Return to School – FAQs

Topics:

Blended Learning Opportunities
Optional Remote Learning
Montessori Learning in the Classroom “new normal”
Health and Safety Protocols FAQ
Before and After Care

What are the Blended Learning Opportunities?

Blended LearningBlended learning is a method which uses a combination of various resources to conduct alternative learning opportunities.  This may involve online learning as well as hands-on materials.

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What is Remote Learning?

Remote LearningRemote learning (aka distance learning) is when a student and an educator are not physically in a traditional classroom environment.  Learning happens through the use of technology, video conferencing, discussion boards, and online lessons.  In the event that there is another mandated school closure, online learning will be required.  Learning will continue remotely via our Brightspace platform Education Community.

Last term, when Dearcroft pivoted to online learning in response the Covid-19 pandemic schools closure we found a new opportunity to provide our high level of education to our students.  Dearcroft teachers provided excellent online learning for all our students that was above industry standards in our area.  With unique access to Desire 2 Learn (D2L.com) Brightspace platform.

How will the Optional Remote Learning be Implemented at Dearcroft Montessori School?

  • Keeping students engaged in learning outside of a traditional Montessori classroom.
  • Students who participate or are in a situation where they have to stay off of school due to illness or 14 day isolation, learning will continue remotely and students will receive a package home with hands-on material, a bi-weekly checklist and a schedule to connect to synchronous and asynchronous learning activities and lessons.
  • The programming offered to students will be a combination of individualized asynchronous independent work books, hands-on Montessori materials (depending on age and classroom), virtual lessons posted for math, culture and language.  Along with synchronous small group lessons, virtual social opportunities, check-ins, and scheduled individualized help, as well keeping in line with our tradition and culture we will be offering opportunities for students to join in virtually to participate in Art and Music with their peers for Grades 1 -8.

What do you mean by “Synchronous” and “Asynchronous”?

Synchronous learning happens in real time, using various online devices and platforms such as, facetime, Zoom, or virtual classroom.  This allows students to engage with teachers and stay connected, which supports the wellbeing of the student and helps build academic success.  By using these platforms in real time it supports the student and provides interactive lessons and immediate feedback from their teacher.  It also provides the opportunity to participate with classmates, which builds stronger social bonds and encourages open communication between student and teacher.

Asynchronous learning is done independently on the student’s own time at their own pace.  This is an independent, flexible work schedule.  Dearcroft Teachers will provide a combination of online lessons via Brightspace as well materials sent home that students can work on independently.

What are the advantages and challenges of remote learning?

While there are challenges to online learning for students at the elementary levels, such as increased parent support and involvement, there are also opportunities.  Online learning creates independent, self-directed learning through a guided curriculum.  It will also foster an increased level of being responsible for one’s own work, which is something most students do not get to experience until they are much older.   Other advantages include:

  • Flexible work schedule, work at your child’s pace and ability.
  • Unique learning experience from the safety of your home.
  • Access to Dearcroft’s high quality curriculum.
  • Access to material at your convenience.

Online learning does not have to be screen time driven, and while computers are necessary, much of the actual learning and work is done the same way as traditional in class learning.  Dearcroft’s online teaching staff will be available to combine online learning with face-to-face instruction to provide a blended instruction for your child.

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Montessori in the ClassroomMontessori Classroom

We are excited to welcome our new and returning students back to school this September 2020.  We have spent the summer preparing for reopening so that our school is a safe, warm, and educational environment for your child.  While some things are different, we remain true to our Dearcroft culture and continue as a leading Montessori environment that fosters inquiry and experiential learning.  It is our goal to draw out and inspire the best in our students as we provide them with opportunities to create, explore and learn.

Last Term when Dearcroft pivoted to online learning in response the Covid-19 pandemic schools’ closure, we found a new opportunity to provide our high level of education to our students.  Dearcroft teachers provided excellent online learning for all our students at a level far beyond what was experienced by most students in our province.  We were very impressed and appreciative of the level of commitment by all participants.  Brightspace will remain as our main source of communication with our parents during the school year, as well as a portal for additional curriculum enhancement and access to important school documents and supplementary learning.

While we will adhere to all government and public health directives for all students and staff, we will also maintain our warm and caring Dearcroft environment.

FAQ – These will provide some insight into our plans under the current guidelines.  Please note that Dearcroft will be adhering to a plan of smaller size cohorts in the interest of the safety and health of all our students and staff.

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Health and Saftey Protocals FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

RETURN TO SCHOOL

(What every parent wants to know…)

  1. MY CHILD REALLY WANTS TO GO TO SCHOOL! IS DEARCROFT GOING TO REOPEN?

Yes! DEARCROFT will reopen for in-school learning for all students.  Our first day of school is Wednesday, September 9, 2020.

Online learning will be available for those students who cannot return.

  1. ARE YOU GOING TO BE OPEN EVERY DAY, ALL DAY?

Yes! DEARCROFT will operate Monday – Friday:

8:30 am – 3:30 pm Toddler

8:45 am – 3:30 pm Casa

8:45 am – 3:45 pm Elementary & Junior High

Our Arrival and Dismissal Policy has been amended with new Covid-19 protocols, and this will be outlined in the Parent Handbook: Covid-19 Edition.

  1. I KEEP HEARING ABOUT “HYBRID” SCHOOLS.  IS THAT WHAT DEARCROFT IS GOING TO DO?

NO! DEARCROFT recognizes that children (and parents) want a consistent daily routine.  We will be in school every day.

  1. WHAT ABOUT BEFORE CARE AND AFTER CARE?

Before/ After Care is currently not available at this time.  We are awaiting public health guidance to make sure we can conduct this program safely with mixed cohorts.  In the meantime, we recommend that families look into alternative arrangements if at all possible.

  1. I AM CONCERNED ABOUT HEALTH AND SAFETY.  WHAT IS DEARCROFT GOING TO DO TO ENSURE THAT MY CHILD STAYS HEALTHY?

DEARCROFT has spent the summer reorganizing, cleaning, and fitting some of our classrooms (other than Toddler and Junior High) with protective temporary clear curtain dividers to create separate space for each cohort.  We have incorporated all the new policies and protocols from the Province and local health authorities.

  1. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Every family must submit a same day symptoms self-checklist before coming to school (Google form), also noting the child’s temperature.  As required, staff may also need to take a child’s temperature and/or screening daily upon arrival.  Hand sanitizing will take place for each child daily upon arrival.  The procedures will be outlined in the Parent Handbook: Covid-19 Edition.

Each classroom cohort will have 15 children for Toddler and Casa, and 16 children for Elementary and Junior High, plus teachers.  This is subject to change.  Each cohort forms a ‘bubble.’

There will be no intermingling between cohorts.  Besides remaining bubbled within the classrooms, this also includes shared spaces, such as hallways, washrooms, recess areas, etc.

Entry into the building will be done at your child’s classroom door, or staggered at the main entrance, to allow each cohort to enter separately.  Departure will also allow for each cohort to exit the building separately.

Only students and staff will be permitted into the building.  Parents will say goodbye at the car and will not be allowed to enter the school.  Parents will remain in their car for drop-off and pickup.  All non-essential visitors will not be permitted to enter the school.

DEARCROFT must forego our longstanding practice of greeting every child with a handshake.  There will no longer be any contact-greetings at the door.

Sadly too, we must also discourage the after-school socializing of parents and children that takes place in front of the school.  While we appreciate the camaraderie that occurs, the integrity of the cohorts must be maintained.

  1. MY CHILD’S CLASSROOM HAD MORE THAN THE COHORT.  WHAT HAPPENS THEN?

Where necessary, provisions have been made for splitting the classes with ancillary space created for the second cohort.  Teaching teams will be split and rotate as permitted.  See video link https://youtu.be/eXx68BCKxTk which shows the protective dividers for each cohort within some of our classrooms.

  1. WHAT ABOUT SOCIAL DISTANCING? PPE?

Physical distancing and PPE regulations will be implemented following best practices and guidelines.

  1. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Children and staff will be practicing social distancing both indoors and outdoors.  We will be following guidance from public health.  Senior Elementary and Junior High children must have their own masks for indoor use at school.  Based on recommendations from health care officials, we have recently made the decision for all Elementary age students to use masks, as an additional step to make sure our return to school is as safe as possible.  All students Grade 1 through to Grade 8 will wear a mask while indoors. It has been mandated that all staff must wear masks while indoors and when in close proximity to a child, such as when providing personal care, comfort, one-on-one assistance, etc.

Frequent and thorough hand washing will be practiced and closely monitored.  Montessori lessons for new protocols (i.e. washing hands) will be presented to all levels.  Thorough sanitization and cleaning procedures will be strictly followed.

  1. WHAT MODIFICATIONS ARE BEING MADE IN THE CLASSROOMS?

As mentioned, in addition to organizing material we have fitted some of our classrooms, other than the Toddler class, Casa South and Junior High, with protective temporary clear curtain dividers to create separate space for each cohort.  Please refer to the attached video.  We are working hard to maintain the integrity of our Montessori classrooms.  We’ve always had scattered tables spread widely apart, and the number of children at each will be limited to their cohort.  Work done on washable floor mats provides a natural separation between children.

Each child will have their own labeled kit of labeled classroom supplies.  There will be no sharing and mixed users of these supplies.

Children will continue receiving individual, small group and whole cohort lessons, as before, while practicing social distancing.  Montessori methodology will be maintained.

All materials and surfaces will be disinfected frequently as required.

  1. HOW WILL BATHROOM BREAKS BE HANDLED?

Cohorts will not intermix and bathrooms will be cleaned between cohorts.  Surfaces will be disinfected frequently throughout the day.

  1. WILL THE CHILDREN SPEND MORE TIME OUTDOORS?

Yes! DEARCROFT will make full use of our beautiful campus.  There will be designated spaces for each cohort, to be used as an outdoor learning area.  Lessons and activities will be conducted outdoors as much as possible, weather permitting.

  1. WILL THE CHILDREN STILL HAVE RECESS?

Of course! The cohorts will remain separated during recess.  Unlike the outdoor learning areas, which will be fixed locations, the recess areas will be rotated as needed to offer maximum variety of activities.

There will be no contact games or sports.  Children will be encouraged to be creative in finding new ways to play together while apart, and they will be supported by staff.

  1. WHAT ABOUT SNACKS AND LUNCH TIME AT SCHOOL?

There will be group snack for all levels.  In Toddler and Casa, snack will be administered by a teacher.  Unfortunately, we will no longer be able to do self-serve at the snack table.  For Elementary and Junior High, students are to bring their own snacks and a group snack time will be implemented.

As always, there will be no sharing of food, nor communal platters or utensils.  At this time, participation in the hot lunch program will be limited to Toddler and Casa age students only.  We will advise as to when this may be made available to Elementary students.  Children participating in the hot lunch program, which includes all full day students under the age of 3.8 years, will have their food prepared and served in individuals portions by a designated staff member.  Real Food for Real Kids (RFRK), also has a strict set of guidelines which will be outlined in the COVID Parent Handbook.  No children will be responsible for the preparation or serving of any food this year.  Children who bring a lunch from home should use a lunch bag that can be easily cleaned each day.

  1. WHAT IF A CHILD GETS SICK WHILE AT SCHOOL?

Should any child exhibit any sign of illness, a staff member, in PPE (mask, gloves, visor) will immediately escort the child out of the classroom.  Parents will be notified and required to take the child home immediately.  An isolated room has been designated as the waiting room, and the staff member will remain with the children until they are picked up.  We will follow guidelines from Halton Public Health with respect to a child’s return date to school.

No child with visible signs of illness will be permitted to attend school.  Please make alternate arrangements should you not be able to stay home with or pick up your child at school.

  1. WHAT IF YOU HAVE TO CLOSE AGAIN?

Last year, when DEARCROFT pivoted to online learning in response the Covid-19 pandemic school closure, we found a new opportunity to provide our high level of education to our students though our Dearcroft.Brightspace.com online learning platform.  Should schools close again our curriculum will be delivered via Brightspace.

  1. I STILL WANT MORE INFORMATION! HOW CAN I LEARN MORE?

We have anticipated this, and we will be providing the following before school begins:

  • The Parent Handbook: Covid-19 Edition; a detailed and comprehensive guide for reopening.
  • Back to School information including: school calendar, classroom teachers and staff, new student visits, start dates, uniforms, screening procedures and other details.
  • Educational videos of our school and classrooms brought to you by your child’s teachers and available for viewing on Dearcroft.Brightspace.com.
  • Parents will be informed of changes and new developments on an ongoing basis.

Before and After Care

Before / After Care is currently available at this time.  To find out more about this information please contact the office.

The Ministry of Education and Public Health have confirmed that before school and after school programs may resume.  Before / After School Care is only available only to students in Casa or Elementary levels, who register for the full year.  For health and safety reasons, there will not be any occasional drop-in care options available this year.  We will be using the outdoor environment of for these programs as much as possible, weather permitting.  When indoors we will be using the gym and will ensure physical distancing measures are in place.

The hours for before school care are 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. and the after school hours are 3:45 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Before and After Care Inquiries:

Shari Nelson | Director of Marketing and Communications
Dearcroft Montessori School
416-254-2934
s.nelson@dearcroft-montessori.com

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DEARCROFT CAN ONLY BE AS HEALTHY AS EVERYONE OF OUR FAMILIES

Our success will be ensured only by the mindful compliance of safe practices by every family.  We will be stronger as a united community, and therefore, it is now more important than ever, to work together to help avoid spreading illness of any kind.  If you or a family member are sick, please keep your child(ren) at home.  It will take the entire DEARCROFT Community to operate a healthy and joyful school.

Thank you all for your support!

DEARCROFT is uniquely poised to march forward in today’s new world, by remembering Dr. Montessori’s words…Education is a work of self-organization by which human beings adapt themselves to the conditions of life.

Maria Montessori, Education for a New World; published 1946

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