I feel amazed at the fact that this was the first institute that my colleagues did at the start of the pandemic. The most unlikely grade for online learning was the first group that had to imagine doing online learning. I am thinking about the feelings of those pre-K teachers who were finally starting to feel like they were in the groove with their students and then having to imagine how to reimagine school. All in an instant.
And the kids. The routine had just really started to feel like routine and then… no more routine. I am back with my boys during their first weeks of pre-K. I was working part time then so that I could spend more time with them. On the days when I was home, I would ride down the hill with them on the bus that we caught around the corner. There was often no seat and I remember teaching them how to hold onto a pole. The ride was not long and they saw it as an adventure of rumbling and strangers that smiled.
I can not imagine them doing pre-K remotely. Part of the magic of pre-K was that they were out of our house for a few hours each day and in the magical space that their teachers created for them. A child friendly backyard with willow tree play house and magical wooden bridge where kids would play zombies. The front yard was a giant garden that their little hands helped to plant and tend and that they visited through all the seasons of their pre-K years. But remote pre-K?! On a screen?!
That was the first teacher professional development that my colleagues offered at the start of the pandemic. Do you remember those first days? Not knowing how to use Zoom. Not knowing if we could connect. Feeling stunned by the idea that all of this was happening in the first place. So worried about getting sick.
Now, here I sit listening to Rachel remind us that anti-racism is the work of all teachers and especially pre-K teachers. Here I sit with teachers who have been running beautifully connected and revolutionarily playful prekindergarten classrooms. If they could do it and if those three and four year olds could do it, I feel so hopeful for all of us. We can do it. We have been doing it. Forever.