Williamsburg Northside Preschool – 2’s, 3’s, and Pre-K Reopening
While we are taking every precaution to keep our students, staff, and faculty safe as we return to school, the new classroom setup will not affect our teaching philosophy. Our philosophy is both child centered and community based. The teachers and staff at the Preschool are warm, nurturing, relationship- and connection-driven experts in child care and education, and we do rely on close proximity and even physical contact with the people in our immediate community as we set out to do the work that we do with these youngest learners. For this reason, we are considering classrooms be isolated ‘pods’ of people who are deemed ‘safe’ to one another.
The possibility of restricting or reducing physical contact was worrisome, but the Health and Safety Task Force has been working in the school building for a few weeks now, considering all the recommendations and guidelines for reopening schools, and have found ways that we might organize and structure daily classroom life to best adhere to guidelines and recommendations about distancing and safety in a way that prioritizes the health and safety of our children and teachers, while also not detracting from the social-emotional quality of children’s experiences. Think certain classroom centers being mobile, utilizing the whole classroom for snack and lunch times, and more.
The changes we will have to make will ideally not take away from or change our teaching philosophy. The current state of our world might prioritize taking more space and attending more vigilantly to hygiene, but we don’t believe that adhering to new guidelines will prevent us from our collaborative, explorative, child centered, but teacher facilitated work in our Reggio-inspired classrooms.
We will be relying on our expert staff, faculty, and administrators to keep whole group collaboration and experiences alive while prioritizing the health and safety of our children and greater community.
There will just be extra steps involved. The end result will be the same, but the process might look different.
New Rooftop Playground
We will also be utilizing our newly renovated rooftop, outdoor playground. This is a great space for allowing kids to safely exercise while social distancing in an outdoor environment. We will also be utilizing this space for outdoor classes as well. Classes will be able to hold assemblies, read alouds and engage in project work using this space for extended periods of time.
Staggered Arrival and Dismissal
- As previously communicated, we will stagger arrival and dismissal times. We will need families to partner with us and commit to being as disciplined as possible in sticking to their assigned time frame. At this time, we imagine three 15-minute intervals that may start at 8:15 am and end by 9:00 am. We will have two to three classes assigned to each 15-minute interval. Dismissals should correspond respectively.
- There will be one clear route in the morning that will include dropping off your child’s lunch box, storing your stroller, and heading up stairwell B to drop off at second or third-floor classrooms. Caregivers will then exit down stairwell A and leave through the side door of the lobby (please refer to video for more details).
- Half-day children will not eat lunch at school. In order to decrease the number of children eating lunch at school, we will ask that half-day children refrain from bringing lunch for the first half of the school year. We plan to review the plans for the second half of the school year.
- Please note, we continue to be a nut-free school. We may ask parents packing lunch to supply utensils that can be packed and sent back home in order to reduce the need to sterilize our metal utensils at the end of each day. Although plastic utensils will be available on-site, we hope to reduce the use of plastic as much as possible.
- We will provide a healthy morning snack and afternoon snack for those staying for after school or extended care. Families will have the option of bringing their own snacks from home as well.
- We may ask families to bring a water bottle for their child each day. Teachers will refill them as needed with filtered water throughout the day.
- We continue to plan for a reduced number of children per class and the overall number of adults on campus at any given time. Our assumption is 10-12 children per class. The final determination will be set forth by the DOH in the coming weeks (please see included video for more plans on classroom structure).
- Music classes will push into the classroom. We are working with our music teacher on creating music bags for each child to reduce sharing materials between classrooms. Items may include egg shakers, scarves, etc.
- Our art teacher will be putting together a set of art tools for each child to keep in the classroom for everyday use. As per usual, when our art teacher pushes in for her art session, she will bring a set of materials for each child.
Northside has identified 35 make up days within our school calendar. The vast majority of these days backfill the second half of the academic school year in response to
any State or NYC mandated delayed start or school closure.
- During any state regulated closure period, Northside teachers will not be working remotely, and there will be no offering of online instruction. However, pre-recorded content will be provided by the school. Makeup days will count when campus is physically open.
- In the event that school is Mandated by the State of NY to close for a longer period of time due to Covid 19, which results in less than 160 school days provided by Williamsburg Northside Preschool, Northside will provide a calculated daily credit to families based upon their contract. The maximum credit available is up to 20% of the contract value, calculation methods to be determined by the school, and can not be combined with the use of Dewar Insurance. Families will be eligible to return to campus when in-school operations resume.