Jaume Font is the director of the Institute for School Coexistence and Success, a body that comes under the regional education ministry. During the past school year, he points out, there was a 13.5% increase in initiatives to address the emotional well-being of schoolchildren. For the current school year, schools are attaching even further importance to these interventions.
Font highlights what have been and continue to be the negative consequences of the pandemic for children. They don't get to see friends and family, while they are also confronted with the news about the numbers of people who are ill and who have died. This all creates "traumatic situations"; hence the need for socio-emotional programmes. Emotions, he stresses, need to be taken into account in order to aid learning.
There are different types of initiative. They range from "restorative practices" to good use of the internet and social media. Font explains that "improved coexistence" is reflected in better learning, in less absenteeism and in less bullying. Above all, they establish improved relationships with parents. "The pandemic has led to contacts between schools and families increasing considerably."
Despite the pandemic, he notes, the positive evaluation of coexistence increased during the last school year, as did the assessment of the relationship between schools and parents. For teachers, he adds, it is necessary that they are given the right advice and support in dealing with relationships that can be particularly complicated. There has been a strengthening of teachers' communication skills, and this is beneficial for the whole teaching function.