Hello again everyone.
This week I have been thinking about snowflakes.
There have been a few drifting and floating from the sky recently and it still makes my heart leap when you wake up of a morning and pull back the curtains and it is strangely silent outside; there is a blanket of soft snow on the ground and the sky is full of these little white miracles of nature.
Did you know that snowflakes are not frozen raindrops, they are actually a cluster of hundreds of ice crystals that fall from a cloud? Frozen raindrops are actually called sleet. Snowflakes have a six-sided structure because ice does. When water freezes into individual ice crystals, its molecules stack together to form a hexagonal shape. As the ice crystal grows, water can freeze onto its six corners multiple times, causing the snowflake to develop a unique, yet still six-sided shape. Therefore, no two snowflakes are ever the same! When you actually look closely at a snowflake it often appears broken, fragmented, or as a clump of many snow crystals—this results from them colliding with or sticking to neighboring crystals during their long journey to the ground.
That got me thinking. We are all a bit like a snowflake. We all have the same features and yet none of us is identical (new scientific research has found that even identical twins have certain genetic differences). We are all unique. We are all special. Moreover, despite the knocks and the bumps we may experience in our own life journey we can still marvel at the fact that we are all equally different and that we need to stick together and support one another.
Additional Amazing Snowflake Fact!
Have you ever gone outside during a fresh snowfall and noticed how silent and still the air is? Snowflakes are responsible for this. As they accumulate on the ground, air becomes trapped between the individual snow crystals, which reduces vibration. It is thought that snow cover of less than 1 inch (25 mm) is enough to dampen the acoustics across a whole landscape. As snow ages, however, it becomes hardened and compacted and loses its ability to absorb sounds. Wow, I didn’t know that!
Design your own snowflake!
As you will have seen, this week is ‘Children’s Mental Health Week’. The pandemic, and the measures to control it, have brought many changes for our children, especially to those areas which we know to be important for their emotional health and wellbeing. With many changes likely to continue for some time, it is important that our children are encouraged to find new ways to look after themselves.
Expressing yourself can involve creative ways to share feelings, thoughts or ideas. This may be through painting, drawing, dancing, reading, sport, music, role-play or maybe just having a chat with a close family member or trusted friend.
The most important thing is finding out what works for you, in that moment, so you can feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings.
Childhood represents a particularly important time for emotional development and wellbeing and so the importance of us, as educators and parents, to help guide and support them on this journey, is crucial.
For all our children, it is important that we help them find ways to positively express how they are feeling and know where and when to seek support if they need it, and that is what this week has been all about! The children have created brilliant rainbow models and collaborative obstacle courses, storyboards and also children have shared their own incredible individual school designs on our website too!
As a school we embrace the ‘Thrive Approach’. I thought I would share some useful information based on the brain science (neuroscience) and some age-related strategies and approaches you could choose to use to enable and enhance healthy adult/child relationships during this challenging period of time.
EYFS/KS1 children aged 4-7
This is the stage and age where children are developing a sense of individual identity. They are learning to gain a sense of responsibility for their own behaviour choices and they are distinguishing between fantasy and reality. It is a time where children gain a true sense of self and it is a time when they explore, question things and appear to challenge.
Adult(s) role – handy hints
Celebrate the individuality of your children. Help them to learn responsibility for behaviours, whilst supporting children to find out who they are and what they like to do. With this will come a growing independence and responsibility, with children learning that they can still ask for help and care from us when they need it.
KS2 children aged 7-11
This is the stage where children become increasingly interested in the world outside of the school-gates, developing a range of skills that reflect their personal interests and where they challenge themselves to improve them. They understand the need for rules and these values will be explored and challenged. These children enjoy diversity, difference and learning new skills.
Adult(s) role – handy hints
Celebrate children’s emerging values and morals and individual ways of doing things. Teach the children the significance of rules and values and help them develop their own negotiation skills through loving discussion and debate. With this, children will enjoy sharing their opinions and displaying their newfound skills.
Take care everyone, see below some examples of children expressing themselves creatively this week.
This week we also remember and say a fond farewell to Sir Captain Tom Moore, who inspired us all last summer with his fortitude and passion for life.
“Each of us should give what we have decided in our hearts to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”