This year, parents have faced new choices — and difficult decisions — for schooling during the pandemic.
For many families, the decision to send their children into school comes down to weighing the health risks against the potential consequences of their children losing academic ground. For others, it may mean quitting a job to stay home with their student in a fully remote district.
The stakes of those choices are particularly high for students and families with special learning needs, medical issues, and/or financial instability.
Pathways for Children recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach — particularly during these unprecedented times. Many of our programs have adjusted to meet children and caregivers truly where they are and in a manner that supports their daily needs.
One such example is our Virtual Head Start class – a pre-kindergarten, Monday-Friday remote program. The program has become a popular option for our families, with a full (and lively!) group of 14 students from all over Essex County.
“Our parents are looking for a strong educational start for their children. But many voiced concern about putting their child into a traditional classroom setting during the pandemic,” said Maureen Gleckner, Education and Professional Development Manager. “So we are bringing the classroom to them.”
Lead teacher Tammy Alto, with decades of experience as an early childhood educator, knew just how to shift her classroom experience to an online format — and keep her young audience engaged.
“We were initially a bit skeptical of this new virtual challenge, but we’re enjoying this new adventure! We’re thrilled with how fully engaged and excited the children and parents are, “ said Tammy. “We’re not only having a fun time ‘zooming away,’ but we are offering a safe, unique and educational experience for each child.”
Tammy, alongside co-teacher Katie Cossingham, uses puppets, science experiments, cooking, books, and crafts to round out the robust Head Start curriculum and keep pre-k students curious and on-track to meet school readiness goals.
“They’re not just teaching online; they’re providing a true classroom online,” said Maureen.
Thank you, Pathways teachers, for anticipating our families and children’s needs and working to stay connected and caring during these changing times.