What can teachers do to help children with anxiety post-Covid?

The past 12 months or so has brought a type of collective stress and anxiety that we hadn’t experienced in the western world for over a generation. With vaccine rollouts continuing apace across the world, it seems (fingers and toes crossed, touching wood and counting chickens, etc.) that we have finally reached a point in our battle against Covid-19 where we can breathe a sigh of relief and begin to resume something resembling a ‘normal’ life again. Phew!

However, as often happens with stressful life events (such as bereavements, house moves, accidents or injuries etc.) it is only when the immediate threat, panic or stress is over and we begin to relax, that the impact of what has happened hits us. And so now, as we look around and breathe a sigh of relief again, we realise that we may be facing another even greater challenge – dealing with the impact on our children’s mental health.

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The Power of Play: how free and unstructured play builds resilience in children to cope with adversity

The benefits of play to children’s physical, emotional and sensory development have long since been recognised and emphasised as part of the primary school curriculum.

Ines Lawlor presents the evidence* supporting the relationship between the deterioration in children’s mental health and the decline in unstructured play. She also highlights what teachers can do to create opportunities for play within the school environment or in collaboration with parents at home.

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