In her remote school half an hour south of Gympie, Chappy Jen has been busy reassuring families, teachers and parents in the face of uncertainty and change.
“Because of our location, there hasn’t been a lot of anxiety in our school – but it’s been important to reassure the families that we’re there for them at this time if anyone needs to talk,” says Chappy Jen.
“I was able to put together some Care Packs for parents of the 22 families in our school, and fill it with tea sachets, chocolate, easter eggs, a keep-cup, hand-made bookmark and a tote bag from a community group in Gympie – just a few little encouragements.”
Over the last few weeks, Chappy Jen has been helping the teaching staff put together the paper-based curriculum packs.
“Because of the small school size and an unreliable internet service, our school decided that everything would be paper-based. The system is the parents come in every second week and collect the new supplies. On this day, I’m always there to chat with them and check in with how they’re going,” says Chappy Jen.
“I used to home-school myself, so it’s been nice to pass on some wisdom to the parents who were concerned about keeping up with expectations.”
“Home schooling is going to look different to the normal school routine – and if the kids aren’t coping, then take a break – go outside and, look at a tree, even climb a tree. It’s not going to be 6 straight hours in front of a desk. There were a lot of parents that needed to hear that!”
On top of the assurance and support Chappy Jen has been able to give to overwhelmed parents, there has been the opportunity to slow down and invest time in the teaching staff.
“In the midst of all this new, it’s been really nice to see the staff have the time for social interactions. We all stop for lunch together, and the environment is different because we all aren’t busy doing other stuff. It’s like planet Earth is on a bit of a reset,” says Chappy Jen.
“I’ve also been painting everything in the school that I can paint! Planter boxes and walkways – just to freshen up the grounds a bit for when the students return.”
It’s thanks to you that school chaplains are there to provide care and encouragement to our communities.
Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others – visit suqld.org.au/donate for more ways to show your support.