I hope that you and your families remain well. The “new” routines in school are becoming more familiar and I’m very pleased that so far we have been able to offer everyone who wanted to return the chance to do so, albeit for just a short time each week. Last week we had nearly half the school attend over the course of the week, and I am hoping that a few more will return before the Summer holidays.
As explained in previous letters, the curriculum and usual routines have been put on hold in response to the current situation. Our girls have all experienced a severe disruption to their normal lives, and although initially a few days off school may not have sounded like a bad thing to many, the circumstances surrounding this and the extended period for which this has continued will have a lasting effect on many.
“For most children their daily goal in going to school is not just to learn but to see their friends and to feel a sense of self-worth that only a peer group can offer. You cannot underestimate the impact of the loss of that social interaction. It is as key to their holistic development as any lesson. Human beings are fundamentally social creatures, and the brain grows in the context of meaningful human to human interaction.”
I have read many articles and views regarding the re-opening of schools. One article in particular was of interest to me and I have attached a link to this at the bottom of this letter if you would like to read it in full. The quotes from this article above and below, may help to explain the reasoning as to why at Alfriston we have considered the importance of allowing for a period of recovery, rather than to focus on academic catch-up.
Now is the time to return to more humane approaches concerned with the fundamental wellbeing, and secure positive development of the child. Without this there will be no results that have true meaning and deep personal value to the child in terms of their preparation for adulthood.
The curriculum at Alfriston during this interim period is to allow for social interaction, time to talk, time to enjoy the company of others to re-establish relationships and to return to some form of routine and consistency. We will return to a more formal curriculum once most pupils (and staff) are back on a regular basis, and ready to learn.
With kind regards,