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Learning from Home – 23 April 2020

How did you go with writing a song about Tuesday? Hopefully it brought a smile to your face at the very least.

Today I’ve put together some resources on mental health. Lots of us are anxious and scared at the moment, and not all of us are adults. Many children are also sad because they can’t see people they care about like friends and grandparents, or do things they enjoy like going to birthday parties and playgrounds. It can be hard for children to talk about how they feel; sometimes they quite literally don’t have the words. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I hope the resources below help you and your children.

If you have younger children, books can help to give children the language to express how they’re feeling. An excellent example of this is The World of Ruby Red Shoes: A Book About Ruby’s Feelings. Kate Knapp’s beautiful and quirky illustrations accompany simple verse where Ruby Red Shoes explains how and why she feels different emotions. At the heart of this book is the important idea that no feelings are wrong, and if we have feelings that make us feel bad there are things we can do about them. Recently, Kate Knapp shared a lovely video of herself and Ruby reading a section of the book on being worried. Please find it here.

A couple of weeks ago I shared with you Oliver Jeffers’ ‘Stay at Home Storytime’ readings (and I encourage you to keep going back to this, as he adds to it several times a week), but today I wanted to share with you another project he is involved in called ImagineNation. This is a brilliant initiative which has seen authors and illustrators from all over Ireland create resources for primary school aged children to use (although many could be used or adapted for lower secondary) while they are leaning from home. There are colouring sheets, writing challenges and drawing lessons, along with so much else.  Many of these wonderful resources have been created to help children express the fear and anxiety they may be feeling about the world in non-confrontational and creative ways. I can’t recommend this highly enough.

One way we can make children – and ourselves – feel less anxious about what is going on is by providing them with information about what is happening and how they can help. This is where a wonderful resource like Coronavirus: A Book for Children can help. In simple, clear, age-appropriate language, accompanied by colourful illustrations, this book explains what the virus is, what is happening at the moment (including the search for a vaccine), and what we can all do to make things better. The book is honest about the reasons for concern, but it’s also positive about all the things that are going on to stop the virus spreading, as well as the people who are working really hard to help people who are sick.

While the other resources and activities I’ve discussed are quite creative, the last one I’m including today is BeyondBlue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service. There are some great resources to use with children, including how to speak with them about Coronavirus and how to alleviate fear and anxiety. If you, your child or someone you know would find this helpful, please make use of it.

Before I sign off for the week, I want to do a bit of a shout out to local booksellers. I’m lucky to live somewhere that has several fantastic bookstores, and I’ve been doing my best to support them in different ways. Even if buying lots of books isn’t possible, you can: share their social media posts; attend virtual events; or pass on book recommendations from newsletters. If you’re using social media, use #BackYourBookshop. Everything helps, and it means there’s a greater chance they’ll still be there when shopping in person is back on the cards!

Have a great weekend.

Regards,

Jemma

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