Top tips for preparing children for their return to school

22 June 2020

Back to school

For many children this has been a very strange and scary time.  They may have family members who are sick or high risk, and they may be worried about passing the virus on after their return to school.

Some children will be quite happy to return to school, while others are feeling more anxious or even scared.

We can support children by providing a photo booklet, to help to explain the changes at school. We can also reassure them that we will do our best keep them safe. 

You might like to speak with school and ask for photographs of the changes the children will be facing in their school day.  Some schools may have already put together a booklet or video explainers.

Here are some ideas to help prepare children for their return to school:

Ideas for making a photo booklet:

  1. Photographs of the classroom, how it has changed including the desk layout
  2. The teacher and other adults the children will meet in class
  3. Washing areas and any changes to routines, e.g. washing hands when entering school
  4. Playgrounds and any changes to play areas
  5. Dining areas
  6. Changes to play areas

‘Talking Time’: Offer the children time to express their worries about going back to school. Reassure them that they can talk to an adult about their feelings

For children who communicate non-verbally: offer some photographs or graphics to help them to communicate their feelings during the school day.  There are 3 useful versions of this ‘going back to school’ story with icons to help children with additional needs adjust to going back to school.  Read them here.

Most importantly make the return to school fun! Focus on the positive and reassure the children that it is safe to go to school and that they will enjoy seeing their friends again