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UKRAINE WAR: Bushey school provides emotional support to pupils worried about the conflict 

 Published on: 30th March 2022   |   By: News Bulletin   |   Category: Uncategorized

Young children at a local independent day and boarding school in Bushey, are benefiting from specialist emotional support designed to help them cope with any worries or anxieties around the conflict in Ukraine and its impact on the rest of the world.

Head teacher at St Margaret’s Junior School, Emma Gray, says the narrative amongst younger children has now shifted from uncertainties driven by Covid, to fears around explosions and fighting as young children grapple to understand the definition of war in their world today.

Emma Gray said: “There is deep concern and unsettlement amongst young children right now, so it is important to be open from the outset. With news alerts hitting our phones every waking hour, often without filters or permissions, our young children have gone from hearing about daily Covid death rates, to death and destruction inflicted by this recent war.

“St Margaret’s has created a safe space for its children to talk about family members that might live in Ukraine or Russia, as well as anxieties around the conflict in general. Checking in with families and children in relation to the conflict is a daily operation and the school is also providing age-appropriate support for its children via its pastoral systems, such as through specialist welfare officers and wellbeing assistants, councillors and play therapists.”

Mrs Gray added, “As tragic as this situation is, we have to talk to our children about it, and in a way that doesn’t overly frighten or disturb them. Children need to feel safe above all. To support children in school, we first identified those children that had either heritage, direct relationships or connections with either of the countries involved in the current crisis, and we also reflected on the curriculum itself and made changes with our children’s mental health in mind.”

The school’s Year 6 children were poised to study a vivid text about World War II recently. Due to the climate, the school decided to edit the curriculum and change the focus of this to prevent consuming children with what is currently a worrying topic for them.

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