In 2020/21 we worked closely with Benfield School to find out what the experience of Covid lockdowns had been like for secondary school age children and young people, with an emphasis on Year 7 students. This particular cohort of children was yanked out of primary school, and the only life they’d ever known, overnight in March 2020.
Through activity worksheets, interviews, and drama sessions (facilitated by Woven Nest Theatre) we were able to piece together a picture of tremendous loss; missed milestone moments, grief at the sudden and blunt end to friendships, identity in flux without hobbies and routines to anchor them, and a depleting, but lingering hope that treasured rituals like signing shirts and leavers assemblies might still happen one day.
There was however, a determined resilience, optimism, and pride in things they’d learnt; doing their own washing for the first time, cooking, nurturing relationships with their family, and preparing for their new chapter at Secondary school.
The activity worksheets, though at the time only intended as a data gathering tool, provide a moving snapshot into the incredibly visual memories these children will carry with them forever, in place of the desperately important ones they’ve lost.