Welcome weekend! Would you like a cup of strong, black coffee from my French press, or perhaps some green tea today?
I just finished my usual two cups of coffee, while admiring the sunrise. It is Saturday morning, and I am looking forward to give my sweet girl some one-on-one time this weekend. She is still snoozing away, so we have a few minutes to have a virtual coffee date before she wakes up. How is your week? Are you in quarantine? Social distancing?
The world is crazy, and still we try to maintain some of our routines. I work, since schools are considered essential, here in Sweden. (Older children, 15+ years old have online classes.) I feel very good working. I’m in good health, and I like providing normal for the children whose parents needs to work during these difficult times. Work is a little special at the moment, there’s both children and colleagues missing. We try to help out where we are the most needed at our school. This week I’ve only been at my own department, since I’ve had a lot of children there all week. Not the whole group, but more children than all the other departments.
Before Corona many children with a little cold were sent to school. You only stayed at home with children that had a fever, or a stomach bug. Nowadays anyone with the slightest symptoms of a cold are advised to stay at home. Our school have a policy that encourage parents to also keep siblings to sick children at home, and keep them at home 48 hours after the last symptoms disappeared. We have the sibling policy since it is impossible for both the parents and us to know exactly what the child’s illness is. Is it a cold? Allergies? Or the big bad virus? And of course there are people in risk groups that would be more likely to get the virus if their immune system were down, due to a cold (both children and personnel.) This is the least fun part of my job, to have to repeatedly ask parents to keep them at home long enough. Our parents are very good at this, for the most part, so I don’t think it’s overwhelming, it’s just not fun to have to be a police (sort of.) The majority of the parents are very responsible, and I feel that we have a great, open line of communication with them. We are following all the recommendations from our health department to stop this pandemi the best way we can. Our principal offered us to vent our concerns about the situation at a meeting this week. I attended, mostly to show my support to colleagues that are worried.
We are practicing social distancing in Sweden. I follow that strictly in my private life, but at work I have to make exceptions. Children have always been drawn to me, but in these times there is even a bigger need of comforting them. They want to sit close, there is constantly one, two, three, or more children that wants to sit in my lap. I sometimes need to say no, to not be unfair to anyone, but I try to offer comfort to all of them. They seem OK with all this craziness going on around them. When this all started I didn’t notice that it affected them too much, but these past few days I’ve noticed some insecurities in some of them. It’s a wonderful group of children that I will miss dearly when they move to the next chapter of their education. I feel blessed to be a part of this chapter. Naturally I will do everything I can for them, while I can.
Right after mandatory hand washing for anyone entering our school, one of the first things that was changed when this craziness started, was the way of things in our lunch room. We have an inviting lunch room where we sit in small groups at tables with approximately 5 children and one teacher. We teachers take turns at setting the tables with the wonderful food our chef prepared for us. We put dishes with food on the tables before the children enter the lunch room. Before the virus the children were encouraged to serve themselves of the food. This was part of enjoying delicious food, eating the colourful, beautiful dishes with your eyes before tasting them. This way they were also being given the opportunity of perfecting their table skills. Meals enjoyed together, participating in meaningful conversations around the table is an important part of the children’s education. Now the teacher at the table serve the food to all the children. This works out great, just a small change to how things were before.
This week we’ve had many discussions about the future with our little students, preparing them for the school they are going to after the summer holidays. We’ve made some Easter decorations, and I’ve lead a lot of organised exercise. We have a gymnastic program, with different exercises for children with uptempo music to go with it. It is about 45 minutes, and I’ve used variations of that program 4 days this week. Every day except yesterday, when we had yoga instead. The children asked for yoga on Wednesday. We haven’t had that in a while. (Frankly because the yoga program they’ve used to do before I started felt lame, and it was hard to engage some of the boys.) I felt a need to incorporate some new poses and worked on that Wednesday and Thursday after work. It felt good trying some of them on Friday. I took it slow, and only tried a handful of the program that I prepared. We’ll try the rest next week. I found a good mix of yoga music on Spotify to go with the program. I think an important part of having both gymnastic and yoga with young children is to evaluate with them how it feels in their bodies afterwards. How nutritious food (that is an important part of our school’s profile,) along with exercise make us feel strong, both physically and mentality. These children are getting a head start on a healthy lifestyle. If my daughter was younger, I would choose our school for her, and that makes me feel incredibly good working there. Speaking of it, I signed a new contract for work this week, a permanent position where I am right now. (It’s custom here to start with a trial position for 6 months.) I am thrilled about that! I love my work, and to be a part of developing the ski profile further is very appealing to me.
Do you need a refill on your coffee? Tea?
I know that I told you about my daughter, how she’s been attending a special school these first months in Sweden, where she’s been getting extra help learning the language. Well, yesterday was her first day at a new school, within walking distance from our house. It is a regular Swedish school. It will be challenging at first, but she is going to do well. Several of the children in her new class gave her drawings that they’ve made, and little welcome notes. I think I was almost more touched by that gesture than she was. It made my heart very happy. It is a huge challenge learning a new language, and a new culture. I know it, because I’ve been there. I felt like an alien the first years in California. My daughter is doing very well. She loves it here, but I do understand some of her challenges. I am not pushing her in any way. She is allowed to “adjust” in her own pace. It is a great school she is starting. It has a very good reputation. She’s already been attending the after school program at this school since new year, and know some of the children. It’s a small school and the children that attends lives in our part of (the outskirts) of town.
It seems like most of the world is on lockdown, but as you can tell it has been a pretty busy week here. I do absolutely take the threat of this virus seriously. I do not participate in anything but what is required, work for me, and school for my daughter. I have my groceries delivered, so that I don’t have to go to the store. We spend our free time at home, or in the surrounding forests. It’s been a cold, and beautiful week. We’ve been taking many walks.
I received a book I’ve ordered in the mail yesterday. I’m excited to read it this weekend. I’ve been interested in homesteading my whole life, and this book seem very relevant, modern, beautifully made, with appealing photos, easy to follow descriptions, and recipes. I very much look forward to adding some new skills to my inventory. I remember doing some fermenting of vegetables with my mom as a child, but I would love to perfect that skill myself. Something I will be working on this spring. My new book have a chapter about that, and it was one of the reasons I bought it.
How are you spending these special days? Please tell me in a comment and stay safe! WE are in this together.