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Mar 23, 2020

Season 1, Episode 30 (23rd March 2020)

Simple wellbeing activities to do during Coronavirus school closures

Welcome to episode 30.  Wow, what a week! In the UK, we have had daily updates on drip-fed changes with about as much clarity as you would expect when attempting to scuba-dive in a muddy pond. All schools are now closed…except they’re not, because many schools are open, with staff looking after the most vulnerable children and the children of key workers. Teachers, school leaders and parents, not to mention the children themselves, are in a state of bewilderment and doing the best they can to adapt to the circumstances very quickly.  This week, for example, my colleague Elizabeth Wright and I will be delivering a series of virtual workshops to groups of children and staff in six schools to support their mental health and wellbeing at this difficult time. We have worked with the Academy Trust’s leadership team to adapt the sessions we were due to deliver in person to virtual sessions instead. 

Over the coming weeks and months, my main focus in this podcast will be on helping you weather this storm, supporting yours and your children’s wellbeing as we all deal with the global Coronavirus crisis, while also bringing you content to support your longer-term planning for teachers’ and children’s wellbeing once classroom teaching resumes. I am also putting together a virtual panel of education wellbeing professionals and teachers to share ideas for getting through this frightening time.  The panel will go out live - hopefully in the next few days and will then be aired as a special longer-length episode of this podcast.  Watch this space!

Today, though, I’d like to share two activity suggestions - a meditation activity and a gratitude activity:

  1. A simple meditation for younger children. If you are operating on skeleton staff in your school and you have young children there, this is a great way to calm them if they are agitated or worried.  And of course you can send this to parents, too, to do with their kids at home.  It’s called ‘Take Five’. You ask children to hold out one hand with their fingers splayed and with each breath, they trace each finger on one hand with one finger of the other, so as they breathe in slowly, they trace up their thumb and then trace down as they breathe back out, then up the index finger as they breathe in again and down as they breathe out again, then onto the middle finger, ring finger and little finger so they complete five slow breaths in and out.


  1. A simple gratitude activity. Make a poster thanking your delivery and postal workers for doing their job at this difficult time and keeping us all going, and display it outside your front door. Your children, whether at home or in school, can also do this.  I put two posters up outside my door last week - you can download the files below, though I’m hardly an artistic genius, so I’m sure you or your pupils can do something far prettier than I’ve created! - and yesterday something amazing happened.  The doorbell rang for a delivery.  The delivery driver, who has delivered to us on a number of occasions, stood a safe distance away from our door, having left the items in our porch.  He pointed at my posters and said “thank you so much for the note - can I take a photo and post it on my Instagram?” I said that of course he could, and he answered that out of all of his delivery customers, I was the only person who had thanked him.  I told him I was so sorry to hear that - if it wasn’t for delivery drivers, postal workers, supermarket workers and so many other people who have to risk their health and keep going to work, we would really struggle to keep going.  I was close to tears as I said this to him.  He thanked me again and he left.  We were both smiling.  Gratitude and kindness have a wonderful effect on the mood and wellbeing of both parties.  And they can have a powerful ripple effect, too! And let’s face it, we really need to be as kind to each other right now as we possibly can!  I’d love to see examples of your and your children’s posters, and hear stories of reactions to these!  Get in touch with me on Twitter at @FlourishingED.  

View and download poster for delivery drivers

View and download poster for postal workers

Do also get in touch if you’d like to contribute content to this podcast as a guest, particularly if you’d like to share one or more activities that can help children, parents or other teachers at this difficult time.

I look forward to catching up with you next week.  Until we speak again, be safe, be well and For Flourishing’s Sake, have as great a week as it’s currently possible to have!