This week, JAMA Pediatrics released a review of 29 studies from around the world that shows a 25 percent spike in anxiety depression and 20 percent rise in anxiety for children and teens since the pandemic began. The meta-analysis included more than 80,000 youth ages 4-17 with a mean age of 13.CNN and many other news outlets have been following the impact COVID and school closures have had on adolescents.
Many experts in education and child development believe this is a result of prolonged social isolation and explain that students need to feel safe and connected at school to thrive academically.
Children can’t learn if they don’t feel a sense of belonging, but the good news is that educators can play an important role in creating a psychologically safe environment.
If you’re looking for creative ways to do that, check out Beyond Differences’ “Let’s Connect,” a new, free program that offers games and activities designed to help students reengage,” says Phyllis Fagell, LCPC, author of Middle School Matters: The 10 Key Skills Kids Need to Thrive in Middle School and Beyond–and How Parents Can Help.
Beyond Differences created Let’s Connect! Welcome Back Kit to help get reacquainted and ease the social stress of returning to school.Let’s Connect! includes discussion prompts for teachers, a video to get student leaders excited, conversation cards, get-to-know-you games and more.
All Beyond Differences programs are provided to schools free of charge. Click here for more information about Let’s Connect.