The Community Preschool at Grace Cathedral reopened its doors on August 24 after five months of distance learning. Now, with precautions in place, students are able to once again interact and explore.
Back on site
Teaching on site during the pandemic has offered a host of unexpected challenges, but thanks to Community Preschool Director, Brooke Giesen, and her dedicated team of teachers, the learning experience has hardly missed a beat. The preschool’s equitable and inclusive mission remains intact: to provide a balanced educational learning experience for children and their families from all socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, religious traditions, places of national origin, gender identity, ability and family structure.These students benefit from a program that addresses the emotional, social, artistic, language, literacy, motor skills, scientific inquiry and critical thinking skills of every child.
Equity and inclusion
The equitable and inclusive mission is on full display in a video taken on the 4th day of Preschool this year. “While these two children speak different home languages, Spanish and Thai, they enjoy an interaction together on the dizzy disk,” explains Giesen. “Even though they are wearing masks, they push and spin each other and take turns without spoken language.”
But even these simple interactions offer a dilemma for the teachers. “What if the Teacher had maintained 6ft social distancing? What if the Teacher has told the child to stop running inside? What if the Teacher had enforced disinfecting the dizzy disk in-between uses,” ponders Giesen. “These are the split second decisions Teachers are navigating these days which highly impact the interactions, development and joy children are able to have.”
Education and Care
All across the world, teachers are having to make these decisions, transitioning to a world of teaching they could never have possibly fathomed. Over six months ago, teachers had to pivot to online learning and figure out new ways to keep their students engaged. The Preschool has legally been able to be open since June 1 here in California, which is not the case for K-12. Preschool Teachers are having to balance an almost impossible balance of providing essential care for Families, doing their best to avoid financial collapse, keeping themselves, their families and their student safe from covid-19 all while trying to honor their professionalism of following developmentally appropriate practice.
Practice is the key word at this time, as Preschool Teachers are having to make adjustments to their practice that go against what they know to be best for children’s development. Practice has deeper meaning these days as Teachers continually try new ways, and make adjustments in order to best serve the needs of all of their students.
The Community Preschool gratefully acknowledges the generous foundations, corporations and individuals who help fund our annual operations. If you would like to join in supporting this high-quality, intentionally diverse program, please consider a gift to The Community Preschool today!
- PHOTO: Video screen-shot, Grace Cathedral staff