It is a demanding task to find the balance of keeping people safe, of adhering to the EEC guidelines, and of continuing to provide a daily routine that respects the way children learn and allows them the room to explore, touch, and discover. This is our preliminary plan for Fall 2020 based upon the current State Guidelines, which may be subject to change.
Masks are NOT REQUIRED for children under the age of 2nd Grade, which includes all the children enrolled at Woodside.
Teachers will be required to wear masks throughout the day, as will parents and caregivers during pickup and drop off transitions.
However, it would be helpful to have your child become familiar with wearing a mask occasionally, and with seeing the adults in their lives modeling safe practice. We also encourage you to have your children wear masks upon arrival and during departure to show consideration and to keep other families safer.
We are trained through the EEC and practiced at Deep Cleaning, and we will continue to follow cleaning, sanitation, and disinfection protocols with additional levels of safety. Surfaces are appropriately disinfected before arrival, continuously throughout the day, before and after eating, after dismissal, and as needed. In addition, we have large windows that open in all classrooms and an up-to-date ventilation system.
Supervised Hand Washing will continue to be required immediately upon arrival, throughout the day following specific activities, before eating, after eating, before dismissal, and as needed, using running water and soap. Hand sanitizer will be available, but actual hand washing will be preferred practice.
Individual Materials will be provided as much as possible to reduce crossover, with each student having his/her own bag of crayons, pencils, scissors. This was already available in some of our classes and will be easily integrated throughout our school community. Where materials require shared use, increased sanitation methods will occur.
(These policies are similar to previous requirements and thus are already part of our usual routine)
Group Size/Student Cohorts:
The current EEC guidelines do not limit group size but do contain directives to help children remain within a consistent group of students with a consistent teacher, with recommendations regarding teachers moving between groups of students. What does this look like for us?
Children will remain with their Primary Teacher(s) for the duration of their school day, including their lunch and extended hours when scheduled.
Siblings will remain together to limit a family’s exposure level as much as possible, leading to the natural creation of Multi-Age Groups.
Woodside has approached teaching through providing open-ended activities that offer a range of developmentally appropriate opportunities, allowing teachers to be able to support each child’s individual abilities and next steps. This is developmentally appropriate practice and has been the model used since the formation of our school. It honors each child’s individual progression of learning and skill acquisition. We have always built in times for multi-age play, as the benefits of these experiences have been well-documented. We can best adhere to the EEC cohort guidelines without compromising a child’s learning by creating these multi-age groups.
Activities will be designed to allow room for the individual skill needs for each child and will be appropriately expanded to his/her unique skills, learning style, and developmental progression.
For example, we often provide opportunities for story writing. For our youngest students, this can include being read to, reciting known stories, discussions of basic story components, dictating stories with prewriting symbols and drawings, and hand grasp instruction. For our older students, this same opportunity would include all of those things and also be expanded to include more detailed discussion regarding character development and plot, recognition of sight words and early reading skills, further dictation and story development skills, and drawing and writing components with increased independence. Each child’s finished story would look different as it would speak directly to his/her own individual developmental needs.
We have followed strict guidelines for years surrounding food, being well prepared by the need to keep children with severe food allergies safe and included. These include sanitizing surfaces before and after eating, using individual placemats as secondary safe surfaces and visual boundaries for food, individual servings using serving utensils and containers, handwashing before and after eating, adult supervision during eating at all times, and strict labeling and storage.
In addition to these measures, children will be eating only within their cohort of students and with their primary teacher(s), and increased space will be given so that each student will have more distance between other children and staff.
EEC has recommended that we do not use the microwave for heating up lunches.
Pick Up/Drop Off:
At this point in time, no adults outside of staff are allowed inside the school building. Due to these requirements by the EEC, our transitions to and from school will look a little different.
We encourage families to arrive in a staggered fashion, between 8:50 – 9:15. Our goal is to reduce overlap and exposure. Parents are expected to honor physical distancing requirements.
Departure will be 11:40 – 12:00. We will have this staggered drop off or pick up opportunity to allow for some daily parent/teacher interaction to ensure continued high levels of connection between staff and families.
Other forms of communication to ensure that families feel connected to their child’s day at Woodside will continue to be used, including a blog and/or regular class emails/newsletters, individual email and/or phone discussions, ongoing photo documentation through individual portfolios, and updates via our social media outlets.
Increased Outdoor Time:
It is readily accepted that Covid-19 exposure risks are decreased when outdoors. We have also always understood the benefits of outdoor spaces so will continue to embed our curriculum into these spaces. We will have Increased Time Outside, creating additional ways for our developmentally appropriate learning to occur outside. These learning opportunities will focus on all areas of development and will continue to allow for individualized skill acquisition and support.
Students who are enrolled in the Woodside Kindergarten may attend full day or just the afternoon session, which is scheduled from 12:00-4:00. Kindergarten students who arrive for the morning session will become part of the Mixed-age group. Curriculum is individualized and meets the MA state standards.
We hope to see many of our Woodside families back in class this fall.
Stay safe. Stay well,
Nancy and all the teachers