December 16, 2020

Photo of teachers walking Children's House students outside, all flapping their arms as if they are birdsThe holiday season is a time for odes. What is an ode if you are unfamiliar with that term? I will take a little bit of creative license here. Odes can be lyric poems, and they are often sung. I will spare you my operatic vocal qualities, and turn the focus to the definition of an ode as an expression of “exalted or enthusiastic emotion.”

Sadly 2020 will be known as the year of the pandemic, but within that veil of sorrow there have been bright spots. Our streak of uninterrupted in person learning days has been due to a myriad of factors, but there is one constant that has made it all possible—our faculty and staff. I have lost count of the ways our staff has operated selflessly and at a high level to maintain a standard of safety and caring for our children.  They have turned disruption into opportunity; they have experienced uncertainty and produced stability; they continue to support one another and the eager faces of the children they see each day; they close out the noise from the outside world and share their energy and humor; in short, they are doing their jobs in unprecedented times.

As I have walked the campus and observed faculty and staff working, or checked in with them to see how they are holding up, I am in awe of their dedication and resilience. In the short span of nine months, education as we know it was torn asunder. Face to face was replaced with screen time and sharing of space and materials was verboten, something that is totally antithetical to Montessori teaching. Our faces were obscured by masks so the very essence of observing the child was compromised, and yet I have seen no drop off in how teachers embrace each child and continue to nurture and guide them. The kids know that their teacher is smiling behind their mask. Staff camaraderie also became a memory. The administration and staff had to completely retool and reinvent school. We had to write the manual with new verbs and phrases peppering our vernacular. We podded, we masked, we set up cohorts, we tested, and we continued to laugh, teach, support, and love.

The community responded with their outpouring of support for the faculty, staff and the school. That is my ode and I am sticking with it.

Here is to a new year. 2021 never looked so good because we know no matter what is ahead we will weather it.

Best,
Whitney

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