When we said good-bye to our Kindergarten children at Spring Break, we knew there was uncertainty about when we would return to school. But hopeful and ever-optimistic that we are, we thought perhaps we might all be able start together this past Monday. But over the past number of days, then weeks, with the steady cancellation of concerts, travel, professional sports, and provincial and national expectations to #stayhome #physicaldistance and #flattenthecurve, we now find ourselves in the unusual position of teaching remotely from home.
We count ourselves fortunate to be teaching and working in West Vancouver School District as communication has been excellent. We have known exactly what’s been happening in our district through our district and school’s broadcast videos, Microsoft Team meetings and emails. Because we are teachers with young children in our care, our concern is heightened for students and their families. We know and understand the importance of the daily routines for children and the structure and support that school provides for them. And us.
So what is it like to be working from home? Well, we’re kind of in the same position as most parents working from home (planning and tasks to be completed, virtual meetings and connecting with others) except that we don’t have young children living with us anymore. Instead, our University-aged children arrived at the front door a week or two ago with all of their laundry, assignments, projects and up-coming exams. Universities have closed and our kids are also learning remotely. Good thing we never took over their empty bedrooms to turn into craft and wrapping rooms. Suddenly, the kitchen is in operation 24/7 (lots of late night eating), the lights are on till late (watching Disney +) and the bathroom is really the last room left for privacy. And it is AWESOME that our kids are back.
For the first week of “school,” starting tomorrow, we’re going to be working on setting up personal learning spaces with our Kindergarten children, creating a homemade Math Their Way calendar and completing a few Easter activities. In our emails with parents, “routines,” “guidance” and “independent work” emerged as common themes as ways for us to support them at home. We’ve decided to provide a weekly overview of learning activities, and also create daily schedules for families who want more structure. We want to make learning available for our children but allow all families to take what works best for them during this time.
Our parents have told us their children are missing us (very tearful for everyone) and their classroom and friends. The children (and certainly all of us) want to know when will this all be over? Although none of us have the answer to that question, actions we can all take are to keep washing our hands, stay at home, and stay connected with our friends and family virtually.
To our dear Kindergarten children, we love you and we miss you so much. Be kind to your family. We are all in this together.