Bouncing back to school after lockdown: Promoting children’s resilience

Created on: 13 Jan 2022 | Last modified: 04 Aug 2022

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Rebecca McMaster and Katie Bell


This project was conducted to promote children’s resilience when they returned to school after lockdown. The research began by giving children primary 4-7 at Sandhead School a questionnaire about their lockdown experience. All questions were linked to the SHANARRI indicators and asked about how they found lockdown.

From the questionnaires I decided which pupils would benefit from this project. The selected children were then divided into four groups and attended weekly nurture sessions in a new nurture space we created within the school. At the beginning we learned about our ‘fizz’ and then each week we learned a new decider skill which would help us with our emotions and how to act in a positive way.

We learned the strategies through a ‘discussion, demonstrate, discussion’ approach whereby we spoke about the skill, had a demonstration either by myself or the children and then discussed how we could use the skill in the future. Towards the end of the project each child created their own keyring which included pictures of emotions that they regularly felt and a strategy they would use for each emotion.

At the end of the project, children completed a post-questionnaire which focused on their experiences after lockdown and their return to school. The post questionnaire also asked the children what they liked and disliked about the project and what they thought they would take away from the project. Overall, the results showed us that children still felt that they were able to express all types of emotions but would not use their keyring to do this as they would only use their keyring to refer to the strategies.

Results also showed that pupils felt more equipped with coping strategies and had a choice of strategies to use after the project than they did at the start. Pupils explained that they enjoyed coming to the nurture group as they liked the more relaxed environment compared to the classroom and that it gave them the opportunity to express their emotions more freely. Overall, more children now feel equipped with coping strategies that they can use in difficult situations.

How can I use this resource?

This research into promoting children’s resilience has demonstrated that using the decider skills and having nurture time with small groups of children has been beneficial for the children’s wellbeing. This report may be of interest to other schools who hope to use the decider skills or are looking for a similar programme to help pupils gain a range of strategies to support their wellbeing, and establishes some key methods for assessing the impact of health and wellbeing-related interventions.