Did you ever wonder what a preschool looks like during a Pandemic? Classrooms look very different this year, yet, somehow, so many things remain the same. Here’s a glimpse into our first weeks of the year at Grace.
We reopened our doors to students at Grace on September 1st. After spending the summer months planning and preparing for what this new normal might look like, we were all pleasantly surprised and thankful that most of what we know to be true about our littlest learners remained constant. Children need to feel safe. Children need to feel loved. Children need to be known. Our focus since school opened has really been social/emotional learning.
The boys and girls love telling their teachers about their lives. The teachers enjoy hearing their stories, and it has been an absolute delight to see kids connecting with each other, collaborating with their peers, and playing with their friends – socially distanced and masked, of course.
We are all quite proud of our students at Grace. They wear their masks, they respect social distancing rules, and they have taught us fun and interesting ways to safely interact with their buddies. The teachers are working harder than ever before. They have to disinfect, monitor high touch surfaces, ensure that each child is using his/her belongings, all the while teaching developmentally appropriate content. The children however, have not missed a beat. It is obvious to us all at Grace that they were ready to get back to school, and we are thrilled to have them back in the building!
Play has always been a huge part of our day at Grace. When we decided to reopen, we were met with the challenge of providing opportunities to play in a safe and controlled way. We partnered with a disinfection company, and THE CLEAR team taught our entire staff how to disinfect toys, centers, and any and all things that children come into contact with on a daily basis. Along the way, we discovered a few amazing things; children LOVE to play, and when they have dedicated time to play with a few things, their imaginations blossom. We have never been more assured of how important learning through play really is in early childhood.
Outdoor education has taken off at Grace. We are fortunate to have outdoor spaces for each cohort. Whenever possible, the boys and girls eat lunch and snack outside, and they have two outside recesses a day. Our Five Day Four and Kindergarten students also have PE outside every week.
Even our boys and girls in the Threes do a fantastic job keeping their masks on in the building. We do let them have mask breaks during the day when they are outside, and we can ensure that they are safely six feet apart. Plexiglass in the classroom is still unsettling for teachers, but it has really helped provide physical reminders for the children to play near their friends but with their own toys.
Want to learn more? Enrollment for the 2021-2022 year begins in October. Visit gracepreschoolbaltimore.com for more information.