Return to school poses new challenges
Students weren’t on vacation — they went through a disaster.
Maritere Garcia has spent a lot of time thinking about the day her kindergarteners return to Wiregrass Elementary School in Wesley Chapel.
She knows the youngsters have experienced potentially traumatic times during and after Hurricane Irma. She saw photos of some sleeping in closets, knows that they might not have power at home, or worse.
“I can’t wait to be back to normal,” Garcia said.
That normalcy might not arrive on the first day students across the Tampa Bay area head back to school on Monday after an anxiety-fueled week away.
So Garcia has prepared some ideas to let the children express themselves about the storm, without generating more worries.
She will ask them to draw pictures and write stories about what they saw and learned during Irma, not so much about destruction and catastrophe, but about their observations and their ideas how to aid others who suffered more severely.
“All positive,” Garcia said. “I’ll be ready to talk about ways we can help and focus on the good things.”
Dealing with major natural disasters can undermine children’s sense of security. The
Principal Steve Williams takes a selfie with the staff of Wiregrass Elementary on Friday as they prepared to reopen.