October 16, 2020

Hello Parkside Families!

I hope you have enjoyed your week! In this week’s blog I have included information about our health screen pilot, a follow-up from Friday’s Remind message and an update on Parkside duffel bags.

For the past 2 weeks we have piloted the health screening with two of our teachers who have children at Parkside. We feel that it would be best to try to add another layer of participants to get a bigger picture of how this will work if we have this as the new system in November. Therefore, beginning October 19th we would like all of our preschool classrooms: Big Sur, Yosemite and Olympic to complete a health screening for your child. If you have a child in attention to preschooler you are welcome to use the app for both children. To complete the health screening, you MUST download the kidreports app. You are required to bring your phone with you to drop-off so that you can record your child’s temperature and send it to us. Please let me know if you have any questions as we continue to learn how to use this new system.

On Friday I sent a message to all of our families about an unknown individual approaching our playground while children were on it. I had some questions from parents, which I thought are ones I would share with you on this platform. I realize that reading such a message can create many emotions for us. My focus is to make sure we have the safest protocols, and as much as I do want to think about scenarios such as these creating protocols to avoid them is my responsibility. I also welcome you to e-mail me with any other thoughts or questions.

Question: What are the protocols when a stranger approaches the playground?

Answer: We have created plans with the support and knowledge from Bangor PD. When someone is in close proximity of our playground is armed our best option is to hide. If we are close to the gate or the classroom doors then we will get inside as quickly as possible. Our teachers use walkie-talkies to communicate with managers inside. If there is an individual who is close proximity but is not armed the teachers will move the kids towards the doors, call for help from a manager and the manager will help get the class inside. Our managers will then call Penobscot County Dispatch to alert the situation.

Question: Do you inspect the outdoor play area before children go out to play?

Answer: Yes, a manager goes outside before the 9:00 recess to inspect the play area.

Next Thursday you will receive your Parkside duffel bag. This bag is specifically used for your child’s winter clothing. Our hope is that we will not have to search through the current bag you are using (which is already so big). Searching will be tedious and time-consuming for our teachers to take inventory of each child’s belongings. Please make sure that your child comes to school with their snowpants, 2 pairs of mittens, hat and boots. You may not need all of these items yet, but we will need a hat and mittens every day in your bag to have your child play safely outside.

This week I had an interesting situation occur that connected my personal and professional lives. My child loves to Facetime with our family-especially since we are not seeing them regularly at this time. On Sunday she was Facetiming while playing with her dolls when I hear from her relative “Aren’t you too old to play with dolls?” I thought this was such an interesting statement because as a parent I have seen her play evolve as she gets older from acting out scenes to now putting together outfits. But because she was using dolls to do this it was an inappropriate prop? Now, if I had it my way as the person who bought most of those dolls, she will be playing with them until she is 30! But that is beside the point: she enjoys playing with them. Interestingly enough I was reading on Sunday night my book “Play the Foundation of Children’s Learning” which in this chapter it talked about the expectation of materials children use as they move into the preschool classroom. In this section, the author, Lisa Murphy talks about finger painting. Finger paint is often looked upon as an activity for our toddler classrooms to use, but is not offered in our preschool classrooms. Why is that? Why do we think that a material such as finger paint will not be stimulating enough for children? Why do we think that they will not get anything out of the experience? Children ages 3-5 are exploring they are describing their art work; finger paint would be a great opportunity for children to have! As I put my book away I often feel that there are time when I dictating what Abby’s play looks like. As teachers I also feel that we are doing this, although we are continuing to work on changing our perspective that the best approach is child-led. How about you? Do you have these same feelings? Why are we rushing our children through stages of play when it provides some many fundamental skills for children and adults to have in life?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!