Thanks to the many teachers and parents who did a tremendous act of kindness in organising the distribution of schoolbooks today. Thanks also to the people who emailed explaining their definite wish not to participate and their heightened awareness of the seriousness of the health crisis. Social distancing and increased hygiene are essential to keep us safe and well. As a community, we are responding differently to the crisis. Everyone’s response is valid. This is a learning curve for us all. Thinking positive and keeping well strengthens our immune system, a valuable asset these days.

Anyone who was in the school today noticed how different it feels without the children and staff. Empty. Echo-y. No matter what plans we put in place, we cannot replace the connection, the daily beautiful interactions between children and teachers and SNAs. The delightful (and sometimes frightful!) interactions between children and classmates are on hold. Schoolbooks at home will not replicate it. Face-to-face contact with our usual network of family and friends is a huge void in our lives right now. Acknowledging that and giving ourselves time to adjust will help us long term. As Keith, one of the speakers at the Positive Mental Health event stated:

“We need to look after our own mental health. We need to model good mental health.” Children learn what they see at home– e.g. Exercise– -Diet– -Conduct– -Substance– -Positive emotional behaviours–. So what do they learn to deal with at home? –Emotions –-Set-backs -–Loss –-Anxiety. By being kind to ourselves we can be there for our children. We can be the One Good Adult in a child’s life: https://www.jigsaw.ie/gavan/campaigns/one-good-adult

At DSPNS, we are on Day 4 of school closure – we had a long weekend 16&17th March. We have achieved a lot in 4 days (though it may feel like weeks). People in our community are pulling together, helping the most vulnerable. 19 teachers made themselves available for our first Zoom meeting yesterday. Teachers are meeting virtually in their teams today and next week. We want to continue the collaborative practices that make our school – in the words of a recent temporary staff member – “the most welcoming and encouraging place.” We look forward to updating you.

And for anyone in the older classes, the Learning Activities list is a deep treasure trove of a learning list. One link alone has days and weeks of learning possibilities: https://www.scoilnet.ie/scoilnet-services/world-book/ It takes a lot of time familiarise oneself with resources. (That’s why we love our teachers!) Also, the feature picture is a poster for a writing competition: http://rte.ie/welovebooks. Get writing!

Keep well and happy over the weekend.

P.S. What little act of kindness did you do for yourself today? What little act of calm will you do for yourself?