Our Response to Covid-19
Living apart. Learning together.
The Montessori Way.
The Village School continues to monitor the situation and respond to the information being released each day on Covid-19. The safety of all staff, students, and families is our top priority in addition to the continued education of our students with our comprehensive distance learning program. The Village School maintains regular communication via email with its current families and the admissions office is available to answer questions and accept applications from prospective families for next school year. In addition to being updated regularly with updates from the administration, this page will continue to provide resources for families, students and staff. We will get through this together!
- May 5, 2020 - From the Director: Looking Forward
- May 4, 2020 - Transition from Zoom to Google Meets
- April 9, 2020 - Montessori at Home
- April 7, 2020 - A Note about tuition payments
- March 30, 2020 - Third Week Reflections
- March 23, 2020 - Adapting to Change and Resources
- March 20, 2020 - A Message from Marilyn
- March 19, 2020 - Covid-19 Notification
- March 17, 2020 - Tech Support
- March 16, 2020 - Technology Transition
- March 13, 2020 - Coronavirus Update - School Closed for 2 weeks
- March 12, 2020 - Conferences, field trips, auction and outside food vendors
- March 11, 2020 - Covid-19 Response and Preparation for Virtual Learning
Please watch this message addressing online learning for the remainder of the school year per the NJ Governor's announcement as well as looking forward to next year.
Please also note that in the coming weeks, I will be having meetings for parents on each program level to answer any questions you may still have about how we move forward.
Thank you for your patience and support.
We will get through this together.
I hope this letter finds you and your family well and that you are managing through these challenging times. Over the last several weeks I have heard from some of you about the security and privacy issues with the video conferencing platform Zoom. We listened to your concerns, we also consulted with some IT specialists, as well as received feedback from outside teachers regarding the use of Zoom and Google Meets. After conducting a complete analysis, we have determined that the best solution for our school is to switch to Google Meets.
The Zoom platform, although easy to use, is not as secure as we feel is necessary, even with the security updates. We do recognize that there will be some challenges with the transition to Google Meets, however our staff members will be working hard to make the transition as easy as possible. Google has been ramping up upgrades to their video conferencing platform to be more user friendly and to also give schools better performance. Google’s education G-Suite application provides us with better security, better privacy for students and is also COPPA compliant. We have placed several instructional pdfs on our website to help you make this transition.
Thank you for your patience, understanding and as always your support during this time. Please stay safe and well until we can all be together again.
The Village School
Dear Village School Families,
When I reflect on the essential lessons and teaching skills I learned when training to become a Montessori teacher I think the most valuable one was a deceptively simple technique call “The Three Period Lesson”. To start with a bit of background, all Montessori teachers are, first and foremost, careful observers of behavior. Maria Montessori’s initial training as a physician taught her the value of looking carefully, collecting data and studying the results that different environments, interventions and activities have on the behavior and development of children. We use this same method today.
Once a child’s developmental needs are identified the Montessori teacher (guide) begins the task of introducing specific lessons and activities to nurture continuous growth and/or facilitate new learning. This introduction is done in a systematic and planned way often referred to as “The Three Period Lesson”. This teaching tool is structured in three distinct parts that are easy to understand and used effectively.
As we will be on Spring break next week, I thought it might be helpful to share this “teacher tip”, really a specialized skill, with you for your use over the break. I hope you find it helpful if you choose to review some of the lessons and activities that are available in your children’s Google classrooms.
In a Montessori classroom, our focus is always on the process used to accomplish an activity as this tells us more about a student’s understanding of concepts than the actual product does. The Three Period lesson allows us to follow that process closely and gently intervene as needed. Each part of The Three Period Lesson is an individual element and should be practiced separately.
The First Period is the Introduction. All materials, concepts and skills learned in a Montessori classroom, no matter what level, are introduced in a clear and concise demonstration/lesson. You have had a chance to see some of these presentations in the videos that populate your child’s Google classroom. This initial introduction is to provide the child with the information he/she needs to begin an exploration of a concept, whether it is pouring water or solving complicated math equations. The activity is presented to the child using a visual, auditory and often tactile experience. The purpose of the first period is for the teacher to provide a demonstration of the skill to be mastered or clear information about a concept to be learned.
The Second Period is dedicated to practice and learning to Recognize the concepts presented. This is a critical aspect of learning. After the initial introduction (First Period), students are encouraged to use the materials, explore, experiment, investigate and think about these concepts. Sounds simple, yet we believe this to be the most important part of learning. Practice, Practice, Practice. It is during the practice and recall period that children dig deeply into concept formation and begin to gain a full understanding of the material, skill or idea presented. In the Second Period teachers will often scaffold children’s knowledge by asking key questions that help develop or solidify knowledge providing just enough information or key questions to the child to “help me to do it myself”. For our youngest children this may be in the form of games that help them differentiate between concepts (ex. when introducing sounds, we play many games isolating one or two initial sounds with object, pictures, or cards and using some of the language tips from my last letter to insure successful responses. This will work with older students as well if they are struggling with a new or difficult concept – you just may need to get more creative in your games)
The Third Period is Recall. The student has mastered the task/idea/concept and is able to use it on demand. This is when a student demonstrates that not only do they understand; they can use this information in multiple ways and in many situations. They understand that multiplication is not just about numbers on a page, it’s a useful way of looking and managing quantities, solving everyday problems and an important entry into other fields of mathematics. For younger children, they understand that a Red is not just a one color but all variations of hues and tints in the red family.
We have key words or sayings that go along with each period and although they may seem simplistic at first, they are effective:
First Period: “This is…” A simple statement of fact
Second Period: “Is it …… or.” Giving students a choice helps them focus on and practice the concept – giving the correct answer last often insures that the child will be correct in response. We always want to reinforce correct responses rather than correct the child.
Third Period: “ What is…...” Student can now provide the answer without prompting and often can elaborate on the concept.
While I don’t expect you to become Montessori teachers in your spare time, you certainly have enough to do already, knowing a bit about what we do in school may help during this unprecedented time when we are all being called out of our comfort zones and need to play many different roles.
Think process – don’t worry about product and while many things have changed one very special thing we have been given is lots of time at home to enjoy our children as they develop and grow. It’s time well spent.
Dear Village School Families,
We recently have had a few requests for extension on tuition payment due dates for 2020-2021. Most importantly, I want to assure everyone that we plan to continue to provide virtual programs throughout this school year and intend to be back in our building as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience and good will as we become more proficient in this new skill set and promise that our programming will continue to improve and reach the same standard you have come to expect from The Village School.
Recognizing that these are uncertain times for all and families may be experiencing financial stressors in addition to the emotional toll Covid-19 is placing on all of us, we wanted to make sure that we are not adding to your stress. As a tuition funded school, The Village School relies on tuition payments and fundraising to support its programs and staff. If you are able to make your 2020-2021 tuition payments in a timely manner we would deeply appreciate that, if not, we understand and are willing to work with you. Please e-mail Kathy Nugent, our Business Manager, at email@example.com directly to arrange an alternate individualized payment schedule.
Dear Village School Families,
Today we were informed that a student and parent in our school has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. While this news is deeply concerning it is not unexpected as the number of reported cases in our local communities is rapidly increasing as testing becomes more widespread.
In accordance with HIPAA laws, we will not be identifying the individuals by name or grade level. The affected family has been in contact with their local health authority. Based on those conversations we have been advised that the child and parent were not in school during the period when they would have been contagious and the risk to the community is low. Other than the precautions already in place to maintain social distancing and good health and hygiene practices, no other action is needed at this point. We will continue to keep you informed if this changes. The family will be reaching out privately in accordance with health department guidelines to other individuals with whom they may have had continued contact. We ask that you respect their right to privacy.
The school has also spoken with the Waldwick Health Department and they have confirmed this advice. In the meantime, all families should monitor their families for symptoms of the COVID-19 virus. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough and shortness of breath (please see attached CDC information ). If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms please contact your healthcare provider.
Prior to closing, the school was diligent in practicing all the protocols outlined by the CDC for disease prevention. This included a regular and thorough cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, increased hand washing, use of hand sanitizer and daily spraying of hard and soft surfaces with a disinfectant spray.
As our school is now closed for an undetermined period of time, we will evaluate our next steps and keep you posted as to our plans.
Dear Village School Families:
Following the announcement yesterday by the Bergen County Executive, James Tedesco, and in the interest of protecting the safety and security of all our students and staff at The Village School we will be closing school. The school is closed today, Friday, March 13th and will remain closed for the next two weeks. We will continue to monitor the directives sent by our County and State officials and will update you as needed.
We have been preparing for this event, however as the very premise of a Montessori school is “hands on” instruction providing virtual classrooms will be a new and unique opportunity for us all. This past week, our teachers have been in meetings and planning workshops to increase their familiarity with the variety of on-line tools available and how to adapt instruction to these formats. On some levels, our students are very familiar with these tools; for other students there will be a learning curve as teacher, parents and children work out the details of screen instruction. Your child’s classroom teachers will be in contact with you this weekend to provide information regarding the next steps in remote learning for each level.
On Monday , the school office will be open from 8:30 – 11:00 so that parents may pick up student packets and devices as needed. We will be suspending conferences until we return and next week’s instruction will be Tuesday – Friday. Our virtual days will then follow the school calendar.
We ask your patience and good humor throughout. Working together we are sure we will be able to meet each challenges that may arise and learn something new each day. Please be assured we will do everything we can to support your child with their learning.
Marilyn & Dadmara
Dear Village School Families,
As we continue to navigate through the Covid-19 virus we are closely monitoring all state and local authorities for the best guidance as to how to proceed. At the same time, we are currently preparing to provide continuity of education should we be facing a school closure.
Due to the rapidly changing situation we will post information to you as quickly as possible to keep you informed of the school’s decisions.
Right now the school has decided to take the following steps:
Conferences will be canceled tomorrow and rescheduled at a later date in order to give our teachers the opportunity to plan effectively with the various options we have available technologically.
All field trips will be canceled until further notice.
Our school auction will be postponed and alternative plans made for a future date.
In an effort to maintain as much social distancing as possible, beginning today, we will limit contact with outside vendors. This will impact our school lunch program and outside enrichment/music instructors.
We are also asking all parents to keep us informed of any changes in their household that might impact our school community.
Thank you for your help and support in helping keep our school healthy.
Marilyn & Dadmara
Dear Village School Families,
Over the past few weeks we have been carefully following the information provided by the CDC, our state and local authorities regarding Covid-19. As a result we have stopped greeting children with a morning handshake (opting for wave or toe touch or arm bump), increased our cleaning protocols, encouraged our students and staff to be vigilant about hand washing and employ general health and hygiene practices. As a precaution, we cancelled both our student trip to Model UN and faculty trip to the AMS conference. This week we have begun to prepare for other measures that may be more challenging. While we truly hope that it will not come to pass, we must consider the possibility that schools in New Jersey may be required to close at some point. We are working on ways that would enable our students to continue to participate in school activities should that occur. This week our teachers will be attending in-service workshops to become familiar with the tools we have available and to plan how best to deliver instructional continuity. Due to the nature of our Montessori classrooms this will take different forms in the various program levels, We will continue to keep you posted as needed.
Below is a link to a questionnaire to help us plan for virtual classes. Please complete and submit by Friday, March 13th.
Click here to complete questionnaire
In the interim we are providing the following links for additional information.
We strongly encourage all families to be mindful of our community and stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, call in to our health office if your child will be absent, keep your child home until he/she is symptoms free for a full 24 hours without medication and fully able to participate in all school activities. As a result of the increased focus on handwashing and hand sanitizer use, some parents have requested children be allowed to bring hand cream into school. We will be temporarily waiving the health requirement that non-prescription products require a doctor’s note and will be adding unscented hand cream to our classrooms as well as allowing students to bring in their own unscented hand cream products for personal use.
If you have any additional questions or concerns please call the school office.
Marilyn & Dadmara