Education is a work of self-organization by which human beings adapt themselves to the conditions of life.
It’s hard to believe that we are just a few weeks away from opening our doors and welcoming your children back into our schools. We are so excited to see everyone and to have our classrooms filled with learning and laughter again.
Our Clover School team has been hard at work planning for a safe, healthy, and comfortable return in the fall. We know that school will look and feel different this year. There will be new procedures and protocols that your child may be unfamiliar with such as screening upon entry, physical distancing measures, staff wearing masks, and other measures to keep everyone healthy. We want to work together with our families in the transition to in-school learning to ensure that it is a smooth and positive experience for all.
We have gathered some resources for families that can help prepare children for their return to school. We encourage you to use the information below to have open and honest conversations about the return to school. Your child may have questions or concerns and, as always, we are available to support our Clover community in any way that we can.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The start of a new school year can bring on a whole range of emotions (for both children and parents), from excitement and joy to worry and nervousness. This year may carry with it a heightened sense of these emotions, so being prepared for the new routines is very important in helping to allay any worries.
Our new drop-off routine will be one very key change in a student’s day. We will be implementing staggered drop-off times and areas for each class. This is to accommodate the daily screening process of each child, where you will answer a set of questions and we will take your child’s temperature before they come into school.
We will have guidance signage that describes this process at each drop-off/screening area of our campuses, and the screening questions will be posted at each of the screening areas. Let your child know that Ms. Durisin and Ms. Whitehead, as well as other staff members, will be warmly greeting them at their specified drop-off area every morning and asking everyone questions about how they are feeling to make sure everyone is healthy.
You can also let them know that during drop-off time, all of the grownups at school will be donning some extra safety accessories such as face masks and shields, and that they will be sitting behind a large plastic barrier while they ask the screening questions and take their temperature with a touch-less thermometer. These extra layers are just to keep everyone healthy, and you may want to consider showing your child a picture of what this may look like before the first day of school.
Once we have checked to make sure everyone is feeling well and is ready for a great day at school, we will be asking parents to give their children an extra special hug and kiss outside of the screening area that will last the whole day. We will then have one of their classroom teachers accompany them into the school and get them ready for a wonderful day filled with fun and learning with their friends!
We are all really excited about seeing our lovely students again, and despite the extra layers we will have on our smiles and joy will shine through!
Learning self-help skills and getting your child on their way to independence will be one of the most important things you can do, and is also a fundamental foundation of Maria Montessori’s philosophy of “help me to help myself.” This is especially true now that we have to be physically distancing as much as we can in social settings, including school, and being able to do things on their own – zips and buttons, putting on shoes, toileting, etc – will be very beneficial.
Teaching children the importance of physical distancing – waiting in line, in class, new ways of greeting and playing with friends, not mixing with other groups – to keep everyone safe will also be an important skill for heading back to school. We will have fun Please wait here stickers at school to help with the 2-metres-apart concept, as well as using different objects to demonstrate this: “Two metres is the same as two large number rods.” “Two Finns (Ms Lacey’s adorable dog!) is the same as two metres.” “Let’s measure the door to see if it is two metres tall.”
And, of course, there will be so many physically-distant thumbs up, huge smiles, air high fives, and hand-hearts for our students throughout their days!
These helpful tips will definitely help get your child ready for a happy return to school, and they are also useful for other everyday social situations.
These past few months have likely been a strange and confusing time for children. “Why can’t I go to school?” “Why aren’t we able to visit with grandma and grandpa?” “Why have all the stores, restaurants, and parks been closed?” “When will the germs be gone?” These are just some of the questions that children have been asking during this pandemic.
Many parents and families have had a difficult time finding the right words to explain COVID-19 to their children. A few months ago, CNN partnered with Sesame Street and produced a town hall special called The ABCs of COVID-19. This is a great resource to watch with your family that approaches COVID-19 in an age-appropriate manner.
We have all had to learn to navigate this temporary new normal. As regulations have come into place to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we have had to make adjustments to incorporate them into our daily lives. One that may feel strange and unfamiliar to children is wearing masks in indoor public places. They will also notice that their teachers, classroom assistants, and other school staff will be wearing them throughout the school day. This will be different than what they are accustomed to normally seeing at school.
Below are some resources on how to talk to your children about the importance of masks, why we are all wearing them, how to properly wear one, how to safely remove them, and how to encourage them to keep their mask on.
Proper and frequent hand washing is a very important part of stopping the spread of COVID-19. Watch the video below – made by our fabulous Spruce Class teacher, Ms. Katsoras – with your child hand for a fun (and familiar!) hand-washing routine.
There are so many resources available online for families to use to start conversations about COVID-19 with children. From talking about what COVID-19 is and how it spreads, how you can physically distance to keep individuals in your community safe, to why we wear masks, there are visuals, graphics, and online social stories that you can share with your child to help ease their anxieties, answer their questions, and build their confidence about returning to school in September.