June 19, 2020

Dear Elemetanry Families,

In regards to our new face covering policy, we know there are still many fears and questions. The email below was sent to staff today regarding the students wearing face coverings. We hope this will help to answer some of your questions and reassure you that the staff will be very sensitive to the children while they adapt to this change.
Thank you,

Margo S. O’Neill, M.Ed.
Head of School
Dear Elementary Staff,

I sent the attached letter to all primary and elementary parents regarding their children being required to wear face coverings beginning on Monday. This does not include toddlers or infants.

When we wear a mask, we are protecting others from us. When others wear a mask, they are protecting us from them. We want all of you to feel as safe as possible while you are at school working with the children. With physical distancing difficult to maintain at times, we believe this policy will help mitigate the spread of the virus among the Villa community.

We see the children becoming more comfortable with their face coverings over time. I ask that everyone handle this is a Montessori way – give lessons on how to wear them and how to take them off. We will approach this in the same way we teach them how to use a knife carefully or how to carry a tray with glass objects on it - with mindfulness and care. We give a lesson, allow them time to practice the skill, and then use gentle reminders. This practice falls under Montessori’s practical life and grace and courtesy curriculums.

If we have compassion for each individual child’s level of comfort with wearing a face covering, and continue to role model the use of them, in time this will become a normal part of their care of self, another key component to the Montessori philosophy.

We don’t have a lesson plan for this activity in our Montessori albums! If we did, it would include considerations for an orderly, safe, enthusiastic way of presentation so that the children are excited to practice the lesson over and over. As you consider your presentation, part of the lesson could involve comparing the wearing of a face covering to a superhero’s shield. We are all being safety superheroes when we have our face coverings on. 

In your presentation, please communicate to the children they do not need to have their face coverings on when on the playground, participating in physical activities, or during lunch. When inside, they can take a short break and remove their face covering only if they are 6 feet away from anyone else and are situated at their individual space.

Just as this was hard for us to do at first, it has now become second nature. Please keep this is mind as you continue to role model wearing your own face covering.

We encourage you to share your creative ideas around this practice with Jen Bailey at jbailey@villamontessori.com. Feel free to reach out to her as well should you need assistance or support in any way. 

Margo S. O’Neill, M.Ed.
Head of School
Villa Montessori School | Website