It was with joy and excitement that we welcomed back the rest of the students this week from home learning. Schools are not designed to be empty but to be filled with learning, laughter and play. It has been an unsettling time and the return to familiarity and routine is welcome. However, this process has its own inherent challenges and adjustments.
We are focusing this week not on powering forward with students under the assumption that they are all at the same learning and comfort level with being back at school. Some students have been at home for many weeks, learning new routines which they may well prefer over normal school life. Others have been at school with a smaller group of students and formed new bonds with students previously unknown. We know that school is not the same as it was two months ago.
Michelle Mitchell, a prominent speaker on wellbeing has written an excellent blog post on ‘resetting friendships’, addressing the issues of returning to school and what this will mean for many students. She reiterates the truth that we are not returning to school as we left it. Friendships will be different, routines have been learned and unlearned, schoolwork has been done in different ways. All of these things have positive aspects but can also promote anxiety and protective behaviours in children. This season will be difficult for some students, but her advice is that children are open-hearted and looking out for those who need including. To be the friend that they would desire in others.
The great strength of the student body at Mueller is their inclusiveness and genuine heart for one another. There will be work and friendships to catch up on, but we want to be patient and forgiving through the return to ‘normal’ life and some sort of familiar rhythm. As always, our God is faithful and reminds us in Isaiah 41:10; “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.”
I hope the first week has been a positive experience for your family and we are praying for a strong sense of belonging for all members of the Mueller community as we return to normal.