Campus-Based Instruction and In-Person Learning were in full force in the Lower School this week as the measured process of returning students to campus continued. The return to campus paralleled many students’ gradual transition and adaptation back to learning and socializing in the presence of other students. And they had a good time doing it!
"This week is about re-shaping students' perception of school," Lower School Extension Teacher Austin Schock '09 said. "If we can make school a place students want to go, then despite the struggles of learning the new expectations—and the possible culture shock that goes with that—they will enjoy themselves and the learning process will be easier."
Over the past two weeks, all Intermediate Years (Grades 2–5) students were given the opportunity to come into their classrooms for two hours with their class. This week, each group had the chance to come on campus for one half-day.
"What I've loved to see is the excitement overcoming the nervousness," Schock said. "Some of the students coming in are under a wave of emotions and pressures. Once they start talking to each other, though, it tends to melt away."
Starting next week, each group will have access to campus one full day. The Beginning Years (Pre-K–Grade 1) students have been able to be on campus full-time since January 27.
"Bringing the Lower Schoolers together provides a more organic way for them to communicate," Schock said. "It gives them kid-spaces where they have some control and ownership over their experience."
Having new friends on campus was different, but welcome for students in ECCEW (Emergency Child Care for Essential Workers) who have been on campus all school year (see the Winter 2021 OES Magazine, coming to your door soon, for more information on ECCEW).
Because there have been only 73 ECCEW students on campus since fall of 2020, they are used to having space to explore at the "whim of their facilitator," Schock said. While there is more structure now, "ECCEW students are happy to see their friends. When the kids come onto campus they are usually really excited, until they become too tired for anything else."
Photos courtesy of Austin Schock and Kristen Zimmer.