I came across a lovely idea on social media last week and just had to share. In my training with schools I talk around the importance of giving children (and where possible, parents/carers) a heads-up when new staff are due in.
A student teacher started her placement recently in my daughter's class (Year 6) and she got thrown by this because she didn't get a heads-up - she came home and told me there was someone new but she didn't seem to know much about the situation and I wasn't really able to help as I'd not been given information either.
For children with insecure attachment, a change in adults in the room can be a big deal - through insecure attachment lenses adults are not automatically to be trusted, so thinking about introductions and establishing rapport will be important in order to reduce anxiety for those children and begin to build trust.
Miss Kirk - a PGCE student at the University of Hull - and her student colleague handed out these colourful slips to children in her new primary school placement class to pass on to their parents/carers when they got home. I thought this was a great, simple idea -it ticks the boxes for giving a new student teacher the chance to introduce themselves and deliberately connect with each child as they give out the slip (they might ask each child their name as they hand them the slip, or an interesting fact about themselves), also the child effectively has a meaningful transition item between home and school which can open up a discussion at home about new staff, what they are like, how the child is feeling etc., and of course the parents feel informed.
In an ideal world, I recommend class teachers let both children and their parents/carers know in advance about new, incoming staff where possible - I see the slip as a nice idea which builds on that prior heads-up, and helps with familiarisation and open lines of communication once the student teacher has arrived. It could easily be adapted to suit the age of the pupils.
What do you think?
Download an editable powerpoint template here (thanks to Ellie Kirk for permission to share)...
Do go follow @miss_kirk21 if you have an Instagram account :)
For lots of practical ideas to support children with emotional regulation throughout the day and becoming a trauma-informed education setting, see resources and information about my training services.