Preschool & PreK Update: Nov. 19th

From Osseo Early Childhood & Family Education (EC&FE)

This message is for parents/guardians of students currently registered Preschool, Saturday Preschool, Preschool with Parent Connection and PreK classes:

November 19, 2020

Dear parents/guardians:


I shared earlier this week in a message that our EC&FE program will align with the district and move to a distance learning model beginning November 23, 2020. This learning model change will remain in effect until additional direction has been provided by Superintendent Cory McIntyre of Osseo Area Schools.


As we prepared our program for distance learning, it was important to strive for a balance of what we know is best practice for young children and what is reasonable for families. We understand that this is also a difficult time for families as many are navigating working from home, supporting children in distance learning or making arrangements for child care. We also recognize that the move to distance learning is upsetting to many of families.


While we can't be together in person at this time, we remain hopeful that we will be moving back to a hybrid or in person model soon. In the interim, we are confident that our early childhood educators and staff will help all of our students continue in their learning with new, fun-filled activities while at home, until we can be together again in our classrooms.


During the distance learning model, we want to continue to partner with you, building upon our relationship with your family to support your child's learning. Early childhood learning experiences in a distance learning model isn't new for our program. The pandemic has provided our program and early childhood educators a unique opportunity to explore and think creatively while using technology. Our goal is to provide high-quality, curriculum rich and engaging learning opportunities for young children and families to continue to prepare students for school readiness.


Here are some highlights of our flexible and curriculum rich programming during distance learning at home:

Teacher Communication and Student Goals / Assessment

Our program goal is to ensure all children are continuing in their growth, development and school readiness skills while distance learning at home.


  • Prior to the first day of distance learning, your child's teacher will communicate with parents/guardians information about how to access Google Meets and Seesaw.
  • Teachers will keep regularly scheduled office hours to schedule individual Google Meets with parents/guardians as needed and teachers will be available by email.
  • Teachers will continue working with parents/guardians on each student's individual learning goals and objectives while at home.
  • Under the direction of the teacher, Educational Support Professionals (ESP) will schedule individual Google Meet and check-ins regularly with parents/guardians and students.
  • Teachers may ask parents/guardians to participate in student assessment. Your child's teacher will provide more information about this at a future date, as needed

Class Schedule and Activities:

  • There will be two Google Meets during each class day. Teachers will use Google Meet for live online group learning activities and instruction for 15-30 minutes at the beginning of class and the classroom ESP will continue small group Google Meets later during class time.
  • The curriculum and learning activities will continue to follow and emphasize school readiness skills in the early learning domains of: personal and social development, language and literacy, art, math, science, physical development and health.
  • Teachers will provide a daily schedule of activities similar to what your child is familiar with while at school. Some activities on the schedule will be teacher led and others will be child-led. Activities may include: play time, large motor time, circle time, book time and snack time. Your child's teacher will provide more details.
  • Teachers will use Google Meet and Seesaw to share class curriculum and instruction with families.
  • Google Meets will be recorded by your child's teacher so adults can do activities with their child at a time that it works best.
  • Class calendars will be uploaded on our program website osseoec.org

Suggestions for Learning at Home:

  • Set up a space for you (or a caring adult) and your child to participate in class Google Meets together and learning activities. A quiet space away from distractions is helpful. A child sized table and chair is helpful during hands-on learning activities.
  • Following a daily routine will help your child learn independence, manage transitions and help your child adjust when we move back to hybrid or in-person learning. Setting a calendar reminder on an alarm clock or phone may be helpful.
  • During Google Meets, your child's teacher will be giving instructions for activities for that day and students will need the support of an adult to guide them. It is helpful for the teacher if the video is on so the teacher can see your child participating, make observations and be available for questions.
  • When using technology during live videos, be mindful of your privacy. Be aware of what is in the background and who may appear in the video, including what others may hear when devices are unmuted.
  • Keep school materials together. A bag to hold school materials will be sent home with students on the first materials pick up day. Please keep all of the materials sent home for learning in this bin and have it ready for your child on learning days during Google Meets and learning activities.

Material Pick-Up:

  • Materials will be provided to for student learning while at home that will follow scheduled class activities led by the teacher. Some examples of materials that will be provided include: construction paper, crayons, glue, scissors, paintbrush, manipulatives for math, picture cards for matching, blocks for patterning and much more!
  • Your child's teacher or the program will provide more information and a schedule of on material-pick up dates and times and school site location(s).
  • Each student will receive a bag to keep learning materials in while at home.
  • To keep health and safety a top priority, on material pick up days social distancing and health and safety protocols will be followed.

Support for Parents- We're Here For You

Parenting and parenting during a pandemic has many challenges. During distance learning, our licensed parent educators will be available to parents/guardians for FREE parent consultations by Google Meet or by phone to help guide, problem-solve and support parents.


Parent educators can help address parenting concerns such as:

• Providing creative, fun activities to encourage the growth and development of your child.

• Connecting your family to resources in the community.


Conversations may include:

• Challenging behaviors

• Child development

• Family health and well-being

• Navigating social media/technology

• Parenting strategies & problem solving

• Sibling concerns

• Sleeping, eating, toilet training

• School readiness


To request a FREE parent consultation, contact the program at ecfe@district279.org.

Tuition

It is not sustainable for our Preschool, PreK and Parent Connection program and many others across the state to operate without the collection of fees in the form of monthly tuition. While this year has challenges during a pandemic, due to our current budget constraints, the program cannot operate solely on our receipt of school readiness state aid or scholarships funds.


Here are a few monthly tuition reminders:

  • Scholarship recipients will still receive scholarship awards for this school year.
  • For this school year, each month we will continue to honor our tuition discount that is dependent upon the learning model most common for the month that is invoiced. For example, November is projected to be most days as distance learning. Therefore, in this example, tuition would be invoiced at 50% the current monthly contract rate.
  • At a future date when our program is in a hybrid learning model, tuition will be invoiced with a reduced tuition discount of 25%.
  • At a future date when our program is in an in person learning model, tuition will be invoiced at the standard sliding fee scale rate.
  • Invoicing will continue to occur monthly in arrears meaning we will invoice for the previous month of programming. Parents/guardians who are account owners will receive monthly invoices by email.

Keep Us Informed of COVID-related Illness

While in distance learning, the school district would still like to track how COVID is impacting our families. The purpose of gathering this information is to simply measure the impact of shifting from hybrid learning to distance learning.

Please notify Timka Remetic, EC&FE Building COVID Coordinator of any positive COVID cases, including:

- Positive test results for anyone in your household

- Close contact exposure

Timka’s email is: RemeticT@district279.org

Pre Registration for 2021-2022 School Year

We will be offering the opportunity of pre-registration for currently registered Preschool, PreK, Saturday Preschool and Preschool with Parent Connection students to pre register for the Preschool and PreK program for the next school year. Watch for more communication to families from our program about this opportunity.

EC&FE Office Hours

In a distance learning model, our office staff will be working remotely. Parents/guardians can email ecfe@district279.org or call our program office at 763-391-8777 and leave a voicemail message. Calls to our program office number will be returned Monday through Friday, 8:00am-4:00pm.

With gratitude

On behalf of all of the early childhood educators and staff, we can't wait until we can open our doors and welcome families back into our program this year - hopefully it isn't long before we can do just that! Meanwhile, while you are at home, our early childhood educators and staff will continue to engage families in high-quality learning opportunities to support your child's growth, learning and school readiness skills.


We will continue to communicate Preschool and PreK program updates to our current families as the school year continues including changes in learning models as directed by Osseo Area Schools and Supt. McIntyre.


May your family be safe and well.


Sally Nault-Maurer

Early Childhood & Family Education Program Coordinator

naultmaurers@district279.org

763-391-8777 main office line | 763-391-8765 direct line

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