Dear Children School Parents,
How exciting that the 2021-2022 school year is officially underway! Our students have had a great first few weeks, filled with laughter, learning, friends and Fall Adventure activities. These age-appropriate expeditions, in particular, would not have been possible without the planning and support received by our teachers and Parent Education Leaders (PELs). Thank you – we couldn’t have done it without you!
Outdoor educational experiences, like Fall Adventure, play a large part in fulfilling our School’s mission of preparing students for a dynamic world. As the world around us continues to change, relationships between students, among students and teachers, and between adults remain at the heart of resiliency to changes. Each academic year, we focus the first several weeks of school on establishing and anchoring such fundamental relationships both in and outside of the classroom. As legendary early childhood educator Loris Malaguzzi once said, “Relationships and learning coincide within an active process of education. They come together through the expectations and skills of children, the professional competence of adults, and, more generally, the educational process.”
Relationships are likewise crucial for another, albeit potential, aspect of our Children’s School curriculum: eLearning. CSS teachers plan their online lessons with the same dedication and passion as with in-person learning and expect the same from our families with regard to student attendance and participation. As with in-person learning, recurring absences and tardiness in times of eLearning can impact the overall learning process and are considered disruptive to the remainder of the class. To be respectful of others and the relationships forged with our classmates, it is equally as important for students to keep their video camera on at all times and to raise their hand when volunteering to participate in a classroom conversation.
While we all hope to continue in-person learning for the entirety of the school year, we would be remiss if we did not plan for the possibility of a shift to eLearning. In addition to the all-school eLearning email distributed to the entire CSS community last week, you can expect to receive information on accessing your child's Google Classroom, and more, from your respective Children's School teacher next week. Advance preparation will ensure all families have the ability to successfully log-on to their child’s respective online classroom.
This year, Google Classroom and Google Meet will serve as the primary means of secure data sharing and presenting in the event that eLearning should occur. In an effort to ensure student's social and emotional health, each child's daily schedule will restrict the amount of time students spend online. To accommodate this need for decreased screen time, be advised that co-curricular classes may be scheduled to meet on an alternate A- and B-week rotation, as reflected in each teacher's respective classroom schedule.
I encourage you to not only familiarize yourself with the eLearning FAQs shared last week, but also to review the following on what you can expect in your students first day of eLearning should this pivot be required in the Children's School:
- An 8 a.m. Morning Circle (9 a.m. if it is a Wednesday) will occur online, and should be used as a time to gather as a class and share assignments for the day. Our intention is a “soft start” so that everyone can ease into eLearning.
- Teachers will assemble bags (PreK–1) and crates (Grades 2–5) containing school supplies needed for your child to continue with at-home eLearning. These “care packages” will be available for pick-up between 3 and 3:45 p.m. that day, in the same fashion and order followed during your regular carline each afternoon. Should you require that a neighbor or friend collect these supplies for you, kindly alert your child’s teacher in advance.
I hope this gives you an even better idea of what will happen should we need to pivot to eLearning at any point this year. Though a challenge for us all, even in the midst of eLearning we will aim to maintain the relationships developed thus far. As a means of strengthening your own relationship with your child, and to ease the burden that eLearning can place on families while at home, I’d like to share with you this Giant List of Ideas for Being Home with Kids, including fun activities for spending time with your children, not just during eLearning.
Again, thank you for your continued support of the Children’s School and CSS. Should you have any further questions pertaining to the information shared above, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.