2020 will be remembered variously around the world as a surreal, scary or safe time, depending on your perspective. In Aotearoa, it will be remembered as a time when life as we knew it stopped. When we went into lock down in our family bubbles. When we learnt how to use technology to stay in contact with loved ones. When we learnt to do things differently.
Like many educational institutions, Ficino Preschool turned to technology to stay in contact with our students and their families. It was important to create a sense of safety for our students and to retain the wonderful sense of community we enjoy with them and their families.
As a small, boutique ECE located in the heart of Mt Eden, our preschool was well-placed to keep a regular dialogue going with our students. Teachers used Zoom to hold meetings, engage in storytelling and enjoy singing with our students. Some parents “guest-starred” by sharing cultural dances, cooking shows and myths and legends! Our online app Storypark was invaluable during this time with students tasked with collecting autumn leaves and spotting teddy bears.
As our country has moved into Alert Level 2, we have enjoyed welcoming our families back on site. Some initiatives such as collecting students from their parents’ car for a contactless drop-off may well become our new normal, at least in the interim.
Other initiatives such as regular handwashing, sustainable practices with food and rubbish and regular cleaning of equipment will continue as normal.
Our capped roll of no more than 30 students has meant that we are well placed to continue to operate with optimal safety standards. We are still booking visits for prospective parents and children to visit our site and see for themselves the excellent work we are engaged in.