With schools closed, we’re offering “preschool in place.” This includes daily virtual connections with small groups of children using Zoom. When we first started, K’s mom said he was hesitant to participate. I encouraged her to help him give it a try. K quickly became invested in seeing his friends and engaging in all the activities. He’s become an enthusiastic contributor to the group–animatedly greeting each person by name at the beginning of our group, zestfully joining every activity, and lovingly saying goodbye to each participant before we log off.
At the beginning of class, children often share what they’ve been doing since our last online classroom. This is an opportunity to reconnect, affirm each child’s experience, notice common themes, and share ideas that families might opt to do at their own houses. When it is K’s turn, his face lights up. He boasts, “We got sand. LOTS and lots of it! We took our wagon and walked all the way there. Then we loaded it up with our shovels. And then I pulled the wagon all the way home.”
K’s describes an adventure beyond what I fully understand. Then it clicks. From our home visit a year and a half ago, I know K lives close to Mount Scott Fuel. I ask, “Oh, did you get it at Mt Scott Fuel?”
“Yes! And there were giant trucks there too! It was a lot of work and really fun.” K’s pride and joy is intoxicating. I want to jump right through the computer screen to be next to him. I want to hang out and play and joke and dig in his sand box together.
Here’s a glimpse of everyday outdoor play before this extended pause of retreating to our homes became the new norm.
K dashes across the play yard to match the red/rojo strip for our collaborative rainbow scavenger hunt.
K and his buddies hole up under the climber during hide and seek.
K & S punching holes in leaves to make necklaces.
K and J fill a digging machine.
And here’s HFP’s bustling sandbox.
“Preschool in Place” is clearly a far second to the rich and varied offerings of preschool together. And while I grieve the ways I cannot offer the fullness of what I’d like to offer these young friends, I find great comfort in noticing that K has already internalized the fundamental values of HFP –thanks to his loving family and our nearly two years together. We witness this success in K’s heartfelt fervor as he greets each of his classmates and teachers by name– at the beginning of each and every Zoom group, and then again as he says goodbye at the end of group. K clearly values human connections and invests in relationships. And while we’re apart, K and his brother get to dig in their home sandbox –a rich sensory experience reminiscent of HFP’s glorious sandbox.