Brown Bear Class Autumn 2020

September 2020


Dear parents and carers,


Welcome back to school, and a big warm welcome to Brown Bear Class!


It is wonderful to have your children back in school and we are all looking forward to a term full of joy, interaction and learning.  Brown Bear children are constantly showing their delight at being back in school.  It is astonishing to see how well they are responding to their new routines and people around them, but especially their eagerness to resume their friendships and make new friends.


After a long lockdown, this term we are putting the mental health and wellbeing of our children at the heart of our planning, routines and interactions.  We understand that for some students coming back to school can be very challenging.  At Vale School we are following the ‘Recovery Curriculum’ created by Prof. Barry Carpenter.  All our children have experienced a number of losses due to Covid-19.  Suddenly the life they knew had changed, and with it, they lost structure, routine, freedom and opportunities to build and expand friendships.  These can trigger high levels of anxiety and can significantly impact on their ability to learn and socialise.  We also understand that you, families and carers, can experience levels of anxiety as your children come to school.  For this reason, we believe that the 5 levers of the Recovery Curriculum will help you and your child to feel happy, engaged and safe in school.  Please see below a description for one an each of the 5 levers of the Recovery Curriculum:


-     Lever 1: Relationships

We understand that friendships with peers and relationships with teachers pre lockdown may have changed and will need to be restored.  Our activities and lessons are deeply focused on re-establishing healthy and meaningful relationships, both with peers and teachers.


-     Lever 2: Community

Supporting you and your child to transition from home-learning to school-learning is essential.  We want to listen to how your child has been doing during this long period to help and support them during this transition.


-     Lever 3, Transparent Curriculum

Our children may think that they have lost valuable learning time in school and we want them to know that we understand and value their worries.  We will help them to boost their self-esteem and become confident learners.


-     Lever 4, Metacognition

We want you and your child to know that we understand that they may have developed different learning styles at home, and this is okay.  We are considering this in our planning.


-     Lever 5, Space - to be, to rediscover self, and to find their voice on learning in this issue:

We don’t want our students to be or feel in a disadvantage.  We are making sure that we are providing opportunities to explore, grow and learn alongside our academic expectations at the right pace for one and each of them.


Our topic for this Autumn is ‘This is ME’.  This is a great topic to start the new academic year and gives us lots of opportunities and inspiration to explore all about ourselves, for example, learning our names, body parts and our feelings and emotions, and most importantly, how can we cope with unwelcome feelings.  We will also learn about our families, homes and how to look after ourselves and others.  This is a very exciting topic and links very well with our Recovery Curriculum approach.  We will be doing lots of fun activities, such as making a family tree, building a house, sharing stories about our favourite toys and much more!


Alongside this theme, we will continue to work on our listening and speaking skills, turn-taking and choosing skills via nursery rhymes, educational games (e.g. ‘What’s in the box?’), expressive arts, story time and focused activities.  To develop language and communication skills we will continue to learn how to navigate through our PODD books/high-tech devices, Grid3 and Makaton signing.  During floor time our students will have opportunities to interact with others independently and it will support physical development.  These activities will give our students’ a chance to initiate and take part in conversations, both with adults and peers.  In addition, we will continue to enjoy other lessons with specialist teachers, such as Music with Laura, Special Yoga with Nora and PE sessions with Spurs.  To ensure that we meet the needs of all our students effectively we will continue to work closely with our speech and language therapists, occupational therapist and physiotherapists.


We want to thank you for your support during the lockdown and coming back to school.  We understand that this is not easy, and we want to reassure you that we are here to support you and your child.  We are planning the school day to enable personal, social and emotional development to occur through activities and lessons linked to the Recovery Curriculum.


Please email us to let us know how your child is doing during the weekends or any news you would like to share with us – we are always happy to hear their adventures so we can share it with the rest of the class during circle time. 


With warm wishes,

Cristina, Ayse, Deloris, Michelle and Tammie.