We are learning to connect in new ways as we communicate through a screen and savor laughing and growing together. During this remarkable period, it is comforting to know that we are all in this together; stretching and learning while we collaborate to help children feel safe in a world that transformed overnight.
Each day of the school week, students escape the coronavirus cloud by connecting with their classmates and teachers while studying from home. During the second week of Jacksonville Country Day School’s remote learning expedition, a Kindergarten parent shared that her son was so happy to hear it was time for school that he ran to his room, quickly put on his school uniform, and then skipped to his computer. When he saw his teacher on his iPad, his face lit up with a smile and his eyes filled with tears of joy.
The continuity of learning and the consistent relationships with peers and teachers help our students escape an uncertain era and enter into the magical world of guided inquiry and exploration. We applaud JCDS teachers who create transformative learning experiences designed to help children feel safe while fostering their love for learning. It is remarkable how our teachers efficiently moved their instructional spaces from their classrooms to their homes! Within days, students, parents, and teachers learned new technology skills and connected in unexpected ways. We met each other’s pets, discovered each other’s study spaces at home, and marveled at the capabilities of technology. Many students began to create pandemic journals to document our collective journey, families composed music together, and we all sighed a sense of relief during our first Zoom meetings when we heard students’ voices and laughter again.
The JCDS remote learning protocol has been intentionally unveiled in incremental steps to address the learning curve. Each day we implement this process with increased skill as teachers collaborate with parents to meet our families’ unique needs during these challenging times.
Ms. Thompsen, who teaches 2nd grade recently shared, “I'm so happy with the way our team of teachers and associates are working together. We have Zoom planning meetings, and it's comforting to know that we have such strong relationships. We're sharing what worries us, celebrating what's working, and sending tons of funny memes to keep us laughing!”
We applaud our teachers who record daily videos of their lessons so families have the flexibility to develop an individualized schedule to accommodate their day. Social-emotional lessons, facilitated by both the classroom teachers and the School Counselor, Lindsey Powell, hone students’ positive mindsets and help children manage anxiety during uncertain times. Specialists also share daily lessons that engage students in movement, music, art, science, Spanish, STEM, PE, and outdoor activities.
A mother with a daughter in 1st grade said: “Even in these trying times, JCDS has kept Ella connected to her teachers, class, and friends through interactive online meetings and get-togethers. We’ve always appreciated the love and support JCDS shows regularly but it has become especially important to our family and Ella during the pandemic.”
The JCDS spirit, demonstrated by students, parents, and teachers, is inspirational as we help and encourage each other to pioneer through a new frontier. As we have for 60 years, JCDS will continue to be a strong community of learners who find great solace in our connections, the fascinating process of intellectual exploration, and persevering through uncharted waters.
— Tricia Finkenberg
Learning Design and Curriculum Coordinator