For years, the Community Preschool at Grace Cathedral has offered children and their families a safe, inclusive space for optimal learning and growing. During the shelter-in-place, administrators worked hard behind the scenes to pivot to online learning while still maintaining the same high-quality education and sense of inclusion. Now, five months after the start of the pandemic, with precautions securely in place, the Grace Cathedral Community Preschool reopened its doors on August 24.
It wasn’t an easy road
One can imagine the challenges online learning presents, especially as it relates to early childhood development, where interaction and exploration are key pillars of the curriculum. Thanks to Community Preschool Director, Brooke Giesen, and her dedicated team of teachers, however, the learning experience hardly missed a beat during the transition to online learning.
Daily Zoom meetings, as well as weekly check-ins for families to be able to express their feelings during these uncertain times, offered a true sense of community, despite the shelter-in-place mandate. It is this Grace community (and the knowledge, resilience, spirit and financial support they provide) that makes it possible to follow the city guidelines and create a healthy space for the Community Preschool to be able to open while so many other schools around San Francisco are unable to.
Building diverse classrooms and communities
The reopening of the preschool, with four teachers, one director and ten students on site, brings a renewed dedication to its equitable and inclusive mission: 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 who will benefit from a program that addresses the emotional, social, artistic, language, literacy, motor skills, scientific inquiry and critical thinking skills of every child.
While the pandemic has offered a host of challenges, it has also provided the opportunity for learning and growth. Transitioning to online learning, and now back to in-person education with social distancing guidelines in place, the Community Preschool is an extraordinary example of an early childhood program that prepares children not just for kindergarten success, but for life itself.
Thanks again to the families, supporters and teachers that have brought love and learning to these young students during this time of tremendous change and challenge. We appreciate you.
- Note: Due to the California fires and smoke, preschool students are staying solely indoors but will otherwise be able to go outside.