Recently I read a book by a well known American psychologist who did extensive research on the mental and emotional wellbeing of children. Based on his own unhappy childhood experiences, he realised that anxiety, low mood and ongoing pressures stood as barriers to his learning. It makes perfect sense that a child who is continuously worried about not being enough or about disappointing significant adults in their lives, will not have the peace of mind to achieve their best.
One of the consequences of the pandemic has been the need to bridge gaps in the education of every child. This has been a key drive for every school during this first half term. As important as bridging the gap is, it cannot be done at the expense of a child's wellbeing and good mental health. Children are sensitive to conscious and and unconscious messages surrounding them. A child who is continuously told that they are not doing enough, will begin to believe that they are not and will never be enough. This is the root of low self-esteem.
When my children were growing up, there was an old, old song which I always played to them that said "As long as I am trying, I have the guarantee, this is all Hashem wants from me". If it is enough for G-d, it has got to be enough for us too.
By preserving our children's self-esteem intact and teaching them to appreciate their own inner value, they will achieve far more than doing well in exams. This is your chance to help your children develop resilience and learn that failing or making mistakes are learning opportunities. One of the most precious moments of my teaching career was when a group of children gave me a hand made card which said " Thank you for believing in us".
Wishing you all a relaxing and safe half-term.