Have our individual and collective lives ever changed so much in two weeks? And we are here for the long haul. As most of you have probably heard, we will not be allowed to meet in person with students and families for the rest of the school year (with the exception of providing care to children of “essential persons” – see below).
Teachers and families have adapted to virtual learning amazingly well; it has been a steep learning curve and out of the comfort zone for many. Each program has been working to connect with and support each student/family, which is different for each age level. Middle School has had ZOOM meetings with the whole class every weekday morning with small group lessons and projects continuing online. The Toddler Programs and Children’s House teachers have connected with phone/video calls, videos of a teacher doing a circle lesson, and individualized Montessori goodie bags for each child. Elementary has needed to be a hybrid of individual support to families and adapting to using the technology for this transitional age (working with both the adults and children in the household). It is all a work in progress, and we will be continuing to augment and refine how we provide this learning from home.
As our distance learning programs continue to grow and develop over the next two months, we need your input and engagement. If there is a way we can support your family differently, please let us know. And, also, please be patient with yourselves, your children, and teachers. This is a monumental shift and adjustment for us all. Managing working and parenting from home 24/7 is a challenge, and we will all remember this time. How do we strike a work/home balance when they are so intertwined? How do we follow the child with their interests and take this opportunity to be more “free range”, but also keep learning happening in all areas?
We are working through the answers to these questions and more, individually as teachers and staff, as programs serving families, and as a school community. To the topic of work/home balance, I’d like to encourage all of us to take the evenings and weekends off. Many of us have trouble with this under regular circumstances, and this is no regular circumstance. With no physical boundary between school/work and home, perhaps we need to impose a different boundary to enable us all (parents, students, and teachers) to have some time to reflect and refresh. As such, teachers will continue to be available weekdays from 8-4, and will be taking evenings and weekends “off”, possibly away from their computers and phones! We encourage you and your students to do the same. And, please continue to communicate with us about how you are doing and how we can support your family and student further. We are at the beginning of a marathon and we are in this together!