COVID-19 Response & Guidelines
When physical distancing is deemed necessary, social and emotional connectedness is even more critical. (March 25, 2020)Karen Niemi
In response to the new realities that the COVID-19 health crisis has created for us globally and locally, Rainbow Days offers the following response and guidelines to trained facilitators of our Curriculum-Based Support Group (CBSG®) Program.
When Rainbow Days first developed the Curriculum Based Support Group (CBSG®) Program over 35 years ago, each adaptation included Connection in the title: Kids’ Connection, Youth Connection, Kids’ Connection, Too and Faith Connection. The importance of this core principal of “creating connections” with others is even more critical today as we find ourselves in this new reality of “social distancing.” When physical distancing is necessary, social and emotional connectedness is even more important, especially for the vulnerable children and youth who have increased risks even in “normal” times.
This is why it is vital for us to continue the important social-emotional learning and positive connections with caring adult mentors that are created when facilitating a Curriculum-Based Support Group (CBSG®) with children and youth in your life.
Suggestions for using and adapting the Curriculum Based Support Groups (CBSGs) during Social Distancing:
Many schools are reaching their students through some form of technology (Zoom, Google Hangout, Facebook, etc.). If you have access to students through this medium, we encourage you to provide support groups virtually. The Opening (Sunshine & Cloud) and Closing (Major Messages Ritual) and Guided Discussions can easily be facilitated; some Activities can be modified and other Activities can be selected that don’t require a printed handout. These suggested activities in Kids’ Connection and Youth Connection better lend themselves to this format.
There are suggested activities in Kids’ Connection and Youth Connection that lend themselves to a virtual format.
Consider posting videos of yourself and sharing with your students. One great example of this is our friends at Mid-Coast Family Services who are using video messages to help students remember the Major Messages and reminders of lessons they have learned during support group.
Connect with School Counselors, Teachers and Community Based Organizations
Most personnel from schools and community-based organizations continue to work remotely during this time. Connect with your contacts and identify ways you can work together to reach children and youth with CBSG messages and activities. You have our permission during this time to modify discussions and activities for use with larger groups.
Other CBSG Manual Adaptations
Remember, once you are trained by Rainbow Days Training as a CBSG Program Facilitator, you may purchase any of our other Facilitator Manual Adaptations. For example, Kids’ Connection, Too, for children and youth in transitional living environments, is designed for group participation to change from session to session due to the transitional nature of the population being served. There are 5 Units, one for each of the Major Messages (I AM, I CAN, I HAVE, I WILL, I BELIEVE) with 20 to 30 activities in each Unit. If you wish to purchase this adaptation, or any of the Facilitator Manual Adaptations, please complete and return the order form. The regular price of $150 per Manual is reduced by 50% ($75) during this time.
Virtual CBSG Program Facilitator Training
While in person training has historically been our only method of training, we are also adapting to current realities. We have developed a new 7-hour virtual training experience available during this time of physical distancing. If you are interested in participating in a virtual training please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also please look for scheduled virtual trainings on our website.
Fidelity, Flexibility & Funding Source(s)
If ever there was a time for flexibility it is now! As the CBSG Program Developer we encourage you to be as flexible as you can regarding implementation fidelity. It is important for you to work with your CBSG Program funding source(s) and follow their guidelines. That said, if you need us to write a letter or speak with your funding source(s) during this time about your implementation adjustments, please let us know. We will consider each organization’s plans on a case-by-case basis and work with you to enable your implementation of groups when they are needed more than ever.
Pre & Post Assessments
The requirement for Pre and Post Assessments varies according to funding source requirements. Our current suggestions for implementing pre/post-support group assessments include completing a Survey Monkey poll, assessing the whole group with an online poll and/or suspending this requirement temporarily. Again, check with your funding source(s) and let us know if we can help.
Please share with us your ideas, successes, videos, etc. We are considering virtual ways for Facilitators to connect, but in the meantime, we will be happy to share (with your permission) what you send us on our website and in our publications.
As you are probably aware, we have now updated our Major Message domains. Be looking for more details on how these domains are even more relevant during this unprecedented time in world history.
It is important to remember to take care of yourself as you care for your families, neighbors, co-workers and those you serve. Performing small acts of kindness for others is one positive way to lift your spirits and be helpful to others. Whether offering to go to the store for someone, walking a dog for those who may not be able to get out, sending a note of encouragement, thanking grocery store clerks, medical personnel and other front line workers, praying — whatever it might be, these small acts of kindness go a long way. And as always, leave some time and acts of kindness for yourself. Take stock of how you are doing mentally, emotionally and spiritually and identify ways that nurture you. Taking a time out for yourself to read, walk or do things that restore you emotionally are just as important as serving others.
We are all in this together and together we make a difference!
There are many organizations who are focused on bringing the latest research on Social-Emotional Learning to practice. One source we found that aligns with the goals of CBSGs is from Child Trends. Additionally, the premier leader in social emotional learning, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning – CASEL is another valuable resource during this time. We hope these tips are helpful.
Tips for Supporting Your Child’s Emotional Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Compared to adults, children are more vulnerable to the emotional impact of traumatic events that disrupt their daily lives. Here are some recommendations from Child Trends to support and protect your child’s well-being during the pandemic:
- Understand that reactions to the pandemic may vary
- Ensure the presence of a sensitive and responsive caregiver
- Social distancing should not mean social isolation
- Provide age-appropriate information
- Create a safe physical and emotional environment by practicing the 3 R’s- Reassurance, Routines, and Regulation
- Keep children busy
- Increase children’s self-efficacy
- Create opportunities for caregivers to take care of themselves
- Seek professional help if children show signs of trauma that do not resolve relatively quickly
- Emphasize strengths, hope, and positivity
Read more from Child Trends about resources to support children’s well-being.