7.30.2020 Early Childhood and Lower School Start of School Information
It’s hard to believe that the 2020-2021 school year is a little over a week away! We are so excited to have children back in the building! It’s going to be a wonderful year! Our teachers have been hard at work planning meaningful and exciting activities for learning, as well as for spiritual, emotional and physical growth! I know there’s been a lot of talk about heroes over the last four months, and I certainly think this outstanding group of teachers should be added to the list! Their love for your children and their passion for education permeates everything they do!
You will be receiving information from me about how any hybrid learning, (where some children are learning at school and others elect to stay home) will be handled in the 2020-2021 school year in a later email, but I wanted to take a minute to review some general information with you about the forthcoming year.
Information to know about the school year:
•Your child will receive a postcard signed by all of the teachers for their grade level. We will not put together class lists until we have a final count on who will be attending class at school and who is planning on doing remote learning so that we can balance the classes. You will receive your child’s specific classroom assignment Friday of next week.
•We hope the majority of you are planning on attending in person. So much of learning has to do with social interactions, fine and gross motor development, direction-following and so forth. This is particularly true for our younger students. We totally respect and support whatever decision you need to make for your family but want you to know that we are working hard to make this a safe and productive environment.
•I know you have received many communications from Nurse Gray and Mr. Moore regarding what the school is doing from a health and safety perspective. Please be sure to review these and be in touch with Nurse Gray if you have any specific questions. Reference: Woodland's Stronger Together Reentry Plan. I’d like to reiterate and stress a couple of things as they related to Early Childhood and Lower School.
o We have been busy moving and consolidating furniture so that every classroom is set up so that children have six feet intervals among themselves and the teachers. Children will be allowed to move, interact and collaborate in the classrooms as always. We will just be rethinking how we do this in order to allow adequate social distancing.
o All children will wear a mask. We ask that you send a spare mask to keep in your child’s cubby, so that they will have a fresh one should theirs need replacing. We will be providing each child with a clip for their masks to reduce the potential of fallen, lost or interchanged masks. Children will be allowed breaks from their masks as they need them. We understand that it is unrealistic to expect children to keep a mask on all day long and that our younger students will probably have more difficulty keeping their masks on than older students. Please start practicing with your child in small increments how to wear a mask so that they will be accustomed to them when they come to school. I also strongly recommend that you have multiple masks for your child since they will need to be washed between each use.
o We have added a number of outdoor learning spaces, so that children can move outside their rooms and enjoy the fresh air. In addition, we know that being in the fresh air is a great additional preventive measure when it comes to the virus.
o All children will have their own box of supplies and will not share classroom materials such as pencils, markers, play dough, rulers and the like. Any shared materials will be cleaned with disinfectant before another child may use it. Tables and materials will be wiped down at regular intervals throughout the day and after any use by one child before another uses it. Manipulatives will be divided among the children and thoroughly cleaned each day. As always, all school supplies will be provided by the school.
o We will begin the year with special area teachers (with the exception of PE) going to the classrooms so that students can remain in grade level cohorts in their own rooms.
o Early Childhood and Senior Kindergarten will be eating in their classrooms. We have added lunch times, so that only two grades at a time are in the lunchroom so that children can maintain appropriate social distances. We will NOT have microwaves in the lunchroom this year, as these are high touch areas which we have no means of reliably cleaning between each use. If your child is bringing their lunch, please be sure that they do not need to be heated. Additionally, while we are happy to help children open things they have difficulty open, you may want to consider sending easy to open items or teaching them how to open the items on their own.
o Our Early Childhood children are welcome to bring a lovey to school for nap time. These will be kept in their cubbies and will not be shared among children. These will be sent home each day so that you can sanitize them and have them ready for the next day. In addition, nap mat covers will be sent home every day so that they can be washed.
o We are moving to a Monday – Friday schedule rather than an A through F schedule, and you will be receiving information soon about how your child’s class website and schedule.
•Class orientations will be held virtually, and you will be receiving information about this soon.
•Reminder: On Saturday, August 1st, you will receive an email that asks you to make a choice between on campus learning and at home learning due by Tuesday August 4th. We are asking for an initial commitment to at home learning through Labor Day to help with the planning and organization of our teaching and learning. One week out from Labor Day we will ask you once again to make a choice between at home and in person learning which will extend through Fall Break.
Yes, this year will look much different from the typical school year. I know you have many questions, and I am more than happy to answer any questions you have. The main thing I want to emphasize is how much we love your children. When they are here, they will be treated as if they are our own. We will continue to do everything we can to keep them safe, happy, learning and growing!
I look forward to interacting with you all this year!
Cyndi (aka Dr. J)