Psycho-social support for teachers, learners and parents
9 July 2020
We need to acknowledge the effect the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the lockdown period, has had on the emotional well- being of teachers, learners and parents. It is therefore important to raise awareness regarding learners’ needs for psycho-social support and the value such support will have for learner reintegration and teaching. Together with that, teachers need to receive guidance and support regarding the management of their own psycho-social needs.
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has various psycho-social support services available to support these needs; helping learners, teachers and parents to manage stress, anxiety and health during the Covid-19 pandemic.
An employee health and wellness service provided by Metropolitan Health, is available to all teachers and employees of WCED and their immediate family members. The service has been adapted to assist with various issues during the current crisis, e.g. family challenges, stress management, trauma and personal budgeting.
Employees can contact the EHWP on their toll-free number: 0800 111 011 to have a confidential conversation with one of their counsellors or send them a “Please call me” at *134*664*38#
Psycho-social support for learners will be provided by school social workers, psychologists, counsellors, social auxiliary workers, and care and support assistants, in close collaboration with the Departments of Health and Social Development, and NGOs.
These psycho-social support services provide for school-wide capacity building regarding teacher and learner mental health knowledge, wellness awareness, practices and interventions. Teachers will be enabled to implement trauma- informed classroom practices such as emotional and sensory self-regulation and mindfulness, which will help learners build resilience. Learners with moderate to high level support needs will receive individual and group-psycho-social support.
The WCED’s Cape Winelands Specialised Learner and Educator Support Component developed infographics and short videos to assist teachers with providing psycho-social support to learners after the national lockdown.
The videos can be viewed at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgkdmSwmBcm13IWQGoFl43g/videos
Infographics to support parents, where learners are returning to school, are in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa.
Infographics to support teachers and learners are in English and Afrikaans.
These infographics can be accessed by clicking on the following link: https://sites.google.com/wced.info/cwed-learnerresources/learner-teacher-support
Sura Swart, Head of ISLES in the Cape Winelands, said children have a basic need to feel secure and connected. Posttraumatic growth and building of resilience is best achieved when they are given support grounded in trauma-informed care. These resources provide helpful tips for teachers and parents to provide this form of support and to help children transition back to school after the extended closures due to the lockdown.