Focus on COVID protocols and wellness has now been central in our lives for an entire year. Masks, social distancing, hand washing, and disinfecting have been our constant backdrop, the rhythm through which we experience life.
From the start, Discovery Village combined COVID protocols and wellness. We’ve been open throughout the pandemic. In the beginning, before New York State Department of Health issued much instruction, we combined intuition and intention. We incorporated safety protocols seamlessly, in a way that has been playful, calm and as stress free as possible. COVID constraints have led to creativity They strengthened and improved the quality of the care and learning we offer.
Perhaps The Biggest Difference: At Discovery Village: Parents can enter the school!
We are among the very few childcare centers that have kept our doors open to families. Parents and other family members dropping off or picking up are masked, take and log their temperatures, complete a health screening, social distance from all but their own children, and remain only briefly. All of this follows COVID protocols as outlined by the New York State Department of Health. Yet, most childcare centers and preschools implemented curbside or at door drop off and pick up.
There were a few days at the very beginning of the pandemic, and a few weeks during the challenging winter months, that we tried at door drop off and pick up. The increase in stress for children, parents, and teachers did not warrant the minimal increase in safety. When possible to follow COVID protocols in a way that leads to a calm, playful, inviting environment, we have chosen to do so. Parents can see the safety protocols and the care and learning we offer in action. This transparency, with safety measures in place, has been vitally important to
Individual Materials for Exploration and Creativity Supporting COVID Protocols and Wellness
Individual bins and materials for exploration and creativity are another innovation that will continue after COVID safety protocols can be eased. Easy to sanitize or disposable materials have given children greater autonomy. We continue our collaborative creative projects. Yet each child has her or his own unique part to contribute. They can immerse themselves in play. Social skills and interactions can focus on communication and planning as the arguments around who uses which toy are limited.
Our Core: Relationships, Experiences, and Values
The months of COVID have helped us connect even more deeply with our core, what is most vital to us in care and learning. We have since the start been grounded in three pillars – Relationships, Experiences, and Values (REV it up). As we faced the constraints and challenges COVID brought, we found the answers in being authentically us. The challenging months have helped us connect ever more deeply and authentically to our core. We offer the care of a village, the creativity of an art studio, and the discovery of a science lab. We do so through a playful spirit, focusing on child led exploration. It is in the hard times that the core is tested, and can be strengthened.
We mark this momentous time, a year of pandemic, with gratitude. We are navigating through, true to ourselves. COVID protocols have not in the end been burdensome. They have been a release, opening new pathways to ground ourselves in care, exploration, creativity, and discovery.