As the face-to-face classes return, we, teachers, have to deal with the comeback of our learners. We should expect major changes from them due to the effects of the pandemic. Some of them might be experiencing stress or any psychological consequences due to the years of isolation and interruption in their social life. As teachers, we have to be more considerate of them. We have to give them our empathy and understand them every day as they adjust to the new environment. With this, the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS) and MAGIS Creative Spaces Inc., developed the Psychosocial Support Activity Pack for Learners and Teachers. These psychosocial support activities are imperative in promoting, protecting, and prioritizing the learners’ socio-emotional well-being as they transition back to in-person classes. It will serve as a guide for teachers in conducting different psychosocial support activities.
What is Psychosocial Support Activity Pack?
Psychosocial support activities are imperative in promoting, protecting, and prioritizing the learners’ socio-emotional well-being as they transition back to in-person classes. Accordingly, per DepEd Order (DO) No. 34, s. 2022 titled School Calendar and Activities for the School Year 2022-2023, psychosocial support activities must be conducted during the first week of School Year (SY) 2022-2023, beginning on August 22, 2022.
Classroom advisers or designated teachers shall facilitate these activities for at least one (1) hour for one (1) week or until the learners are well-adjusted in the school community.
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With this, the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS) and MAGIS Creative Spaces Inc., developed the Psychosocial Support Activity Pack (All Levels): A Teacher’s Guide to aid teaching personnel in the conduct of psychosocial support activities for learners in in-person learning modality. Enclosed is the Psychosocial Support Activity Pack (All Levels): A Teacher’s Guide for use and reference.
In addition, to check the psychosocial status of learners according to the conduct of psychosocial support activities and adequately address their psychosocial needs, the Psychosocial Evaluation was developed for use with the activity pack. The Psychosocial Evaluation Guide is also enclosed while the Guidelines for Monitoring and Evaluation are provided in Annex A.
The video on learning sessions for teachers on the conduct and facilitation of psychosocial support activities for Kindergarten to Grade 6 is available here:
https://fb.watch/f0sGXXvA66/, while the video for Grade 7 to 12 is available here: https://fb.watch/f0sKm40jkR/.
The 7 s’ of Psychosocial support
The process of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is integral in enabling individuals to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. Contextualized for populations in vulnerable
contexts, there are seven SEL-related core competencies – the 7 S’ of Psychosocial Support – that function as building blocks in allowing recovery and learning to occur in children as teachers engage them in the different psychosocial support activities. This ultimately aims to give learners access to sources of resilience to better navigate the impacts of disasters and/or emergencies. Accordingly, classrooms are conducive environments for intentional facilitation of psychosocial support and reinforcement of SEL as schools are intended as safe spaces and beneficial environments for learners during periods of uncertainty or crisis brought by the impacts of disasters and/or emergencies.
Emotional and physical safety are essential for recovery to take place; this builds trust and creates an environment where self-reflection and self-expression become possible.
In school, at various age groups, there is a growing self-awareness of one’s body, separateness from others, and ability to express needs and preferences. Through specific activities, this growing knowledge of oneself serves as a building block for gaining more complex developmental skills such as problem solving and self-regulation, which can then lead to health, stability, resilience and confidence.
The process of identifying feelings and sharing this both verbally and non-verbally, in the presence of a caring adult who is attentive to both the learner and the creative process, is fundamentally what psychosocial support work in the classroom is about.
This is the ability to manage one’s emotions. Since the mind and body are interconnected, this skill is key to achieving a sense of equilibrium mentally, physically, and emotionally. Since the mind and body are intricately connected, one’s ability to manage strong emotions is key to healthy daily functioning.
- Problem Solving
This critical life skill can be learned through any process that involves art making. It can begin with resolving the simple dilemma between choosing blue or green to color, or deciding what colors to mix to make a new color, or deciding on one’s own specific rhythm or beat in a song or a dance sequence.
A strong sense of self-esteem and self-confidence is essential to experiencing success in school, and in finding one’s way through adversity, and art-based activities can help encourage children to reflect on, identify, and express their strengths and values. As a stabilizing factor, the school or any child-friendly space that builds on children’s strengths becomes an environment for recovery, particularly for children who do not receive affirmation in other aspects of their lives.
When children receive empathy in times of distress, they learn how to demonstrate this towards themselves and others as well. Caring adults who model compassion and empathy indirectly teach children how to show this to others in times of difficulty. These activities that involve the facilitation of a trustworthy adult, as well as interactions with others, promote the development of empathy and appreciation for differences and unique abilities, talents and ways of coping.
Psychosocial Support Activity Pack for Learners and Teachers
All references related to the conduct, facilitation, monitoring and evaluation of the psychosocial support activities for the in-person learning modality can be found below:
|Psychosocial Support Activity Pack (A Teacher’s Guide)||Download|
|Psychosocial Support Activity Pack (For Teachers)||Download|
|Psychosocial Evaluation Form Template||Download|
|Psychosocial Evaluation Guide for PSAP||Download|
|Learning Session Videos and Handouts||Download|
|DRRMS Dissemination Memo||Download|
For more information, questions, or concerns, please contact Ms. Amina Aisa Boncales or Ms. Leandra Yu of the DRRMS through email d[email protected]. For immediate dissemination and action.
Guidelines for Monitoring and Evaluation of Psychosocial Support Activities for the In-Person Classes
The Psychosocial Evaluation Guide will quickly assess how learners respond to the activities and gauge their overall adjustment to the transition to In-Person Classes through specific items aligned with the Psychosocial Support Activity Pack. It can inform teachers which psychosocial skills to focus on and consistently conduct classroom activities. More information regarding the Psychosocial Evaluation is enclosed in this memo.
a. To be administered by teachers or class advisers who were trained and/or oriented on conducting and facilitating psychosocial support activities for learners.
b. To be completed by learners participating in in-person classes.
c. To be administered and completed before the facilitation of the first psychosocial support activity and after the facilitation of the last psychosocial support activity (pre- and post-evaluation design).
d. To be collected by teachers and then collated through this response template: https://bit.ly/PSEResponseTemp.
The collated responses shall be submitted to the School Heads
e. To be submitted by and through School Heads to DRRMS through this reporting link:
How to Use the Psychosocial Support Activity Pack for Teachers
This packet is designed to bridge healthy socio-emotional wellbeing (achieved through offering psychosocial support) to academic performance. When students feel supported in school by compassionate adults/teachers and their peers, they can perform well even in difficult times. This school year students are adjusting back to face-to-face classes. Their arrival may come with excitement to be back in school, and an adjustment to face-to-face learning and safety protocols; but it can also come with difficult feelings: anxiety, fear, anger, worry, and sadness. Your role as a teacher is crucial in creating an atmosphere among your students of safety, calm, empathy, and confidence. When conducting psychosocial support activities, your role is not to teach, but to be a companion to your students by being present and attuned to what emotions they are bringing back from home during this time of the pandemic. Through these activities, we are hoping you can create a classroom where both healing and learning thrive.
The packet is divided into three parts: I Am, I Can, and I Have, in order to develop specific psychosocial support skills. They are meant to be used in that order – to build on safety, self-awareness, and self-regulation first, and then move on to a deeper exploration of the self, community, and community resources.
An annex is also provided with additional energizers and transitional activities to support your students’ socio-emotional wellbeing and academic performance. You will also find other templates to use for creating your own activities as well as some other frequently asked questions (FAQs) in using play and arts-based approaches for psychosocial support.
Considerations in the Time of COVID
Remember to maintain a healthy distance from each other during activity making, as well as observe minimum safety protocols such as wearing masks and constant washing of hands or use of alcohol.
What to Do
- Since this packet is designed to offer you activities to support the well-being of your learners, the first step would be to create an environment that welcomes all the emotions that they bring with them from their time at home during this pandemic. Assess (see The Guide to Learning the Emotional Language of Your Learners, p.xii) whether they might be receptive to the activities identified, and then choose the activity that would be helpful to hold a space to either ground or calm your class, or energize them.
- There is a list of grounding exercises and energizers in the Annex to help you get started. Basic exercise activities such as running in place, jumping jacks, and arm rolls are all good starters to get the stress out. End with three breaths to ground everyone back to their seats.
- After you’ve used the activities, know that it’s okay to repeat them. Repetition and consistency over time build up a child’s socio-emotional strength and creates a culture of caring and acceptance in the classroom.
- It’s best to continue doing psychosocial support activities throughout the year as this will boost your learners’ academic performance as well.
- Feel free to modify activities to adapt them to your specific culture and dialect.
- Accommodations for children with special needs: if you have learners with special needs in your class, individual work can be done in pairs so that a regular learner can be paired with a special needs learner.
- Create safety and classroom guidelines. Remind them every session.
- Focus on your learner’s strengths and inner resources.
- Use whatever materials are available to you
- Appreciate whatever is made by the learner. Thank them for their creativity and engagement (whatever way they engaged — as an observer, as a creator, as a sharer)
- Think outside the box. Materials from the natural environment may be used for art and other psychosocial support activities.
What Not to Do
- When learners do not want to do a psychosocial support activity, encourage them, but don’t force them. If you have a “quiet” or “peace” corner in your room with books and coloring supplies, they can stay there and try other activities until they’re ready to join.
- Do not teach the learners how to create, since this is not an art class, but a psychosocial support activity, instead:
- Provide them with a space to let their creativity flow
- Encourage them if they are having difficulty (i.e., start with a line, simple tapping of the toes or nodding of the head)
- Do not force learners to create
- Instead, meet them where they are at.
- Take note of these learners and check in with them individually from a curious, compassionate standpoint
- Do not judge artworks as good or bad
- Instead, be curious about their work and what they want to communicate through it
- Do not analyze or interpret their work
- Instead, allow them to be the masters of their creations
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