Poetry to help children cope with coronavirus

Every Year 6 pupil in Enfield will receive a poetry booklet which aims to help parents/carers and teachers talk with children about the effects of coronavirus.

The project aims to help children to discuss their feelings around the unprecedented times in which we live, and encourage them to both evaluate the present and look to the future.

The Corona Collection – A Conversation is the brainchild of poet Cheryl Moskowitz and is based on interviews she did with children and school staff in Enfield.

Ms Moskowitz set up (socially-distanced) pavement interviews with children in the borough, then went into primary and secondary schools to conduct interviews with children of key workers, their parents and school teachers, as well as site-managers, administrators and cleaners.

The questions she asked included: “Suppose you woke up tomorrow and it was a corona-free world, all restrictions lifted? Where would you go, what would you do? What new rules, if any, might you put in place for a safer, happier world.”

The responses to her questions have informed Moskowitz’ poetry, which serves as a record of this extraordinary, unprecedented experience from the perspective of children.

The resulting collection will be gifted to schools and libraries across Enfield, accompanied by resources to help educators and parents use the poems as a springboard for valuable conversations around mental health and wellbeing - conversations that will be crucial over the next few months, and well after the restrictions have been lifted.

Each school will also receive digital resources created by Enfield Council to help educators and parents facilitate meaningful conversations with children around their experiences and hopes for the future during and beyond this current crisis and a webinar for educators and parents took place on Wednesday to introduce the new learning resources.

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Education, Cllr Rick Jewell, said: “This is a fantastic example of how the glorious richness of the poetry culture in Enfield is helping people through these tough times and sparking really important conversations on the topics that matter.

“Young people in our borough have played a really important role in supporting and guiding this project and I’m immensely grateful to Cheryl for producing such an amazing set of resources which will help us provide first rate pastoral care for children, who are keenly feeling the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown.”

Cheryl Moskowitz, said: “The current situation requires us to be in conversation with one another, and with our children. Writing these poems has been a necessity - a way of sparking and continuing that conversation.”

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