A lot of planning by the Saudi government and schools across the Kingdom is ensuring a safe return to in-person classes, as several schools reopen after months of closure due to COVID-19.
The pandemic has affected everyone: Some students or staff may have been ill or lost friends or relatives, while others may have become anxious about returning to school.
SEK-Riyadh is the first school in Saudi Arabia to open as part of the International School’s Attraction Program of the Royal Commission of Riyadh City. “We believe that the emotional well-being of students and staff is the true measure of a healthy school and is essential to developing effective teaching and learning — it is also key to nurturing positive relationships, and encouraging perseverance and resilience in our community,” the school said in a statement.
School counselor Julie Alonso explained how SEK-Riyadh is supporting students and staff. “At SEK-Riyadh, we use a holistic approach to student and staff well-being. An awareness of well-being and social and emotional learning is woven into the fabric of the curriculum. Mindfulness sessions and wellness workshops with small groups are part of our strategy, as is attention to the individual needs of the students and staff,” she said.
“Our formal and informal networks enable the teachers to support our students. Time is dedicated to team building and group reflections for students. Daily check-ins give students the opportunity to express how they are feeling, while also encouraging students to support each other. Our aim is to foster a culture of empathy and compassion.”
Here are some tips for parents to help children as they return to school:
Talk to your child:
Some younger children may feel anxious about returning to school. Reassure your child that teachers will make sure everyone is safe and healthy at school.
Mind your own emotions:
Be optimistic and positive about returning to school. Children need to understand that their parents are confident about the school being safe.
Communicate with your child’s teachers:
Talk to your child’s teachers regularly. When parents and teachers communicate effectively, students feel better supported and more confident.