Q&A Phase 1: Planning for Re-opening

Q&A Phase 1: Planning for Re-opening

To better understand our health, safety and licensing requirements it is important to know that SLC is licensed as a Child Care Facility.  

 

Under what conditions will School for Little Children open for in-person learning in the Fall?
  • SLC is planning to re-open for in-person learning in September 2020. Under current guidelines, Child Care facilities are allowed to open during Phase 3 or Phase 4. Illinois is currently in Phase 3, and expected to move into Phase 4 on June, 26, 2020.
  • If we are unable to re-open on the planned first day of school, September 8th,
How will SLC ensure the safety of children and staff while at school?
  • Smaller class sizes.
  • Children/Staff will remain in stable groups at all times, and we will stagger movement throughout the building to accommodate social distancing.
  • Enhanced sanitizing & hand washing protocols.
  • Required face coverings for all adults, including parents and caregivers at drop off and pick up. It is also strongly encouraged that all children over the age of two wear face masks, when possible, though we realize this will be difficult for some children and from time to time. SLC will work with staff and families to assist children with this transition.
  • Signage throughout the facility on ways to prevent the spread of germs.
What will drop-off look like under the new guidelines?
  • Daily temperature checks for parents, children and staff upon entering the building.
  • Parents/Caregivers may enter the building but not the classrooms.
  • Staggered start times, to allow for social distancing.
  • Children must change into school shoes.
How do the guidelines from the CDC, IDPH and DCFS affect programming at SLC?
  • SLC is working to adjust the classes to accommodate all levels, but we may have to request changes for some families given the regulations we must follow.
  • For the first four weeks of operation, SLC must operate with reduced group sizes. All classes will begin with 10 children/2 teachers.
  • With DCFS approval, SLC will begin to increase class size (to a maximum of 15 children) in order to accommodate all of our interested families.
What are some additional changes in programming that families can expect?
  • Virtual Enrichment lessons, i.e. yoga or music, may be projected on a large screen in the classroom so the children can still experience enrichment activities with their peers, though the instructor may not be in the classroom.
  • We will suspend our programs for children under two (Little Explorers, Toddler Time or Baby & Me).
  • We will suspend our Early Care and Lunch Program as we get up and running. If allowed, we will try to introduce small lunch groups during the school year.

Missing all our SLC families!

Missing all our SLC families!

Dear SLC Families,

By now you have heard about the extended school closure through April 30th, and each day that we are apart feels like a tremendous loss.  And it is.  Humans are social beings and Early Childhood Education rests on the foundation of relationships and socialization.  It’s no wonder this feels hard.

We are currently going through a collective traumatic experience.  All of a sudden we are burdened with tremendous worry, new responsibilities, less productivity, and coping with uncertainty.  We were NOT prepared to become our children’s teachers (says this mom of two teens), work-from-home employees, or even more difficult unemployed.  All while being isolated from our human flock.  It’s no wonder this feels hard.

After reading this article, and in an effort to make this situation feel a little less hard, I started to wonder:  what if we lowered our expectations for ourselves, and for those around us?  What if we practiced more self-care and forgiveness? Allowed our parenting & work efforts to be good enough whatever they may be on a given day?  I don’t know about you, but life and work do not feel like business as usual to me.  Perhaps this is a mindset we should consider, when applicable.

One of the most frequently asked questions the SLC staff has received during school closure has been, “how can I structure my child’s day?”  It is true younger kids thrive with schedules and routine, and ideally it would be balanced with fun and free play.  The above article suggests to make a list of your families’ values, and to pick 2 activities each day.  The list might include:

  • Mind Activities (i.e. for a 3-year-old, doing a new puzzle)
  • Body Activities (building something with twigs outside, kicking around a ball)
  • Soul Activities (art, creativity, music)
  • Good Citizen of the House (chores like setting the dinner table)
  • Acts of Compassion (write a letter to a loved one, a community helper or someone who is isolated

What I love about this suggested framework is it actually feels feasible, and good for the soul.Before I sign off I want to remind our families that SLC is here for you!  Are you in need of a meal?  More face time with your teachers?  Looking to be connected to a resource?  Please reach out to us through the link below.  We miss you and want to remain as connected.

Until we are together again, sending all of you a BIG virtual hug.

Warmly,
Chrissy

P.S.  Wondering how to talk to kids about the Coronavirus? Discussing the coronavirus with children in age-appropriate ways, helps our kids learn to deal with adversity but very few of us feel equipped to do this. Here are a few tips from Child Psychologist, Dr. Colleen Cicchetti of Lurie’s Children’s Hospital.

Remote Learning Resources

Remote Learning Resources

Getting Creative

SLC is committed to keeping our children and families engaged in learning. We have been working on compiling a resource list that we hope you will find useful in the coming weeks. This list is a living document so if you have any resources you would like to share let us know and we can add to it.

Q&A with SLC

Q&A with SLC

Dear SLC Families,

As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, SLC remains committed to do everything we can to
help our families, our teachers, and the entire SLC community. Naturally, we have fielded a variety of
questions and wanted to collect our responses below for your convenience. As always, please feel free
to reach out if you have questions or concerns. The best way to reach us is to email:
questions@slcevanston.org Be safe, be smart, and be well

1. When will SLC reopen?

SLC will continue our practice of following the District 65 school calendar and therefore our
building will remain closed until District 65 reopens. The current school closure is scheduled
from March 16 through April 12. Our team is continuously monitoring developments from both
District 65 and public health administrators and will keep you posted as the situation evolves.

2. Is SLC still operating?

YES! Our administrative and teaching staff are still fully focused on the day to day operations of
SLC and have developed a variety of ways to remain engaged with our families. Our
administrative staff and teaching staff are now working remotely but remain available by email
during normal school hours, and our governing board has formed a COVID-19 Team that is
meeting regularly to evaluate the ongoing situation.

3. How is SLC taking care of its families?

Our families are of the utmost importance, and we plan to stay connected during school closure.
Your teachers will touch base regularly via an online community platform with videos, and
activity suggestions. Each classroom has a unique format, please reach out to your teacher if
you have any questions or difficulty accessing the information.
The school will continue with regular communication via Thursday Thoughts, daily Facebook
posts, and updates to our website; all of which will contain community resources, educational
weblinks and activity suggestions.

4. How is SLC taking care of its teachers?

We know that our wonderful teaching staff is what makes SLC great and why you entrust us
with your children’s early education. SLC teachers will be paid in full during the current school
closure and will remain as dedicated as ever to supporting your child’s development. We will
increase communication with staff, provide technology support, and offer mental health
consultation in collaboration with the First Presbyterian Church’s Parish Nurse.

5. How will SLC handle tuition for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year?

SLC will continue to operate, albeit in a different manner, during the current school closure and
we will maintain our current tuition schedule.
Please know that we will be working individually with families that are on financial assistance to
help them navigate these challenging times. We hope to resume our normal operations on April
13th after the current school closure. If that changes, we will evaluate the operating model and
tuition plan for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year at that time.

6. How will SLC handle registration and tuition payment for the 2020 Fun In The Sun summer camp?

SLC will continue registering and invoicing for the 2020 Fun In The Sun summer program but
acknowledges that the current situation may require a cancelation at a future date. In that case,
parents can expect a full refund of any tuition paid.

7. How will SLC handle registration and tuition payment for the 2020-2021 school year?

Registration will proceed as scheduled for the 2020-2021 school year. Tuition for the 2020-2021
school year, which would normally be invoiced April and due May, will be delayed one month.
We will communicate updates as soon as there is further clarity on the District 65 calendar for
the 2020-2021 school year.

8. How can I help the SLC community?

We have all been humbled and impressed by how communities band together in difficult times
and this era is no different. SLC Staff and parents have identified several ways to help those in
need…

  • Email questions@slcevanton.org to reach an administrator about a service you can offer other families, or with a request to fill a need you may have. We will do our best to connect available resources.
  • Join SLCs Facebook group, called School for Little Children Family Forum, to request support & resources from other SLC parents:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/slcparent/
  • Join Evanston Aid Facebook group, a community hub designed to help connect people to resources during COVID-19. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EvanstonAid/

COVID Follow-Up

COVID Follow-Up

A message from our staff

This morning the SLC staff conducted our first-ever remote meeting via video/phone call.  During the conversation we talked about what our work will look like over the next month, and discussed some of the ways we can stay connected to, and share resources with, colleagues and our SLC families.

As we all try to navigate new emotions, stress and uncertainty I continue to be impressed with the staff’s leadership, creativity and compassion.  We have remarkable teachers and they have generated a wealth of suggested activities and resources that they look forward to sharing with you soon.

That said, the message the staff wants our families to receive is this:  during this heightened time of stress and anxiety, it is important to focus on routines that meet your family’s basic needs for rest, nourishment and exercise (preferably outdoors). 

Once these needs are met, and based on what research shows, PLAY is the next best thing you can do for yourself and your children.  Read stories, bake, play games, act, sing, or build a fort.  We want it to be clear that any suggestions or resources you receive from SLC in the coming weeks are by no means an expectation, and are to be utilized (or not) in a manner that best suits your family.

So, what can you expect in the coming weeks from SLC?

  • The office will continue to send weekly communication via Thursday Thoughts.
  • Your teaching team will reach out to you regularly; they miss you and are looking forward to ongoing communication during school closure.
  • We will host parent/teacher conferences remotely, and they will consist of two parts:
    • You will receive your child’s Reporting Document via email by Friday.
    • Your teachers will follow up to schedule a time to have an OPTIONAL phone conference.

If there are families who have questions or specific needs, our school community is here to help.  Please send an email to questions@slcevaston.org.

Until we meet again, be well and stay safe.

Chrissy