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Virtual Preschool

What does a virtual preschool look like, you might ask? This was one of my many thoughts when I had to close our amazing preschool on March 16.  How do we stay connected to our children who range in age from 3 months old to 5 years old? How do I support my staff both emotionally and financially at this unprecedented time?

In the past four weeks, the preschool teachers have risen to the challenge and used their creativity, passion, and knowledge of child development to connect with their students on a regular basis, through posts on Remini, phone calls, texts, video calls, and Zoom meetings. Teachers have stayed connected to their children by posting stories, videos, challenges, and photos on our communication app called Remini.  Parents in turn have commented and added their own photos and videos. The children have delighted in receiving FaceTime calls from their teachers.

In addition to the teachers reaching out to their individual classes, we as a school have met with the preschoolers and their parents everyday at 10:30am on an all-school Zoom meeting.  Each meeting begins with Ms. Linda singing, “We are Happy” which welcomes everyone to the meeting, followed by the Sh’ma. With Passover just days away, Ms. Gabie has retold the story of Passover throughout the week, teaching the songs that relate to each part of the story. Thank you to Ms. Hayley for writing the Passover script especially for the preschool. During the meeting, teachers took turns singing some of the children’s favorite songs, and teaching Passover songs. We were fortunate enough to have Amy Robinson Katz sing some songs with us too.  Thank you Amy, and thank you Aaron and Ezra for your help.

This past Shabbat, Rabbi Spitz joined us for a celebration and sang the Ma’ Nishtanah (4 questions). It was such a joy to see everyone singing together, even though the mute button was on! On Tuesday, the teachers led the children in a mini seder, going over the items on the seder plate, singing the Passover songs they have been learning over the last week, and searching for the afikomen.

I would like to thank each of the teachers for continuing to work so hard under these circumstances. In addition to everything they are doing for their students, they are also taking advantage of this time to participate in numerous professional development opportunities. A big thank you to Ms. Hong and Ms. Sophea in the Infant room, Ms. Gabie, Ms. Fritzi, and Ms. Denise in the Toddler Room, Ms. Hayley, Ms. Brittany, and Ms. Fereshta in Young Preschool, Ms. Cyndi and Ms. Vicky in Preschool, and Ms. Linda and Ms. Sarah in PreK. Thank you Nancy for taking care of all the administration tasks.

If you asked me before all this began if it was possible to have a virtual preschool, I would have said no, but now I am proud to say yes! Thank you again to the teachers from zooming forward with this new way of teaching.  Thank you to the parents for your continued support. From everyone here at the preschool, I wish you a Happy Passover!

Sharon Alkin