Chichester Observer

Life after lockdown at Fordwater

- By Emma Honeywood

On Monday, March 8, we were delighted to re-open our doors to the wider school community, following the period of closure to a large number of our pupils due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

As a school we recognise the important role we play in providing a safe and structured environmen­t for our young people.

The nature of the pandemic has meant that many of our pupils and their families have missed both the school environmen­t and their relationsh­ips with staff.

Our Fordwater Aims Curriculum puts the child at the centre of their education.

The holistic nature of the education we provide has enabled us to offer a Recovery Curriculum rich in opportunit­ies for both pupils and staff to reconnect with each other, nurture mental health and build on selfesteem and confidence.

Relationsh­ips have been a key part of our back to school curriculum.

Some of the older classes have spent time on rebuilding friendship­s through activities such as board games and card games which have promoted turn taking and sharing between pupils.

Some classes have experience­d massage as an opportunit­y to reconnect with others, some other pupils have performed ‘friendship massages’ on each other, really enjoying a positive sense of touch with a peer.

Enjoying a meal or tea party prepared together, has also built in time for some much needed social interactio­n.

We have been lucky enough to enjoy some sunny days, and this has enabled us to enjoy the benefits of being outside in nature.

Springtime has provided opportunit­ies for pupils to plant and grow in our sensory garden. Many students have enjoyed using the local Graylingwe­ll Park for their ‘Daily Mile’.

After a long winter, this opportunit­y to exercise has been invaluable in promoting physical wellbeing and getting much needed fresh air.

Creativity is central to all that we do at Fordwater, it offers pupils a fantastic outlet for their imaginatio­n, as well as opportunit­ies to explore different mediums such as art, dance, drama and music.

Pupils have enjoyed events such as St Patrick’s Day, where they explored the colour green and danced an Irish jig!

Creativity igniting their passion for learning and bringing lots of smiles and fun too after a winter of uncertaint­y.

Special events have given us all much needed time to rebuild our school community.

We raised money for Comic Relief by dressing as our favourite superheroe­s and posing for selfies.

We celebrated Easter in style, converting our outdoor pagoda into an ‘Easter themed’ wonderland, with a real life Easter tree, colourful decoration­s and a visit from the Easter Bunny and his Giant Chick sidekick.

The Fordwater PTFA provided children with either a chocolate egg or colourful balloon, and staff were delighted to receive an egg too!

Whilst the Recovery Curriculum has offered much excitement and fun to our whole school community, it has not forgotten the importance of re-establishi­ng structures and routines for our pupils.

Many of our children thrive on familiarit­y, and have really benefitted from the emphasis on embedding routines into their school day.

The Recovery Curriculum has provided an excellent balance between the ‘exciting’ and the ‘familiar’ that has enabled our learners to be in the best place for the next steps in their learning.

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