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Wellbeing of students

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The wellbeing of students is the department’s first and foremost priority. When emergencies happen everyone in our community can be affected and children and young people need support from parents, carers and other family members.

While students are learning at home, it is important that they take part in activities that support their wellbeing and help to take their mind off the Coronavirus crisis. To assist parents to include wellbeing activities as part of the learning at home school day, the department has developed a booklet of Wellbeing activities for learning at home. Supporting wellbeing through structured activities will help children and young people to feel happier and less anxious, learn better and have positive interactions with others.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, it is also important that students are provided with accurate information about what is happening and how they can help to keep themselves and their family safe.

Children and young people may need help to understand what is going on in a way that is appropriate for their age and development. To assist parents and carers to talk to their children about Coronavirus and support their wellbeing, the department has developed: COVID-19 advice for parents and carers.

Younger students can read the Feeling happy and safe fact sheet to find out how to stay safe and well and who to ask for help if they need it. 

Younger Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students can read the Feeling happy and safe fact sheet—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander version.

Older students can find tips, useful websites and services to support them to stay safe and well in the Student wellbeing and safety fact sheet.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, some students may be caring for loved ones at home. The Young carer student fact sheet (PDF, 300KB) provides information to help students who are caring for others access the support they need to keep them and their family safe during the pandemic.

Supporting your child

You can support your child by:

  • monitoring reactions and listen to how they feel and what they are thinking
  • be aware of what you say when children and young people are around and let them know they can ask you questions anytime. Make feelings normal by letting your children know it is okay to have feelings such as sadness, anger, frustration, worry, fear or anxiety
  • share that you are also feeling this way, without overloading them with adult responsibilities. Encourage them to talk with you about how they are feeling, let them know there’s no wrong way to feel or think, and that all feelings are valid
  • providing correct information
  • be honest and stick to the facts, without providing too much detail. Limit the amount of media coverage children see, hear and read. Explain news to them and discuss what has been seen, read and heard
    • if your children are feeling upset or anxious about stories they are seeing or hearing, make sure they take some time off to think about something else. Switching devices off for a few hours may help.
  • providing a sense of stability for your children, may help them feel more comfortable during times of uncertainty. If schools are temporarily closed or school attendance is interrupted, think about the importance of:
    • sleep: getting enough sleep and rest can help us all feel better during the day. Set regular times for going to bed and getting up in the morning. Keep normal bedtime routines for younger children and expect the same from your older primary and high school-aged children too
    • food and drink: make sure your children are eating regularly throughout the day and drinking plenty of water
    • moving: being physically active can lift your mood, be relaxing and provide an opportunity for fun
    • relaxation and fun: is there something your children enjoy doing that will help them relax? Everyone needs a little time out to just think about something nice, whether that is playing games, singing or communicating with friends. Set rules and limitations around social media usage and other online interactions.
  • providing reassurance:
    • focus on the good. When times are difficult, it can help to take notice of the good things still in your life. Encourage your children to take some time to think about the positives—kind people, good friends, beautiful moments—however small. Point out the people working to fix the situation.

Further information about looking after mental health and wellbeing (PDF, 250KB) can be found on the department’ website.

Queensland health

Beyond Blue

Maintaining healthy routines

It is important to check about how your children feel about learning away from their classroom. Daily conversations allow you to talk about your children’s learning and the support that they may need to adjust to learning at home.

Your children may require additional structure or guidance with their learning. Depending on their ages, they may require a structured routine to continue their learning.

You can help your children continue their learning away from their classroom by asking questions such as:

  • What are you learning today?
  • How will you plan your day? Do you need support to create a timetable?
  • What materials do you need today?
  • How can I help you today?
  • What was one thing that was difficult today? What could you do if this difficulty comes up again? What strategies could we put in place?
  • What went well today? Why? How can you make sure these successes happen again?
  • How are you feeling? Do you need help planning tomorrow to make sure it is successful? Is there anything you need to check-in with your teachers about?

You may need to adapt these questions, depending on the age of your child and their level of independence. It is important to keep communication lines open with your child to ensure their learning is continuing and that they are coping with the alternate learning environment. If your child requires academic support, please contact their teacher or school.

Supporting the wellbeing and mental health of students and young people is crucial during the Coronavirus pandemic. It is important that activities that promote your child’s wellbeing are included as part of the daily routine while learning at home. To assist parents and carers, the department has developed a booklet of Wellbeing Activities for Learning at Home (PDF, 7.2MB), which includes a suggested weekly schedule of activities. Including structured wellbeing activities into your child’s routine will help them feel better and improve their learning.

If there are signs that your child’s wellbeing or mental health are at risk, support is available through your school as well as a number of Queensland Government agencies and community organisations. Further information about how to access the support your family needs is available in the department’s fact sheet COVID-19 advice for parents and carers to access support (PDF, 183KB). Parents and carers can also:

  • call 13Health (13 43 25 84) at any time for practical medical advice and assistance
  • review headspace’s tips for a healthy headspace for friends and family, or contact headspace for professional support
  • contact Lifeline Australia’s telephone counselling service on 13 11 14 for information, referral and advice
  • obtain help and information from the local General Practitioner or Community Health Centre.

Setting up a learning space

To support your children to continue their learning away from their classroom, establish routines and expectations and ensure they have access to equipment and stationery required for learning at home. This includes pens, paper, devices (including internet access), printers, etc.

While it is possible that reduced school days may apply, you can support your children’s learning by setting up or following a timetable to give structure to their day.

  • School-provided timetable: This will include lesson times, and breaks.
  • Home-developed timetable: This can be similar to the hours and times of your children’s typical school day. High school students can follow their school timetable. Primary school aged children may benefit from working in roughly one hour long blocks of time, so that they can concentrate and complete tasks.
  • Many virtual and remote learning resources, including livestreamed lessons, can be accessed by students at their own pace, because livestreamed sessions are recorded. Schools may offer interactive virtual classrooms during normal school hours.

Create a quiet and comfortable learning space. A space for extended learning should be a family space, rather than a bedroom. Your children may have a regular place for doing homework under normal circumstances, but this space may not be suitable for working in for an extended period of time. It should be a place that can be quiet at times and if possible have internet access.

Accessing digital devices and the internet

Most Queensland state school students already have experience in working online, although the virtual classroom environment will be new for some. Many schools have been working with teachers and students to help build the skills needed to work in an online learning space. This will mean children will know how to use the online learning platform they will need to access should schools close or traditional learning is disrupted.

The department wants students to be safe when working online. Parents and caregivers can access resources which support students to use technology appropriately and responsibly and behave in ways that keep them safe online is available in Cybersafety in Queensland state schools.

Communicating with teachers

Teachers may communicate with your children using video chat applications such as iConnect. They may also be emailing or communicating within a learning management system or a virtual classroom. Schools will work with their students to ensure they are able to access and use these digital resources.

It is important to remember that teachers will be communicating with many families and that you may need to remind your children to be patient when waiting for support or feedback.

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Last updated 12 June 2020