Letter from the Head of School on our preparedness for online learning and how to speak to your child about Coronavirus
Greetings from MVS!
It’s been a surreal experience to see and hear the daily briefings by the Governor of Ohio on information or restrictions being announced in our State on a daily basis about this public health emergency. Like schools all over the country and world, the MVS faculty and leadership team has created a plan and approach on how to best welcome our students to the world of online learning. By reaching out to educational resources and other schools, we have programs to engage the students in new and exciting ways.
I watched in wonder and awe as our faculty trained diligently for your children’s arrival online on March 30th for our MVS “Learning from Home” virtual program.
This learning will include academic instruction in our small classes that is both synchronous and asynchronous and age-appropriate. We are building in time for things like morning meetings, advisory, extra help, co-curriculars and other means of maintaining strong relationships with teachers and other students – a hallmark of the MVS education. Seeing the entire faculty explore new ideas and engage each other in collaborative learning has reminded me of just how creative we can all be when faced with the most challenging circumstances. Please be assured that the learning will move forward!
We also know that this time can bring about uncomfortable and unsettling feelings for all of us. As adults, it’s difficult to manage those feelings, and as a child, it’s even more difficult. We know that you have been supporting your child’s emotional well-being during this challenging time, so we wanted to reach out with a few suggestions to support our children.
Below you will find advice from our school counselors, Christie Kemper and Kara Peterson. I hope you find these resources helpful as you support your children in a new era of online learning and social distancing. All of us at The Miami Valley School are here as a resource for you and look forward to supporting our internal and external community in new and meaningful ways.
Elizabeth F. Cleary
Head of School
From our school counselors
Children will naturally look to trusted adults in their lives as their guides, and will follow the verbal and non-verbal reactions they observe. As we discuss this crisis with children and young adults, remaining calm and reassuring when communicating with your child will be important as you navigate uncomfortable emotions and the “unknowns” that each day brings. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you open the door for a conversation about Coronavirus:
- Stay available to listen and discuss concerns, fears, questions, and disappointments. Allow yourself to share, without oversharing, in the disappointment and discomfort, too.
- Being honest and accurate is a safe approach, so children avoid the need to “write their own story” about what’s happening in the world.
- Create a routine: times of uncertainty can heighten stress or anxiety. Establishing a routine or semblance of predictability will help children cope with potential stressors.
- Be aware of your child’s exposure to news and/or social media as a way to not only monitor screen time but filter the information so children can receive it in a manageable way.
Here is some developmentally appropriate language you can say if you get “stuck”:
Early Childhood/Lower School Age
- Validation of feelings: “I hear that you are scared”, “This is very disappointing”, “You’re not the only one feeling this way right now”, etc.
- “Adults are working hard to keep you safe”
- “Right now our job is to stay healthy”
- “I’m not sure how to answer that, but I do know we are together and safe, which is what matters the most.”
Middle/Upper School Age
- Validation of feelings: “I hear that you are scared and worried”, “This is very disappointing”, “You’re not the only one feeling this way right now”, etc.
- “How are you feeling about this?”
- “How can I support you?”
- “I’m not sure how to answer that, but let’s look it up together.”
As we start the Learning from Home Program on March 30th, Ms. Peterson and I will be available via phone, email, and Google Chat for messaging or video meetings with students, as well as parents. Please know that our virtual door is open to you, and we will send more information periodically as a way to remotely support your child’s social and emotional well-being.
In the meantime, please also explore these resources:
New York Times Parenting
How to Talk to Kids about Coronavirus
How to talk to your Anxious Child about the Coronavirus
Christie Kemper & Kara Peterson
MVS School Counselors