There are no words to describe what happened in Uvalde, Texas. Our 826 community is grieving and processing with the rest of our nation.
Schools and classrooms are a sacred place. They are places where students not only learn how to read and write but also learn how to think and communicate. They are places where educators come together to inspire and embolden the next generation of thought leaders. They are places of friendship, community, and growth.
Every student and educator has the right to go into schools and classrooms and feel safe. Every parent deserves to have their children come home after school. And that did not happen for many families in Uvalde, Texas.
This is an extremely difficult time for parents, caretakers, and educators, who are not only processing their own thoughts, but also supporting their children and students. Below, we’ve provided a few resources to help you hold space in your classrooms and homes.
The National Association of School Psychologists recommends the following tips when talking about school violence with students and children:
- Remind and reassure children that they are safe: Remember to listen and validate their feelings.
- Make time to talk: Not all children and students will want to talk about their feelings. Some may prefer to write, make art, or play music. Younger children may need more concrete activities like drawing or reading books to identify their feelings. Below, we have pulled some of our 826 Digital sparks and lesson plans to encourage children and students to share their thoughts in a creative way.
- Review safety procedures: Identify at least one adult in school and in the community that your children and students can go to when they feel unsafe.
- Observe children’s emotional state: Pay attention to any changes in behavior, appetite, or sleep pattern. Seek help from mental health professionals if you have any concerns.
- Limit media consumption: Children are incredibly perceptive and pick up a lot of information. By limiting television viewing, you can help monitor the news that they are receiving.
- Maintain a normal routine: Keeping a regular schedule and promoting physical health can be really reassuring to children and students. Encourage them to continue to participate in their hobbies and schoolwork, but be mindful of overwhelming them.
When talking to your children and students, remember to be mindful about your approach:
- Early elementary school need simple information and reassurances that their schools and homes are safe. Remind them how adults in schools keep them in safe, like emergency drills and playground monitoring.
- Upper elementary and early middle school will have a lot of questions about their own safety and what is being done. Talk about the work schools and community leaders are doing to keep schools safe.
- Upper middle school and high school students will have varying and strong opinions. You can talk about what they can do to maintain a safe school, like following school safety guidelines and communicating any safety concerns to educators and school administrators.
A lot of children and students may not want to talk about their feelings. A way to encourage them to process is through activities. Below, we’ve provided some 826 Digital exercises that can help you and your students get in touch with their emotions and express them in a healthy way:
- Last Times with Amanda Gorman(Grades 7-12): Students recall “last times” in their lives and revisit the depth of their experience through writing:
- Letters, Undelivered (Grades 6-12): This activity prompts students to write words unspoken in letters that are undelivered:
- Taboo Emotions with Tiphanie Yanique: (Grades 7-12): In this Spark, students will explore two taboo emotions, desire and fear, by mapping where these feelings dwell in their bodies and using tactile language to describe their impact: