After 11 weeks of closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak, PSA reopened on June 1st. We have fewer classrooms open, fewer children per classroom and a limited staff. We’ve established new policies, developed in consultation with medical and cleaning experts. We’re so happy to report that everything is going smoothly! It’s wonderful to be back at school with the children.
Our classrooms look a bit different now. We’ve removed a lot of materials from the classroom, ensuring that everything in the room can be easily cleaned and sanitized. Each day, the materials in the classroom are throughly cleaned. In the Silver Room, with our youngest kids, the teachers have rearranged their space so one teacher can have a good line of vision around the room. Because we believe so strongly in the power of environment on children’s learning, our new, easier-to-clean classrooms are still intentionally homey and lovely.
To limit exposure as much as possible within the building, we’ve also have had to restructure the enrollment within the classrooms. Most notably, siblings are now in the same classrooms. This means that most of our classrooms are mixed-age groups. Since reopening, there has been a lot of learning and “getting to know you” and the children have been so gracious and welcoming with each other.
In the Copper Room, the children understand why we have to do things a bit differently and are following along with all the adjustments as they come. They have spent some time going over routines for the class and ways we can keep ourselves and each other healthy and safe. Because we believe children are capable, we are asking the children to take ownership (with our support and supervision of course) over some daily tasks. Students are expected to empty their water into a dump bucket so that teachers can sanitize the water bottles at the end of the day.
Packing up individual rest items is a typical task for classrooms, but what is different (for the Copper Room at least) is asking children to wipe their mats down with soap and water each day. The children have caught on quickly to this addition to their routine and seem to enjoy the opportunity to contribute.
The steps include:
- Pack up sleep items
- Wipe down mats
- Put dirty cloth in laundry bag
- Wash hands
All of our classrooms are encouraged to spend as much time outside as possible. The Copper Room even had rest time outside! As they spent more and more time outside each day, the teachers watched how children who were a bit resistant at first learned ways to make themselves comfortable outside. For example, when we introduced the idea of naps outside, we brought out their mats (no sheets or blankets) and almost no one resisted. We placed their water bottles next to their mats and just about everyone found some sort of flat rock or stump to put their water bottle on. It was okay to have their mats on the ground, but not their water bottles apparently. We had music playing and it turned into a lovely afternoon. Some children even fell asleep!
In the Sunshine Room, the classroom used morning meeting to check in with how all the children have been handling this big change.
Teacher: Why were we gone from school for so long?
Student: Because of the coronavirus. It’s a virus in your body, and it’s so small you have to see it with a microscope! If you do, it kind of looks like it has a crown on it. That’s why it’s call coronavirus. Get it? Because, well, corona means crown in Spanish. My mom told me that.
Student: Yeah. It’s like a circle with almost tentacles coming off of it… kind of like with eyeballs off the end of it.
Student: There’s also COVID-19.
Student: Did you know that COVID-19 is the same as coronavirus? And they’re testing different viruses on people to see if it saves people.
Student: Well, the germs can wash off in the water.
Student: Yeah, because the germs can spread out of your mouth and can get to other people, so you gotta wash your hands.
Student: You can wash it off your hands, but if it gets in your eye, like literally in your eye, you literally cannot get it out.
Student: Sometimes you have to wear a mask. My mom and dad got me a mask that is just for me, but mine is a little bit smaller than my mom and dad’s.
Student: I got a mask too! And my family has masks. Then the germs won’t go everywhere.
Student: Yeah, we can wear them because the germs won’t get out.
Student: Yep. And guess what? Germs are yucky. I don’t like ’em because germs are like stinky old socks! Ew!
We still have room for a couple more students (ages 2 to 8) this summer! If your family is in need of child care, contact Mollie at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and a virtual tour. We would love to get to know your family!