The Heart and the Bottle – Oliver Jeffers – Whole School Text
Loss has always been a sensitive issue but as we have mentioned the children and staff had suffered loss on such a great scale, due to the virus restrictions in the city. So understanding that the personal connections and links that could be made when reading this text were approached both cautiously and compassionately. However, loss of the universal scale had never been faced before and was important issue, so a safe, comfortable discussion about it is necessary and doable. From Nursery – Year 6 the children looked at this text in an age-appropriate way.
The children had age-appropriate activities to activate prior experiences and thoughts and feelings associated with living with the virus and the new norms. Looking at the text allowed us to tackle the question, how do we respond to the grief of so many children’s losses? After the sessions, we found the children could open up more and staff could share what was unhealthy and healthy in terms of coping mechanisms.
What was the impact?
“On my first day of school, I felt very nervous because I did not know what Year 4 would be like. The school has been keeping us safe by telling us to wash our hands 7 times a day. We eat in our classrooms and we do not mix with other bubbles. My favourite day at school so far has been Wednesdays, Mondays and Yellow Mellow day. Monday we go on a walk. Wednesday we do Science. Yellow Mellow day was fun because we made a soundtrack to ‘The Heart and The Bottle’” Aaminah, 4T
The impact of this and the implementation of ‘The Zones of Regulation’ displays in each classroom meant teaching staff could monitor each child on entry to school each day, which is ongoing and throughout the day, responding with support in a timely manner.