“Kids think and talk about the pandemic all of the time, so it’s important they get accurate information based in science,” says Barnes. “When they research [the pandemic] on their own and perform experiments, they have deeper levels of understanding and ownership over topics that otherwise just seem scary and unpleasant.”
Though educators may be worried about inundating students with doom and gloom, weaving real-world context into lessons, especially during challenging times, can make students feel that their learning has more purpose and relevance. Additionally, having children explore their fears and unanswered questions can help them cope with feelings of uncertainty and instability, common during the pandemic, say psychologists. Just be careful not to dismiss or minimize their concerns outright, and give students the opportunity to opt out or choose other activities if learning about the pandemic is too much to bear.
“It’s not helpful to remove all mention of current events from the classroom, and... it’s also not helpful to spend all day, every day, engaging in heavy conversations,” writes Alex Shevrin Venet, a trauma-informed expert. “The key here is balance.”
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