This week has been one of upheaval and unwelcome change. We know this is a challenging time and we want to ensure that you know the school is here to support you. Over the last week, the faculty and staff has been focused on determining how we can best meet the education needs of your children. However, we know that listening, understanding and meeting the needs of our parents is equally important – especially in these challenging times. We want to know how to support you, what your challenges are, and any creative ideas that you wish to share. We are a community and while this is a challenge, we would like to take this opportunity to come closer together.
At Boulder Valley Waldorf School our teachers are dedicated to delivering quality Waldorf learning activities that are close to what your child would experience at school but with a manageable balance of more independent work. Although each class is uniquely tailored to the age group and needs of its students, we are sharing a basic overview of what you can expect from BVWS in the coming weeks.
A hundred years ago, the first Waldorf teachers had to engage actively and creatively in order to educate the specific children who sat before them. In a similar way our teachers now need to use their creative efforts and teaching insights in this uncertain time. Your child’s teacher is developing a distance education curriculum in response to the unique needs during this time of social distancing. Our teachers are also thinking of the social needs of your children including the impact of isolation, as well as the new challenges you as parents are facing because of the covid-19 pandemic.
Use of Technology
At BVWS we are incorporating limited use of technology, including email, recorded audio and video, teleconferencing, and Google Classroom for organizing class materials. Technology can be used as a tool to support learning goals. In distance education, it must be used with intention and incorporated into learning rhythms. How much technology will be a part of a student’s life will depend on the age of the child. We encourage you to use technology rhythmically during the school day, and limit unsupervised use during your child’s lesson times.
See the Google Classroom Wiki for more information on how to join a class, turn in assignments, and more.
What will Distance Learning Look like in the Early Childhood:
First and foremost, our biggest goal is to support you as parents. We recognize that working from home while your young children are also home is no easy task. With that in mind, any and all of our suggestions, resources, and support are optional for you and your children. There is no requirement that your child completes anything we send or that you engage with the platform we are using. Take what works for you!
Google Classroom & Video and Audio Recordings
We will be using Google Classroom as our organizational tool and you will be getting information from us about setting that up in the coming days. This will help reduce the volume of emails and let you check in as you wish, rather than being inundated. (You’ll have to adjust your email notifications, which you will get instructions for). Each EC Google Classroom will have a resource library for home rhythms, activities, resources for parents, and a library of recorded stories. In addition, each week on Sunday evening, your child’s teacher will update Google Classroom for that week. Each week will have a theme and the materials posted will be games, crafts, stories, activities, etc. based on that theme. Then, each day of that week will be dedicated to one of the elements we have sent out: craft, nature walk, recipe, game, etc. Your teacher will post a photo or note about it to start the day and you will be welcome to contribute photos of what your child has done as well, only if you want to. It will be up to you whether you share these photos with your children, but the intention is to help create community and connection through seeing what we are all doing.
Conference Calls and Social Well Being
Beyond the resources for supporting your children, your child’s teacher will be available weekdays between 8am and 5pm for phone consultations. You will need to text your teacher to set up a same-day appointment. We will also be having once a week online parent evenings so you can all connect and get support from each other and from your teacher.
For any child who has not yet had their school birthday, we will be sending a recorded birthday story for them and mailing their gift (as long as you are ok with getting mail).
What will Distance Learning Look like in the Grades:
Accessibility of information is important during this time of social distancing, therefore we’ve selected an online learning platform onto which your child’s teacher is posting curriculum, class materials, lectures and assignments. Your teacher will use this platform to deliver lessons and provide student feedback. It is also a great place for your child to ask questions and stay connected with their teacher and peers.
Each teacher will create a Google Classroom for his or her class. Your child may have multiple Google Classrooms depending on their grade level.
Video and Audio Recordings
Your child’s teacher may be using video and audio recordings as part of their lesson curriculum. Audio recordings may be available on your Google Classroom portal. These can be accessed at any time throughout the day. Additionally, depending on the class, your child may be asked to create an audio recording in response to an assignment.
Conference Calls and Social Well Being
In an effort to keep distance education as close as possible to the normal classroom experience as well as combat feelings of isolation during social distancing, your child’s teacher may host conference calls throughout the week to deliver lessons. This is in effort to keep your child socially connected during this time, allowing for real-time discussion with their teacher and classmates. These conference calls may be scheduled via Google Classroom and conducted through Zoom.
For a step by step guide on how to use Google Classroom, refer to the Google Classroom Wiki.
Supporting Your Child in Distance Education
Following our regularly scheduled Spring Break, we will resume classes in a distance education format beginning on Monday, March 30th through at least Friday, April 17th. We encourage you to set up a dedicated space for your child’s schooling and make sure technology is working properly ahead of time. Before classes begin, please take a moment to plan for the following:
- A dedicated learning space. It doesn’t have to be an office: think of ways to arrange existing rooms and furniture that could support this.
- A structured rhythmic daily and weekly schedule. You can start incorporating regular meal times, outdoor times and reading times during the days before classes officially begin. And enjoy your Spring Break as unique as it is!
- Test your technology. We will be sending instructions soon that includes a new email account for each enrolled student. This will provide access to Google Classroom. Now is a good time to test the audio and video are working on your devices. We will send out instructions soon. See the Google Classroom Wiki for more information on how to join a class, turn in assignments, and more to be ready for when you do have access.