or have had to close, please inform the local authority, including information about any agreement that you have already made with other local schools around provision for your pupils. It is important that we know which schools are open and which are closed and which have capacity to support additional pupils.
Please let us know via this online form, if any of the information that you originally submitted to us has changed.
Guidance from NHS Suffolk Infection Prevention Control (IPC) lead
We know that there are concerns around procedures when staff or pupils show symptoms of COVID-19, cleaning and personal protective equipment (PPE) to maintain the safety of all staff and pupils. The DfE have provided guidance on this that we should all be following. In addition to this the following guidance has been provided by our NHS Infection Prevention Control (IPC) local lead:
- Always practice social distancing where possible
- PPE is not needed unless there are confirmed symptoms in someone that you are in close contact with
- Staff, young people and children should stay at home if unwell
- If anyone becomes symptomatic, those around them should monitor themselves for symptoms for the next 14 days but can continue coming to the setting if no symptoms
- If anyone becomes unwell whilst on site, they need to go home to self-isolate in line with national guidance
- Clean and disinfect regularly all surfaces and touched surfaces such as door handles, tables etc
- Regular hand washing for 20 seconds
Please reassure staff this is the same guidance NHS staff are following in community settings when in contact with people to minimise risk.
This video which has been approved by NHS local leads may be useful to share with staff to add to this message
Please find a letter about the use of PPE and a helpline number for more information about general cleaning and hygiene in relation to COVID-19 to all school leaders from Stuart Keeble and two posters for use in schools:
The government has released details of a national FSM voucher scheme. You should be receiving an e-mail from the DfE today with more information about obtaining these for and distributing these £15 weekly vouchers to the families that need them.
Voucher scheme launches for schools providing free school meals
Coronavirus (COVID-19): free school meals guidance
Other useful information:
Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Support:
Covid19 Mental Health Resources Guidance - This lists all the key Mental Health services and support in Suffolk for families and professionals.
Emotional Wellbeing Gateway website - For anyone worried about the emotional wellbeing and Mental Health of a child or young person. Find information, advice and guidance on emotional wellbeing issues, and local mental health support services.
Covid-19 information and resources for families in Suffolk - Includes SEND supoort for families.
Mental Health Support for parents and carers
Covid19 Mental Health Resources Guidance - This lncludes a list of the key Mental Health services and support in Suffolk.
Emotional Wellbeing Gateway website - for anyone who is worried about the emotional wellbeing and Mental Health of a child or young person in Suffolk. Find information, advice and guidance on emotional wellbeing issues, and local mental health support services, which includes the Children & Young People's Emotional Wellbeing Hub and Kooth - who provides free counselling to young people in Suffolk.
First Response Mental health helpline goes live
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has set up a 24/7 First Response helpline offering immediate support for mental health difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic.
The freephone service is staffed by mental health professionals and provides self-help advice, support and signposting designed to avoid the need for people to attend hospital, except in the case of a medical emergency.
The helpline is available to members of the public of any age, regardless of whether or not they are an existing NSFT patient. The line is also open to healthcare professionals such as GPs, ambulance and social care staff who need to make referrals or seek advice when working with people undergoing mental health difficulties.
You can contact First Response on 0808 196 3494. Callers will hear a recorded message instructing them to press either 1 or 2, depending on whether they are a professional or member of the public, and will then be connected to a mental health practitioner.
The Neurodevelopment Service sees children and young people who may be displaying behaviours that might suggest a condition such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The service assesses the child or young person to offer understanding, advice, specialist support where it is needed. A diagnosis is provided where clinically appropriate and beneficial for the child and their family.
If you have concerns about your child or young person, or if your child has been referred to the Neurodevelopment Service and is awaiting diagnosis, you will find it helpful to view the new Family Action online PBS course.
Waveney services that assess and diagnose children and young people for ASD and ADHD
Community paediatrics ADHD service for children (James Paget)
Waveney services that assess and diagnose young adults for ASD and ADHD
Short film to help young children and young people with learning difficulties understand about PPE
The below short video has been made by the Suffolk Children's Centres Team, and shows people wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and is for parents and carers to use with your child/children to talk about PPE and who you may see wearing it. This could be someone seeing you in your home, in the community, a clinic setting or in hospital. It helps to explain there is a real person under the PPE who is friendly and wants to help you and your child. The PPE is to keep us safe from a virus called corona.
You may want to talk about how your child feels seeing people in PPE. It might make your child feel worried, scared, find it interesting, or they may be confused, or they might feel fine about seeing PPE on people.
The Suffolk Children's Centre Team also suggests using role play to help support your child’s thoughts, ideas and feelings about PPE by:
- Dressing up
- Telling stories
- Sharing images of people wearing different types of PPE like in the video.
To contact your local Childrens Centre for information and support go to www.suffolk.gov.uk/childrenscentres