The transition to remote learning has come with a number of challenges that the Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) has worked hard to overcome. From developing protocols for the safe delivery of food hampers and personal items to troubleshooting technology, LRSD staff members are finding innovative ways to help learners on this new journey.
As a Social Work Clinician, Kimberly Mackey provides support, counselling, resources and workshops to students, staff and families throughout the division. Although her role remains the same, Mackey has had to find new ways to stay connected.
“Belonging and connection is a basic need for all of us,” said Mackey. “While parents are doing everything they can for their children at home, kids naturally miss their friends, teachers, educational assistants and other school staff. Fortunately, technology is allowing us to maintain our sense of belonging with our students, their families and our colleagues.”
Mackey does regular check-ins through Microsoft Teams, phone calls and emails. During a conversation with one family, she discovered their elementary school student was having a difficult time with the transition to learning from home and was feeling afraid that those close to her were going to become sick.
After brainstorming some ideas with the student’s guardian, Mackey put together a “Feel Better” box filled with worksheets, a few of her favourite items and a Family Activity Coping Booklet to help the student to talk about her feelings and process difficult emotions.
“The student learned about the Zones of Regulation at her school, so I included one of those worksheets and connected the activities and ‘Feel Better’ items to the zones. I delivered the box safely to the family’s doorstep and we shared a wave and smile through the window.”
A few days later, Mackey learned that the student is already using new strategies to manage those moments of distress. Her family is learning along with her and was grateful for the support.
“The Feel Better box was delivered to help a young girl cope with all these changes and to know that her school still cares about her. If we had been meeting in person at school, we would have developed these same strategies together, so by delivering the items we are still able to support her social-emotional development.”
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