Greene Towne Fall Update, July 27, 2020
Dear Greene Towne families,
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost August! I’m writing with a brief update and affirmation of the plans we have in place for the coming school year.
My main focus in the past four months has been learning all that I can about the COVID-19 virus and the research about best practices to support the health and safety of young children and their teachers in early childhood educational settings. While every school has challenges to overcome, Greene Towne Montessori School’s plans are helped by our small school size, and our spacious classrooms.
As I shared in late June, we are preparing for three potential learning scenarios that will serve us well regardless of changes in local transmission rate in our immediate neighborhood and region. Large school systems, such as the School District of Philadelphia and K-12 schools, are forming plans to stagger student schedules and have dual virtual and in-person learning for children, who may be in school half of each week. Greene Towne’s class sizes and classroom spaces are such that we are able to have our full student body in person each day—our classes for 2020-21 are about the same size as half of a public school class. For the coming year, our Primary classes will be intentionally limited to no more than 21 children, aside from our Primary ADM classroom, which has ample space to support its group of 30. Our Toddler classes will be no more than 15 children.
In preparing for the coming school year, we have designed plans to effectively deliver our program in multiple scenarios that we can implement as needed. Each scenario fulfills the following principles:
- Prioritize in-person learning through flexible calendaring
- Minimize interactions through self-contained groups
- Increased health and safety protocols
Find the full strategy and detail of the learning scenarios that I shared last month here.
Our 2020-21 school year begins with a full week of In-service training for all faculty and staff beginning on August 31. We will be sending families a mailing in early August that will include the schedule for phasing in to classrooms during the week of September 8, as well as classroom placements, and a suggested staggered arrival time for the mornings to aid in efficiency with our health checks upon arrival.
This week marks the sixth week since we reopened our program to our year-round students on June 22. Our teachers and children have adapted remarkably to the increased health and safety protocols. In addition to energetic work cycles in their classrooms, children have enjoyed interactive video sessions with Soccer Shots, children’s entertainer Mr. David, and Mad Science. Teachers guide the children in proper ways to wear masks and frequent hand-washing, as they learn new ways to care for themselves and others.
While we have much to do in the next month to scale these practices and classroom modifications (such as partitions for the children’s tables) up for all of our classrooms, the ability to put our protocols into place and adjust as needed has been invaluable. In fact, many area schools which are planning for the coming year have reached out to Greene Towne as a leading resource.
If you have questions about our plans, please reach out to me or to Jennifer Coulter, Montessori Director/Dean of Faculty.
With growing excitement to see you all again, all my best,
Head of School