Whilst we are all still struggling to process and come to terms with the events of last Friday, our thoughts are very much with all of those affected by the tragedy.
We had a staff meeting before school on Monday to ensure we all have the same approach. We have only talked about it very briefly at Whānau Hui and in home group circle time. We are emphasising the positives by talking about all the “good guys” and how quickly the situation was contained. Should the need arise, we will validate the children’s emotions by reflecting them back to them and saying it’s ok to feel that way and very normal and again remind them how safe they are here, and how amazing our police, doctors (the good guys!) are.
How we interact with our tamariki around these events is absolutely vital in ensuring that they feel emotionally safe and secure. We have received this advice from Nathan Wallace (psychologist) about how you can help your child through:
Limit your child's access to media as it may reinforce any feelings of trauma they may feel.
Show them that you are concerned - as they will be - but that you also feel safe.
Be guided by their questions, be factual and age appropriate with your response. Children and young people do not always talk about their feelings readily – ask them if they are feeling worried.
Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
Very young children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them.
Older primary school aged children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy.
Discuss efforts of school, emergency services and community leaders to provide safe schools.
Express confidence in how quickly and efficiently the emergency services responded to protect us.
Most importantly, be affectionate, empathetic and loving towards them. Keep a close eye on them and don't project any negative emotions on to them.
Hate and discrimination have no place in our community, and it is always a good time to connect with those around us - regardless of their personal or religious preferences, and demonstrate that the events of last Friday do not represent the thoughts and actions of the vast majority of us. Teach your children that love, unity and tolerance are valued in your family and need to be valued in our community.
For anyone who feels they need more support, please email me at Principal@pegasusbay.school.nz.
Take care of yourselves and those around you. Ngā mihi me te aroha