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Bucharest
April 16, 2021
EDUCATION HEALTH Social SOCIAL & HEALTH SUPPLEMENTS

IMSB: Fostering a Healthy, Safe and Supportive Learning Environment

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited of what could go right” – Tony Robbins

 

The International Maarif Schools of Bucharest (IMSB) is a school affiliated with the Turkey Maarif Foundation, headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, as a Cambridge Curriculum school.

IMSB has adapted its curricula in order to provide online classes taking into consideration the fact that the Covid19 pandemic has negative consequences on its educational endeavours. Beside the educators, there are two school counsellors who are playing an important role in  supporting more than 300 students. This is done by:

  • psychological assessment
  • identifying those with learning difficulties, emotional issues and challenging behaviours
  • helping the students with SEN to integrate
  • providing individual or group counselling sessions
  • holding class sessions

Despite our combined efforts to help students continue their education and learning during the pandemic via distance education, a lot of our students did not benefit of our activities as much as intended, for various reasons. Taking into consideration that the academic research indicates that parental involvement in the education of their children has a tremendous positive impact on the success of their children we focused our energy also on counselling the parents.

We presented them a guide (“Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks”) to help them to design their own strategies as a response to the pandemic and a way to normalize by starting to talk about some of the well-known SF movies that dealt with similar situations (“Outbreak“, “Andromeda Strain“, “Contagion“ and “Blindness”.

Then we answered the question: “How can you keep yourself up to date regarding the outbreak ?”

  • by relying on what mass-media is communicating
  • by talking with family members, co-workers, friends and neighbours

The next question to answer was : “How could you feel when you hear about an outbreak ?”,  “What other changes can occur in a stressful situation ?”

Generally, the elements affected during lockdown are:

  • the level of energy
  • the body stamina
  • the emotional balance
  • the sleep
  • the appetite
  • the thinking processes
  • the behaviour
  • the communicating and listening abilities are hindered
  • the level of irritability

The major question to be answered was “How to relieve stress ?” We identified several solutions:

  • eating healthy food
  • drinking enough water
  • sleeping enough
  • abdominal breathing ratio 1:4:2:4 (breath in – retention – breath out – retention)
  • relaxing: listening to music, meditating, having hot baths in the tub
  • engaging in hobbies: playing games, reading, writing, gardening, DIY
  • doing physical exercises: stretching, dancing, walking, running, cycling
  • talking with: members of the family, friends, co-workers, neighbours, psychologists, priests, imams.

To conclude with we highlighted that we should all:

  • pay attention to our body, feelings, and spirit
  • acknowledge the first signs of stress
  • remember our bad past experiences and how he coped with other similar situations
  • try to use more or less the same strategies that helped us to overcome the previous stressful situations
  • combine the old strategies with the new ones that were presented above
  • take time to renew our spirit, to meditate, to pray, to help the others who are in real need
  • share reliable information
  • enjoy conversations that are not related to the pandemic.

FEAR IS NOT REAL

We analysed the following lines:

“The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our

imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is

near insanity. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real but fear is a choice.”

(From the movie “After Earth” – 2013, Will Smith as Cypher Raige)

Bogdan Bobolea

School Counsellor

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