Anchor Foster Care has been supporting Foster Care Fortnight 2020 despite the current COVID-19 pandemic.
A much-loved highlight within the two weeks was a virtual chick hatching activity. Foster carers and young people watched live as our director Alistair took us to see newly hatched chickens, mother hens and father cockerels in his garden.
The well-attended Foster Care Fortnight gathering was followed by a 'Q & A' session and then a creative activity, with children drawing their interpretations of our hatchling chicks.
The interactive experience kept attendees engaged for a cool 2.5 hours with participants listening intently and also asking questions directly to Alistair. In fact, one attendee stated afterwards that it was 'magical'; as the sesson took us on an adventure of sorts through the twists and turns of Alistair's delightfully rustic garden.
Our Recruitment Officer & Learning & Development Coordinator for Anchor SoL Wendy said of the event;
"We're proud of our event which brought so many faces together, old and new. For some this was their first time connecting with other young people in the Anchor family. It was charming to see our young people wave and say 'hi' to each via the screens.
Along with observing unhatched eggs in incubators and talking about the life cycle of young chicks, Alistair also spoke to attendees about composting, keeping the fowl safe from predators and gave a tour of his organic vegetable gardens. We also learnt about recycling.
One of Supervising Social Workers also got involved in responding to questions and providing information. It was lovely to see that supportive relationship at work, even from a distance. All in all, it was a great success and showed how much we could do when we pull together. Fostering is such a vital role in society. So I was glad to be able to pull everyone together to recognise them and to share the joy of connection with them during Foster Care Fortnight. Hopefully, as carers, we also taught our young people a little bit more about life, and how we can all look after each other, and not just chicks.
It was beautiful to see the joy on our children's faces when they first saw our fuzzy baby chickens. The experience taught me that even in a virtual world, a sense of connectedness and shared emotional experience is possible."
Questions from our youngsters and foster carers at the event included 'How do we know if there are chicks inside the eggs?',
'What do chickens eat and drink?', 'Where do they sleep?', and 'What breed are they?'
We also learnt amusing facts – for example – did you know that if a chick has white ears, it lays white eggs, and if it has red ears, it lays brown eggs? We also all got a bit excited shouting out guesses as we attempted to label the green vegetation that grew in Alistair's garden.
Our nature event enabled our young people to reconnect and see each other, plus meet new faces. Some of our staff also brought young people along, and there was much joy being able to see people that we'd often heard mentioned but never met.
Foster Care Fortnight is a significant event for Anchor Foster Care, and 2020 was no different. Although most of the world has been indoors attempting to stay safe, keyworkers including foster carers have remained active. Celebrating foster carers in 2020 then was more crucial than ever to ensure we uplifted spirits through what has been and remains a challenging time.
#FCF2020 this year allowed us not only to applaud foster carers and the tremendous role they play but to also involve them, fostered children, and birth children in positive activities. Our 'Meet the Chicks' event most certainly met that criteria.
As some of our attendees said;
"I loved being part of the Meet the Chicks event! Everybody felt so connected, and the whole event felt really natural despite being on Zoom.
It was great to meet some of our lovely and very bright and curious young people. It felt like it brought us all together."
"It was interesting to learn how many chicks and chickens Alistair and Florence have and how they first came to have them. It was also interesting to learn that the colour of the eggs depended on the colour of the chickens' ears."
Children in Year R, Year 1 and Year 6 in England have been invited by the UK government to return to school. Until your child returns some useful tips to remember when homeschooling are:
Children engage differently; Offer a variety of ways for young people to learn, whether through a hand's on or nature-based activity like the one described above or through watching videos.
Allow opportunities to take the wheel; Our youngsters engaged with our activity because it was unique and it allowed them to get involved. Whenever barriers to studying go up, how about changing gears and asking young people what they would like to study for that day.
Lastly, have fun. Whether they talk and engage actively or prefer to absorb information quietly, the trick is understanding when the activity is no longer enjoyable, and the child has disengaged. Try to incorporate activities that will let the child gain satisfaction in between more challenging ones. If they can get some answers right, or utilise pleasant aspects such as drawing as part of the learning, this will lead to more extended engagement.
For more information about fun things children of all ages can take part in, please visit the 'children's section of our website, www.anchorfostercare.co.uk
For further information about Foster Care Fortnight 2020, please visit the Fostering Network's website.
When Foster Care Fortnight ends, there's no need to stop supporting each other - Covid-19 could be just the challenge we needed to overcome our distances.