It’s the middle of March, the sun is out past 4 o’clock and you’re most likely rushing to go pick up the kids from preschool. You check your Facebook at the red light and can’t help but see articles about COVID-19 popping up here and there. Another couple seconds of scrolling and you slowly forget about that headline and continue on with your busy night. Your brain is focusing on dinner, hockey practice, getting the kids bathed. You may have even considered washing your hair but then laugh at that cute thought and continue to drive.
Boom. A global pandemic is now suddenly at your front door and you’re unemployed, a home school teacher, and chef on top of all your other duties you had before you had to be with your family for 24 hours straight. You’re worried for the health and safety of your children even more than you already were.
Can we share with you how the shut down looked like for us?
We had a staff meeting in the middle of March like we do quarterly. We did our housekeeping as usual and the topic of COVID-19 was brought up. We all really weren’t too concerned with it. We told our team, “Keep up with your hand washing, sanitize everything and just keep doing what you know how to do.” Little did we know just days after our world would turn upside down.
Our phone was flooded with concerned parents. Emails came pouring in with parents seeking answers we didn’t have. There is no “How To Handle A Pandemic” pamphlet for business owners, though we bet someone is working on one now. Then as more fear set in, we started getting notices for our babies. We get it, but it hurt so bad. No job means no money for preschool tuition and you all didn’t have a choice.
Babies that we’ve had since they were babies were leaving us. It wasn’t supposed to “end” like that. We’re all suppose to cry together at graduation wondering how the past 5 years flew by so fast! The kids were suppose to happily leave with their tassels in hand, eager to head off to Kindergarten. It’s never easy to say goodbye, but usually we’re able to say goodbye…
Slowly but surely, our classrooms became quieter and quieter. When the Stay At Home Order was issued, the decision to temporarily close was made. So many tears were shed when our administration broke the news to the entire team. If you’ve had the opportunity to know our team for more than 5 minutes, you’d know that we’re a family. How could we handle being away from each other? We’ve never done such a thing before. We’re a bunch of aunts to each other kids, therapists when life calls for it, and each other’s biggest cheerleaders. So not only do we not get to see our kids, we don’t get to see each other either. This was not how we had planned our year.
The next four weeks our team would brainstorm ways to connect with each other and our families. Many teachers were doing video lessons, bedtime stories and recording videos saying hi for their classrooms. We didn’t see many other businesses, let alone preschools doing this, so again another moment when we were so proud of our team.
Then finally, we were able to open, and regardless of the crazy world that was still outside of us, we were all so thankful to just be around our kids and each other again. The first couple weeks were chaos as expected. Our kids didn’t understand why mommy couldn’t walk them to class anymore and a lot of tears were shed.
It’s almost August now and our little preschool is adjusting well to the “new normal.” Our kids have become accustomed to the new drop off and pick ups, and the team is working extremely hard to communicate with their families since really we all have zero face to face interactions with them. We’ve been voted “Best of the Springs” 6 years in a row now, but we feel like it’s in times like these that “The Best” really show up. It would be easy to just keep the tiny humans alive and use a sanitizer bottle here and there. That’s just not who we are. Our curriculum now is even more aimed at building up our kids’ brains and social emotional health. Young Scholars Academy is meant to be a safe place for children, a place where a kid can know what it’s like to be a kid. That’s our job.
In a sense we like to think of ourselves as a little snow globe for the kids where they can be protected from the chaos of the outside world. The kids are looking to us for the answers. We still don’t have them, but were doing our absolute best.
So this is us catching our breath. The days are long and it’s exhausting.
Our hands are cracked from excessive hand washing.
We’re dying in our face masks as we chase the kids on the playground.
You know what though?
We’re so thankful to be able to do a pandemic with all of you.
Stay safe and healthy, thanks for reading.
The Young Scholars Academy Family