The current outbreak of COVID-19 has affected lives all across the country. Preschool of the Arts is one of many schools that is temporarily closed. We are facing the question: how does a Reggio Emilia-inspired program work remotely? As a school that discourages screen time, how can we utilize technology in appropriate ways for preschool students? How can our community stay connected while we are apart?
Our teachers have gone above and beyond to ensure that the magic of our school can transcend this crisis. Our intention during this closure time is to support our families at home, not to overwhelm. We try to offer simple suggestions and resources for things to do that build on the children’s interests and help them connect to each other and make sense of this unique situation. We hope that parents participate however they can, with no obligation.
Many classrooms are sharing their normal daily schedule with parents, so families can maintain as much consistency as possible with their children at home.
Every day, the children in the Rainbow Room practice mindfulness. The teachers are continuing this practice by sending mindfulness videos to the children. It is important for children to have as much consistency as possible – hearing their teacher’s voice greeting them every day during this unusual time helps them keep a sense of grounding. Practicing mindfulness in the ways that are familiar to them helps students keep up their routine. Navigating this crisis, guiding children into a state of calm and peace is more important than ever. All of us, teachers and children alike, benefit from mindfulness practice.
In the Orange Room, teachers are still hosting a morning meeting with their families each morning, with the help of Google Hangouts. Just like they would be at school, these meetings are child-centered. After one child talked about making a campsite during a video-morning meeting, the teachers prompted the parents to try building forts at home. Any photos of the forts the children create will be added to their collaborative documentation about their time at home.
The Blue Room teachers are continuing their regular “Mystery Boxes” through videos sent to families and children. What could it be?
We’ve found that we can even celebrate together from afar. In the Gold Room, one child was hoping to make birthday crowns with her friends at school, but our school closed before her birthday. To celebrate from afar, the teachers invited the whole class to create and wear a crown as a birthday greeting.
As an arts-focused preschool, many of our teachers are turning to the arts to stay connected. Our Music Specialists are continuing to share the language of music with the children in their classrooms.
In the Red Room, a teacher shared a favorite, The Peanut Song. Some children in the classroom sent a video in response, with a pizza on a railroad track – pizza butter!
Since the children in the Red Room just love music and instruments, another teacher sends a daily song to her classroom. She’s hoping to put together a whole album of songs from our time apart!
In the Silver Room, our youngest classroom, the teachers are sharing regular classroom songs as well as recordings of some favorite felt board stories.
Our Art Specialists have been sending prompts to families, and even created a virtual art gallery, which is available to all families. Anyone at our school can contribute photos of how they are exploring the arts from home.
In the Sunshine Room, both teachers and parents are contributing to a shared documentation about what they’re up to at their homes. One of the teachers posted a self portrait in progress. “We need only paper, a mirror, a pencil or pen for line drawing, and coloring tools, such as pencils, markers, watercolors. Our friends know how to do this and they love to do it! We ask children to compare the color of their skin with a range of available colors. I refer back to my image when I am coloring. Am I concerned that my drawing is not an exact replication of the image in the mirror? Of course not, because that is a large part of the fun. This is a self portrait in progress. Do you think it looks like me?“
One of our lovely float teachers has started sharing his reflections through a blog, which he’s been updating daily. These reflections are available to our staff and families.
In the Snowflake Room, the teachers sent an update from their (closed) classroom. They are keeping the children updated about the potato plants they left in the classroom.
Our lovely Casey Day, continues to share music with all of us, even from afar.
Though this is a difficult time for all of us, we are finding joy wherever we can. This is just a sample of the beautiful connections happening within our community during our forced time apart. We’re so grateful to the support of our families, and the dedication of our staff members. And we’re very much looking forward to seeing everyone back at school soon.
If you are interested in a virtual tour of Preschool of the Arts, please contact us.
Like many schools, we are facing an uncertain future. If you are compelled to support the work, mission, and children of Preschool of the Arts, you can donate online.
PSA’s Preschool-From-Home Resources