I’m planning on being a bit more proactive this year than I previously have. I’m putting together a booklet for each of the girls new teachers ready for September in the hope that they will be able to support and understand their needs.
I’ve printed off a copy of this ‘Understanding Why’ booklet produced by the National children’s Bureau and I’ve included a cover sheet to personalise it.
Big girls introduction goes something like this…………………..
Hello My name is XXXXX
My mummy has put together this little booklet to help you understand me.
In 2010 I came to live with my new mummy and daddy, I’m finding it quite hard to settle and trust my new mummy and daddy, I am trying very hard and CAMHS are helping me with this. I’ve had a very difficult start in life and this has meant that I’ve developed a little differently to other children, I’m emotionally and socially very behind so I might need you to be extra considerate of this sometimes and not expect me to be the same as the other children my age.
Sometimes the adults in my early life did things to make me feel scared and frightened. I will always do my best to keep the adults around me happy by keeping them close, being extra helpful and chatting to them. This sometimes means I forget to just be a little girl and do little girl things so I might need you to help me do things children do, rather than things adults do. I sometimes forget the differences between adults and children and might try to get you to be my friend instead of my teacher, I’ll need you to make sure this doesn’t happen but please be careful not to reject me, I’ve suffered enough rejection my mummy says.
I find school very difficult, it is big and busy and noisy and I don’t always cope with this very well. Sometimes I feel scared and frightened but I don’t know how to tell you this so I need you to keep a close eye on my behaviour and my mood.
Classrooms can be quite scary for me. There are children all around and people walking around outside and up and down the corridors. Please help me by sitting me close to you and with my back to a wall and not a door, that way I don’t need to be worried about what’s going on behind me. My hearing is really good, I developed this early on as a way to keep myself safe, this means that I may become easily distracted by other noises inside and outside of the classroom, please don’t be annoyed with me, I’m just trying to keep myself safe.
I don’t have much confidence and my self-esteem is rock bottom my mummy says, so sometimes when you ask me to try to do something I’m so scared of getting it wrong and upsetting you that I choose not to even try. I will need you to gently encourage me, but please don’t try and force me as this will scare me. I will always try to keep you happy as that’s when I will feel safest. So just because I say I understand what my homework is, it doesn’t mean I really do, I just don’t want to annoy you.
Sometimes when it looks like I’m having lots of fun and behaving ‘silly’, I’m actually very anxious and need your help to calm me down and reassure me that everything is ok. I will worry about topics, new tasks and tests. I will find it really hard to talk or read in front of the class so please don’t make me if I don’t want to. When I’ve learnt to trust you I might feel a bit braver and more willing to try. I also might get worried if someone new comes into the classroom or even if I see a new face in the corridor, I might worry it’s a social worker coming to take me away. I might get worried about trips or new activities and will need you to explain to me exactly what is going to happen and what I will be doing and who will be keeping me safe, but if you can, please don’t tell me too early as I may worry about it at night when I’m trying to sleep. If I get really anxious, please let me know I can ring my mummy, sometimes just suggesting it is enough reassurance to let me know I’m safe and it’s all ok.
I find the playground very scary. I don’t really know how to make friends and I’m scared that if I try to be someone’s friend that they might not like me. There hasn’t been much in my life that I’ve been able to control so I prefer to do things my way as that’s when I feel safest, the other children don’t always want to do things my way and I find this frustrating and sometimes get angry. I’m not very good at coping with or recognising my feelings and will need you to help me with this.
It would really help my mummy if you could tell her about any upsets, sulks or strops I have at school. I don’t like telling my mummy when I’ve had a bad day as I worry she might be disappointed with me. Mummy likes to help me when I’ve been finding things difficult by keeping me close and calm so I can feel safe again.
My mummy has put this book together to help you understand me, I hope you will read it. If you want to talk to my mummy about anything in this book or anything you see me doing or hear me saying, she will be happy to chat, she can talk about me for hours and she knows me better than anyone else.
My mummy has put a complete copy of this booklet in the back page for you to keep if you want to, but please give this book back to mummy so she can give it to my next teacher.
I hope we have a lovely time learning together.
I’ll try anything to help make my girls lives easier and school is one of the biggest things they struggle with.
Fingers crossed that this helps.