That Friday Feeling!

There’s quite a bit of reading tonight – apologies.

Aaron in P7 has written this amazing poem during Good Mental Health Week and was happy for me to share with you. I could certainly identify with the emotions and I’m sure you will, too.

Anxiety and me 

A storm is brewing. My fingers are tense and it’s hard to breath. My heart is racing- 

What is happening to me?  I don’t like this feeling! Make it go away. I’d do anything not to feel like this again. How do I make this stop?

To laugh 

And play without a worry! Not to wear a mask and to feel free again,

like a bird that flies in the sky.

CHIP+ charity has been an amazing support for families and professionals over the years. I love how it has been rebranded as Thriving Families – so much more positive. It has undergone a ‘make over’ and a relaunch:

After almost 28 years as Chip, today we are absolutely delighted to relaunch our charity with our new name Thriving Families. We’re all living through an incredibly difficult time and charities like ours have never been more needed. We felt a new name that better reflects what we do everyday would help us to reach more people. Our goal is to become the ‘go to’ organisation known for improving the lives of families in the Highlands, by giving you confidence, empowering you to know your rights, know what questions to ask and have your voices heard. Onwards and upwards we go!

Chair of the Thriving Families Board Ann Darlington said:
“I couldn’t be more proud of the work done by CHIP+ over the last 28 years, and it is really exciting to be launching the charity into a new era as Thriving Families. I know that our brilliant team will build on past successes, rise to new challenges and reach out across the Highlands to offer support that will improve the lives of families.”

Our up-to-date contact details are as follows:
Phone: 07514 120288
Coping with lockdown and homeschooling
Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash
Being in lockdown, it can be really hard to stay positive and not worry about what is happening now and in the future. We are feeling the pressure of trying to help our children with their school work along with juggling our jobs, home life, paying the bills and maybe worrying about the health of family and friends too. That’s a lot of juggling.

The First Minister’s announcement on Tuesday of a phased return to schools from 22 February gives us some hope and a feeling of progress in the right direction, but it’s been a long slog and we are all weary. 
In the way that we are kind to other people, it is really important to be kind to ourselves too. We are human and things will not always work out the way we would like them to. Give yourself a break as you are doing the best you can.
Try not to be hard on yourself, it is absolutely understandable to feel anxious and struggle at this point in our lives. It’s fine to ask for help too. Take time for yourself where you can, even a wee walk can be good and try not to compare yourself to Facebook friends who seem to be managing it all – they won’t be.

If you have worries about the way your child is learning (or not) during lockdown, school staff can chat to you about this and help reassure you.
At Thriving Families we are here to help so please get in touch and let us know how you are getting on. We can be contacted by email or 07514 120288 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9:30am to 4:00pm. There is information on our website that was put on during the first lockdown but still relevant. We also post regularly on our Facebook page.

Our Information and Support Officer Catherine recommends the following sources of help and information:

During lockdown bumps2bairns have a daily e-mail with lots of ideas and suggestions for play, learning and having fun with young children. Parent Club also have lots of information on their website and social media about ways to support children, young people, parents and carers. BBC Bitesize have ideas and tips for learning at home too. 
Seasons for Growth have written an amazing guide to self-care and well-being during times of uncertainty to help children and their families. We’ve shared an excerpt below and highly recommend this resource.
Highland Council psychological service have information to help families on their website and you’ll find some really helpful resources there too.
Clear your head highlights practical things we can do to feel a bit better and help us take care of our mental health during the pandemic. They also list organisations in Scotland which can help.

Apologies for not getting the survey out in time for this week. We will use the information for next week and the following Thursday and Friday. (Monday 15th – Wednesday 17th there will be no school or home learning – February weekend and the Wednesday is an in service day where all staff will be working from home. There will be no new grid for 18th and 19th February) Click here for the survey.

A message from the Highland Council that we have to put out to you all:

For the attention of parents and carers in Highland

On 2 February, an announcement was made in the Scottish Parliament by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, about remote learning and the future return to face-to-face learning in schools.  This message includes the key information that children, young people and their families need to know.

The key points are as follows:

  • The remote learning offer, alongside support in-school for vulnerable and key worker children and young people, will continue until Friday 19 February.
  • From week beginning 22 February, there will be a partial return to schools as follows:
    • Full time attendance for Early learning and childcare children, and for children in P1-3.
    • Part-time attendance for young people in the Senior Phase who need to attend in order to complete practical work that is necessary for the completion of national qualification courses. 
    • Further clarification about future plans for the re-opening of schools will be shared by the Scottish Government on 16 February.
  • There will be a roll-out of testing for some workers in educational settings and pupils in the Senior phase, which will help to ensure that the partial return to school is as safe as possible. This is in line with national guidance.

It is important to remember that all of our Highland schools will be closed for the long weekend (Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 February are holidays, and Wednesday 17 February is the In-Service Day).  During those days our school buildings will be closed and there will be no provision for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. 

We are currently working through these guidelines and are planning for the week beginning 22 February.  We will continue to keep parents, carers and families informed.

Further updates about free school meals will be issued next week.

Meanwhile, the current remote learning situation continues, with the continued emphasis on following guidance from the Scottish Government to protect the NHS and save lives.  Thank you for your patience and support.

Just before we relax and look at the photos this week (by the way, how impressive: a family can not only get the children engaged in learning but Barney the dog is on the google meet!) I just want to continue to encourage you and your family in all that you are doing. I’m a bit fed up with the media talking about ‘the lost years’ in learning and how much the children are going to be behind. Yes there will be parts that your child will have forgotten and will need to be picked up again at school. Their social skills will need a bit more practice. Their confidence in going outside might need a bit of encouragement but it’s also really important to acknowledge the hard work you are all putting in with and for your children. Every time you expect them to help around the house and garden are learning opportunities. Every time you sit together and chat or walk together are clear bonding times for you as a family. Enjoy these bonus weeks when you can hold your children dear – this is anything but the lost years – it’s an opportunity for family time and acknowledging just how much this is to be valued. When many of you are beginning to struggle as the time is going on, just ‘reboot’ and relax. Turn chores into games (who can match the socks from the basket the quickest? Can we unload the dishwasher and dance to our favourite song together at the same time? Take photos of before and after cleaning the garage and turn them into a chatterpix, etc) and plan for things in your day together.

As you hit that Friday Feeling (woohoo! This is how teachers feel every Friday!) focus on the difference you are making to your child’s life in the long run rather than panicking about what they are missing at school. Leave that to us when we are back together safely.

Aileen Mackay, HT

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