SEMH Newsletter – April 2020 – Know Me to Teach Me (Louise Bomber)

It has been an unusual month and one that has seen us adapt to a new way of working. Along with the challenges, we have seen so much that is positive that it is difficult to imagine that we will go back to simply working the way we did before.

I have heard many people say that they are more connected to their own family than they have been for years. I have found that to be the case. I am calling them more by FaceTime and dropping off shopping regularly. It has taken this crisis to show me how hectic my life had become and how little time I was spending on those things that are important.

The same is true of our families at the centre. Our children mostly attend school via local authority transport and our contact with parents has been mostly by telephone. Over the past month, we have engaged with our families much more, been out to drop things off and chatted with parents via video conferencing in a way that we have never done before. Our relationships have never been stronger and we are not going to give that up.

It has been a steep learning curve and this meant that I missed last month’s newsletter. Apologies, we are back on it this month and have collected together some of things that have piqued our interest and made us either read or watch until the end. We hope you find them useful.

Post of the Month – Know me to Teach Me (Louise Bomber)

Our therapeutic approach at the Forwards Centre leans heavily on Louise Bomber’s ‘Settling to Learn’. It is a gem of a book full of nuggets of usefulness. Louise’s new book, ‘Know me to teach Me’ is available to pre-order on Amazon from today. You can find out more at the Touchbase website here. The idea of differentiated discipline shouldn’t be a hard one to sell but most of us working in SEMH and AP know that it can be. We need champions like Louise.

You can also see Louise’s ‘sofa time’ each week where she provides support to ‘those parenting as foster carers, adoptive parents or kinship carers during this extraordinary season.’

Post 2 – Why board games help us develop new friendships – Dark Imp

I thoroughly enjoyed this post from Ellie Dix on the Dark Imp  game website. The rules of a game helps us navigate a complex social world and allows children to join in and feel safe within a structure. I would speculate it is one the reasons pub quizzes are so popular. They lend structure to what may otherwise be the scary prospect of having to navigate the conventions of an open ended social gathering. My zoom calls with family and friends  usually have the structure of a quiz or similar built into them. We can chat for hours but within a structure. It helps. 

We have been meeting groups of children via video conferencing (within very strict safeguarding guidelines) and the social conventions of such a new format are difficult at the best of times and must be daunting for many. A game used to structure the calls can really help the quality of the interaction. You can read Ellie’s post here or by clicking on the image. 

Post 3 – Finding love in a local place – The case for compassionate public services by Becca Dove and Tim Fisher (Camden Council)

This piece was written well before the current situation developed and is all the more interesting for it. The authors are not afraid to use the word ‘love’ when describing the way they think public services should operate. More power to them. You can read the full article here or by clicking the image. 

Post 4 – Seven variable between/within schools – Tom Sherrington

I couldn’t leave this post out this month as I have found myself quoting it to a number of people and then going back and reading it again. I find it useful. It is the softer differences that he picks up on that piqued my interest such as the staff toilets or the coffee on offer. It made me start to notice all manner of things. Well worth a read. Click here for the full article or on the image above. 

Post 5 – The Unsustainable – from Being Brave – A First Time Headteacher’s Blog

This does what it says. It is a brave post and I wish that I had had the courage to stand up and shout the same thing when I first became a head. It is about the issue of being open and inclusive in a world when not everyone is. It is heartfelt and from the hip. Bravo.

Click here for the full article or click on the image above

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