As we enter the second week of in-person learning for kindergarten to fifth grade, we marvel at how our lives have changed. Each morning we gather on our red spots trying to maintain six feet of distance as we wait for the day to begin. Our building feels brisk and breezy with windows open wide and air purifiers humming.
Lunch out in the school yard finds us sitting on our red dots or upside down buckets and enjoying a picnic meal. Recess involves Brandon and Victor leading us in rigorous activities, sometimes in the ballfield, and yesterday, on Rapelye Street.
Walk by a classroom and you might hear the booming voice of a teacher doing a read aloud, but that teacher is not in the room. She’s on the screen, either zooming in from home or being featured in a video presentation to her class and in person crew leader. Walk by another classroom and children are working independently on devices with their crew leader. But in early childhood, blocks, pretend and art are still at the core of a child’s experience.
Throughout the day, the farm and mud kitchen, not to mention the jungle gym, are alive with the voices of children. School is in session. As James Stewart in Bill’s first grade said, “It felt really real.”
Meanwhile at home, other children are engaging on Zoom, reading, writing, creating and learning the power of technology. A reflection of a new age. Children are watching pre-recorded videos and doing assignments posted in google classroom. There are live morning meetings, lessons and closing circles happening throughout the day. Children are engaging in movement activities to make sure they are activating their bodies as well as their minds.
Somehow this is all happening because of the flexibility of our teachers. They have figured out how to be all things to all people, collaborating together, both here and there to make Pandemic School work for our children.
Teachers and educational assistants have rethought their work in order to make the impossible possible. On Zoom, we find our Math Coach, Shirley, our Computer Teacher, Beth, our Library Assistant, Karen, our SETSS teacher, Elissa, our Reading Intervention teacher, Heather, our Science Coordinator, Barbara and our Spanish teacher, Taura, zeroing in on a crew or two. In addition, many an educational assistant (Elizabeth, Portia, Rachel, Mignonne, Margaret, Renee, Laura, Miracle, and more) are also running Zoom meetings while interacting with our children.
Back in the building, Monique, our early childhood Health and Wellness teacher with her 26 years of experience, zeroes in on a group of first graders while many educational assistants (Khalisha, Shalisha, Adel, Aga, Kodjo, Celso, Sandy, Jessica, Polly, Joaquin, Rosa, Roxanna, Marcelle, Neil, Joanne, Kamaria and Salma) support small groups of students.
Our use of digital media, our use of outdoor space as well as this opportunity to be with small groups of kids are all showing us what we can do to grow and develop our young people during this traumatic time in their lives. As the year progresses, we will share with you what we are learning with the hope that you too will share with us both that which has supported your youngster’s growth and of course, that, which has gotten in the way. Together, we can make the best of a very difficult situation.
Talking about making the best, we can not thank David Seiter and his crew enough for helping to make the outdoor space a place for learning, playing, lunch, arrival, and dismissal. (Witness those blue sails, big rectangles, and red dots!) Fourth and fifth grade families, please note that we are moving your rectangles from Henry Street to Rapelye Street as we now have access to more of the block. We hope to have this ready by Wednesday.
All for now,
Anna and Diane and Malika
Quote of the Week:
Before starting in person at BNS, Rumi Nguyen, a new student in Valerie and Marisol’s kindergarten class was nervous and grumpy about having to go to school. He told his mom, “It’s boring. I am tired.” But when he got home, he was bouncing, talking about how much fun he had, and how much he likes BNS. He kept talking and talking all night long about loving his new school. Mom writes, “I know that it is the nature of things, for kids to love being with their peers and learning. But I have seen enough of how that joy can be ruined. So, thank you, for whatever you did today, to instill the joy of school in this kindergartener.”
Check the Konstella Calendar for class and whole school events.
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