The start of a school year can be a highly stressful time for students, families, staff, and school communities. Families may be feeling unsure about how to best support their child’s learning and wellbeing during these transitions. At Bellaire PS we aim to be supportive of all members in our community during this time. Here are some key points we would like to convey to families.
Separation Anxiety – Let them go!
How to Manage Tearful Drop-Offs – Here’s why your kid might be struggling and how to handle it by Sarina Behar Natkin
As each school year starts, we notice parents struggling during morning drop-offs. Children are often in tears, and parents, unsure of what to do, may waver between frustration and guilt. It’s tempting to stick around or peak through the classroom windows, hoping to see your child settle. It’s also tempting to sneak out, thinking that by doing so, it will be easier for your child. However, neither of these strategies work well. The long, drawn-out good-byes increase the anxiety in our children, and the quick ducking-out plays into their greatest fears about being left. Instead, create a good-bye ritual with your child, for example, give those last hugs and kisses, and tell him you can’t wait to see them after school.
With separation anxiety, the longer the goodbye, the longer the anxiety will stay. If parents stay around for long periods of time, the child’s amygdala (the part of the brain responsible for anxiety) will have hope that the separation won’t happen, and it will keep the fight or flight response going. Once parents leave, the amygdala begins to stop firing. Only then can your young one’s brain and body rest. The neurochemical surge that is driving the physical, emotional, and behavioural symptoms of anxiety will start to neutralise and their anxiety will start to ease. The sooner this happens, the sooner your child can settle and get on with the day.
There might be big tears when you leave, and that’s okay. These tears are a sign that the brain is moving to adaption, which lies at the heart of resilience. It’s never easy watching someone you love so much in distress, but remind yourself that they are safe, that the tears will pass quickly, and that you are providing the experience that will build resilience and courage and show them they can do hard things.
Consistency is Key – Rules, Expectations, Boundaries
Bellaire PS promotes engagement, positive behaviour, and respectful relationships for all students in our school. We do this in the following ways:
Having high and consistent expectations of all staff, students and parents and carers
Prioritise positive relationships between staff and students, recognising the fundamental role this plays in building and sustaining student wellbeing
Creating a culture that is inclusive, engaging, and supportive
Welcoming all parents/carers and being responsive to them as partners in learning
Explicitly teaching expected positive behaviours
Acknowledging that some students may need extra social, emotional, or educational support at school, and that the needs of students will change over time as they grow and learn.
Student misbehaviour is responded to consistently, in line with our school’s Student Wellbeing and Engagement Policy. When a student acts in breach of the behaviour standards of our school, teachers implement staged responses according to our Behaviour Ladder and our policy. Our teachers work to ensure that factors that may have contributed to the student’s behaviour are identified and addressed and follow up measures are applied fairly and consistently. Students will always be provided with an opportunity to be heard. Our school considers, explores, and implements positive and non-punitive interventions to support student behaviour before considering consequences for actions.
Some typical consequences that may be applied include:
Warning a student that their behaviour is inappropriate, as per our Behaviour Ladder.
Teacher controlled consequences such as moving a student in a classroom or other reasonable and proportionate responses to misbehaviour, such as withdrawal of privileges
Referral to Assistant Principal / Principal
Restorative practices / conversations – where students get the opportunity to be heard in a calm and respectful way.
Behaviour support and intervention meetings
Where appropriate, parents will be informed about the inappropriate behaviour and the consequences given by teachers and other school staff. Parents will not be informed of small incidences.
As professionals we make decisions about student learning, wellbeing, and behaviour daily. We appreciate your support in trusting our judgements and supporting our decisions. This trust and support will help strengthen the home, school partnership and therefore ensuring consistent messages and expectations for our students.
Ensure your children get ample sleep
Primary school children need 10-12 hours of sleep per day. Teachers often notice when children haven’t had enough sleep; they are usually restless, disengaged, yawning and find it difficult to engage in their learning and think logically in social situations. What helps enormously is establishing clear and consistent routines which may include no screen time one hour before bed, a ‘wind-down’ routine (which may include a bath/shower), being read a book and then quiet reading before lights out. Taking time to chat with your children before bed or encouraging them to reflect on what they’re grateful for is also a great way to help them decompress and get a restful night’s sleep.
We need to work together to ensure that the students can have a wonderful school experience.