16th March, 2020
As another school year begins, we hear from TEACHaR^ program worker Jo, who provides some helpful tips for our foster carers, and how they can ensure the transition into a new school year is seamless.
“Make sure there is as little stress as possible every morning. Helpful tips include having the uniform laid out, bag packed, and lunchbox filled with food you know your child will like. Some carers write a little note to the child and leave it their lunchbox which is beautiful. This provides reassurance that the foster carer is thinking about them”.
Get comfortable with school surroundings:
”If possible, let the child show you which classroom they will be in. Try the drink taps, make a meeting spot for the end of the day, and even have fun practicing to line up to go in to class. For primary age children, this will make the first day feel a bit more familiar.
For secondary age children, you would ensure that they know how to get their class, again, where to meet you, and if they need assistance on where to go”.
Make sure the foster child is familiar with their new teacher:
“Ideally, foster children will have met their new teacher and have seen the class they will be in. This is something we insist for the clients we are working with. We then have a photo of the teacher that the child puts somewhere – like the fridge – and it becomes a familiar face. If not, you can often find staff photos on their websites and you could have a look together.
If you haven’t met the teacher before, you can email them with some tips on what supports your foster child the best”.
“We have found foster children to be very aware of the emotional state of the adults around them. No matter how anxious we are feeling, we need to ensure that we appear calm and positive or else they may escalate to match your emotion”.
^Transforming Education Achievement for Children and Young People in Home Based and Residential Care