Cancelled school classes, parents working at home. The time of social distancing imposed by the coronavirus completely changed everybody’s routine, requiring serenity, tranquility, and creativity, most especially in the domestic environment.
The children and youths, far more than the adults, are being challenged to overcome the complete change in the routine. They can’t go to school anymore, play in the street, meet with friends, not even the Sunday lunch at the grandparents’ home can happen.
That abrupt change may generate unhappiness, distress, and a lack of understanding. It is a time to breathe, to adopt all the measure of prevention stipulated by competent health organizations, and practice caring for oneself and others.
Sister Maria, a monk of the Grace Mercy Order and missionary of the Fraternity – International Humanitarian Federation (FIHF), coordinator of the art-education projects for the Venezuelan immigrant children and youths sheltered by the Roraima Mission, explains how some practices of Emergency Education can contribute to an understanding and living in this time. “The pandemic can be a traumatic factor, because it shatters the notion of continuity in the psychological processes of the subjects, be they children, youths, or adults. And it is for this reason that it becomes very important to work on the emotional bond among families and friends. The strengthening of these ties generates emotional and mental assurance,” she reinforces.
Art-education activities for immigrant children and youths in the shelters
Playing is a Serious Matter
Teachers and psychologists, among other professionals, emphasize the importance of play in social, emotional, and cognitive development of children. However, some people think that this activity is restricted to children, when in reality, adults can, and should, participate in this world.
In the monk’s opinion, that moment of isolation can become an opportunity for the parents to reinforce the bonds with their children, be it by participating with them in intellectual school activities or in games and storytelling.
“Parents that create that bond with the children enhance their psychological-emotional development and their self-esteem,” she says. “Children and youths that do simple activities, such as cleaning in the home, in the yard, or do various activities that are not limited to the computer, develop their cognitive capacity and much better social relationships,” she explains.
The missionary of the Fraternity – International Humanitarian Federation (FIHF), Anderson, one of the promoters of the projects of Emergency Education in the humanitarian missions developed by the organization, points out that “one needs to look for extremely simple tools and expressions, entertaining and educational. This is even more important in this time in which the Planet is going through an emergency situation, that must be seen as a great opportunity for learning, a change in practices and values on the part of humanity.”
Art-education activities for immigrant children and youths in the shelters.
Some tips for games that encourage creativity, learning and, at the same time, help in keeping children and youths occupied and happy in the home:
- Family movie sessions.
- Listening to music, singing, dancing (but at an acceptable volume that does not disturb neighbors).
- Games of charades and guessing.
- Recovering dances and rounds of songs.
- Play house: a sheet and chairs are enough and can entertain children and adults for a long time.
- Cops and Robbers
- Who am I? A guessing game of historic characters – there is an App that can be downloaded onto the cell phone.
- Shadow games: can use hands, spoons, pots, plastic cups, household objects, mobile phone flashlights – stories and characters are created that lead to the world of the imagination (any age group, since even adults play).
- Treasure hunt: it can be hidden in any space inside or outside the home, something interesting, like an object, a packet of cookies, or any toy, and during the game place clues in several places that will lead to the place of the treasure.