Many schools are closed during the pandemic. Unfortunately, some parents don’t have another option for daytime childcare. Whether you’re looking for a replacement school or trying to introduce your child to the Montessori method during this difficult time, these features will help you identify the best and safest school for your family.
Every school will respond to COVID-19 differently depending on the resources available to them. Smart schools will stay closed during major outbreaks, require masks to be worn by faculty and students, and provide handwashing or hand sanitizer stations throughout the building. Temperature checks at entrances can be used to identify students who should stay home for the day or the rest of the week.
Another important safety consideration is the average classroom size. Smaller classrooms are the safest, especially since the coronavirus spreads so rapidly in packed indoor environments. Encourage teachers to set up distanced seating and limit the number of students in each classroom.
A school’s academic philosophy extends into everything they do. When you’re reviewing new schools, you should consider what they want to teach your child and how they plan to get that message across.
The Montessori philosophy assumes that children are eager to learn and simply need to be given the right tools. Curated Montessori environments have great potential to offer a safe harbor from the effects of COVID-19, especially if the teachers are willing to put in the work. Look for a school that takes a practical approach to both education and coronavirus safety.
Limiting in-person contact is important to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Although you should normally visit the campus multiple times before deciding it’s a good fit for your child, your community’s safety is far more important. Instead, get familiar with the location by taking a virtual tour.
Some schools have already filmed virtual campus tours or set up photo galleries on their websites. Alternatively, a faculty member may be willing to walk through the school while using FaceTime or another video conferencing tool to virtually show you around.
When you’re ready for an actual in-person tour, make sure to wear a face mask and follow social distancing procedures. If possible, maintain a self-quarantine for the week before your tour; you don’t want to accidentally bring coronavirus to your new community.
A school is defined by its teachers and staff. If you get to know and like the people who will be teaching your kids, you can feel safer trusting those same people with your children’s health.
Reach out to a school’s faculty as soon as you start to seriously consider them as an option. Make an effort to learn names, and start up a conversation over email or social media. Look for people who make your family feel welcome and who are willing to address your academic and COVID-related concerns.
Ultimately, there’s no easy set of rules when it comes to trusting an academic institution. Go with your common sense and parental intuition. Find a school that takes COVID-19 seriously and can offer a well-rounded education to your child.