During COVID, parents have FAQ (frequently asked questions) surrounding how this illness influences child care programs and family access to care. When will the program be closed for COVID? For how long? What is quarantine and how long does it last? So here is the best we can do with the information up to this moment, Tuesday, December 1, 2020;
Q: If I test positive for COVID19 can my child attend school?
A: NO, your child will be in quarantine and at home with you for 14 days from your test date. You watch for symptoms from the child and other household members during this time.
Q: If I test positive for COVID19 does the preschool close?
A: NO. As long as you practice social distancing drop-off prior to the diagnosis and did not enter the building, the school will remain open.
Q: If I test positive for COVID19 does my child need to get tested?
A: NO, you child will be in mandatory quarantine with you for the entire time (14 days, plus 48 hours past the last symptom). A test is not necessary.
Q: If I test my child for COVID19 and they test positive, what happens next?
A: Contact the Preschool. We have to report this to many different agencies and close the classroom your child was in. Teachers, students and anyone in contact with your student’s class will now go into a 2 week quarantine (14 days). There will not be school for this class.
Q: If I was positive for COVID and my child test negative can they come to school?
A: NO. Someone who has come into contact with a COVID infected person must quarantine for 14 days, despite a negative test result.
Q: What if I came in contact with someone who has a positive COVID19 test result?
A: You will be in quarantine for 14 days. We ask you do not pick up or drop off during this time. If you develop symptoms, please keep your child at home for 14 days from your first symptom and 48 hours past your last symptom. School will not close for this, permitting parent has followed social distancing protocols (6 ft from other students and families) and stayed outside of the building. At Bend Preschool our policy is your child can attend if they are socially distancing from the infected family member. If that is not possible, the child will need to remain at home during quarantine.
Q: My child has a fever, cough, upset stomach (diarrhea, vomiting), chest congestion, wheezing, etc. When can I return to school?
A: You child can return in 10 days from onset of symptoms.
Q: What if I then want to return sooner than the 10 days?
A: If your child gets tested and the test is COVID19 negative you still have to wait until 48 hours past symptom resolution and the child must be Tylenol/Motrin/Fever Reducer FREE. If the test comes back COVID19 positive, the school will need to be notified and the class will close for 14 days. All Teachers, students and any others exposed will go into quarantine for 14 days.
Q: My child is asymptomatic with COVID, can they still attend?
A: No, a positive COVID19 test for your child means the class closes, the teachers are off of work and anyone who has contact with this class (cook, licensing specialist, etc) is in quarantine.
Q: If the school closes with COVID19, will I get a refund?
A: No, tuition remains the same (don’t forget the 4% increase for January) and school will reopen at the end of the quarantine. We are proud to have NOT raised our rates for COVID. Our increase is just the normal annual cost of living increase.
Q: I’m going to be traveling out of the country, how long do I quarantine when I return?
A: If it is just you, 14 days and we ask you don’t pick up or drop off during your quarantine. If the child is also going out of the country, they will also need to quarantine 14 days after.
Q: What special practices has the school put into place to minimize risk?
WHAT WE ARE DOING:
No shoes inside of the schools. Hand washing immediately after shoe removal. Wash/rinse/sanitize of every toy that is touched or played with, as soon as the child puts it down. Tables and chairs are scrubbed with soap, washed off with water and then sanitized.
Teachers wear masks and do not work when they are ill. Parents and all visitors are kept out of the building (except our mandatory inspections, or a repair that is required to allow the school to remain open). Playground equipment is sanitized after each use. Deep cleaning upon end of the day, of all floors and surfaces (handles, knobs). Water and soap is moving over to touch less systems (for hand washing) in each place where it is possible. Teachers are not shared between schools, classes and group sizes are kept to 10 students or less. This last measure helps if we must close due to exposure, allowing the unexposed class to still attend school.
THANK YOU TO OUR COMMUNITY
We rely heavily on the kindness of our families. Thank you to all of you who push through this new frontier with us (and with all the new regulations we are following). We appreciate your encouragement, especially when the time comes to be forced to temporarily close a class due to exposure.
New information is expected out from the CDC tomorrow, December 2, 2020 about new quarantine periods after being exposed to an infected person. Child Care programs in Oregon have a massive amount of rules governing everything from sanitation, food prep, naps to bottle feeding in regards to COVID19.
While these rules change frequently, OHA and other government agencies are quick to get out the newest information and make sure providers are in the know. Those who have been open since March, are operating under an Emergency Child Care license. Without this, child care through out Oregon is closed.
Here are some links to the CDC page for updates on COVID19 studies. I find this useful when trying to sort out what the media or social media is saying and what the facts are as of this moment in time.
The CDC has announced today the quarantine will reduce to 7 days if you test negative and were exposed to a COVID positive person (but have ZERO symptoms). The quarantine time for COVID exposure without a test is dropping to 10 days. This has NOT YET been adopted by OHA (Oregon Health Authority). Here is a link to the transcript with the CDC interview with the new guidelines (Oregon has yet to follow this change).
Recently I was on a Facebook group for Child Care providers in Oregon. Preschool teachers, classroom teachers and Child Care owners all participate here. “Why should parents place their children in care? Does anyone have any articles on this?” For real, there are no mommy blogs on this. So here is my “Child Care Provider Blog,” on the subject.
During the pandemic, it was crystal clear why children need an outside source, a teacher outside of the home. Let’s start as children began to come back slowly after the pandemic. Children who came back had clear signs of experiencing trauma. In our program we watched as children experienced crisis of housing, food scarcity, job loss for one of both parents, adults under stress because of all these reasons and they felt alone and isolated as they never left the home. As students came back to school, they would ask about their friends. “Where is Molly?” The forlorn look of sadness in their faces was heartbreaking, like they had lost them forever.
Children crave the learning experiences their peers provide. The stability of the constant flow of information from peers and teachers. The safety friends bring who are growing and making mistakes along side them. It is like a four year journey of Survivor where students hope they don’t get removed from their island, lol. They have the same partners in learning for each day and they joyfully look forward to those experiences. Our children are learning social skills at an early age and are falling in love with learning and budding friendships. So how do children do this?
Playing in the dirt, making mud pies with a friend, climbing the highest “castle” to yell and see if their voice will reach to the farthest part of the play yard, poking a friend with a stick just to watch the reaction, taking a book from the shelf or from a friend- these experiences grow the minds and give stability and comfort their young hearts crave. Preschool students love being able to stretch their limits, try out new boundaries all within the comfort of those doing the same things.
During my digging I found some amazing articles on how these early experiences actually reduce the need for special education classes as children age. This makes sense to me as an educator. The early building blocks are laid down quickly with peers around to challenge and engage with. Like, “Iron sharpens iron,” so our preschoolers sharpen each others experiences. With quality teachers, these enriching activities fill in gaps they might have otherwise not filled in as quickly. Students love to compete with each other and conflicts do arise. But conflict is a GOOD THING! It provides opportunity to learn and fill in those vital gaps children are born with but need filled in to be a successful adult.
My other half of 25 years recalled days where he had special education classes for reading. He remembers getting pulled out of class, walking by the tables of boys who were laughing and engaging with each other. He felt so isolated and alone. Preschool, at least at Bend Preschool, is a time when letters, colors and numbers are introduced. Children learn to recognize letters, produce sounds and begin pre-reading activities. These simple pieces help students avoid pull out classes and the repercussions that reverberate into adulthood. By investing in Child Care, you are putting early learning in place to avoid possible pull out classes later.
One of my favorite resources, chalked full of data helps family explore the science behind Child Care. No matter what scientific study you are seeking, chances are you will find it there. There is a great quick quiz parents can take to learn a little more about your knowledge of ECE. Inside this resource there are many additional links to studies and articles surrounding our field and the strengths you are building into your child by choosing a quality Early Childhood program.
While the pandemic has produced many challenges for us as Child Care providers, businesses shuttering their doors (some of my favorite colleagues that were decades old have closed), finances being tight, not having materials readily available that we need, it is clear – we have chosen the right profession. One that leaves our “finger prints,” on the world. One that will help the future generation of our City build strong leaders, who are willing to explore our world and not be afraid of conflict. May the kids of this generation be a blessing to the next generation because of educators who were not afraid to carry the torch of play and let kids explore within the boundaries.
Being a Early Childhood Educator or teacher in the middle of a pandemic, is an entirely different beast. Public school teachers are the new hero’s and zero’s of our communities. Some families are angry for not having in person classes available while others see the struggle public school teachers daily face trying to manage a new corner of learning. Classroom management through a computer screen isn’t something Elementary, Junior High and High School teachers went to college to learn about. As Preschool and Early Educators, we are partnering with our school teachers to offer a small POD for school age kids at one of our locations.
Our teachers are learning the delicate balance between the daily changing public school meetings/schedules and the needs of school age children to be active during a pandemic. The need to participate in art. To go outside and jump around. The online classrooms have many different requirements but all the students are on different schedules. This makes managing a “one room school house” a real challenge for the ECE teacher now turned Elementary Educator. What does this look like at Bend Preschool?
Students are having an outrageous amount of fun, enjoying being in a small class. Having freedom’s they have never dreamed of experiencing. Being able to stop and play with lego’s when their brains are full and they need a break. Having a “reading buddy” be a classmate and friend. Teachers who love and embrace art and silliness. Teachers likewise are enjoying the in-depth conversations about life, reading clubs and not needing to help with toileting. This is some of the positive parts of teaching during a pandemic.
The laughter that roars out of the classroom in between video sessions, I often have to giggle. Kids that pass by and want a hug or tell me a funny story from the day. I think, “wow, this is such a special time these kids are so enjoying. Who would have thought something as horrible as COVID could produce such great memories for these children?
The teachers all deserve our thanks and gratitude. The Washington Post recently had a great story about the struggles of teachers who are behind our computers. For rising to the challenge. Taking on something new. Being bold and fearless in the face of something there is no road map for. I simply have to say, you all are the best. Thank you for stepping up and stepping into the gap. For families and for the kids, I say thank you!!
What has this year looked like? Challenging, so many challenges for us in teaching, yet our cup of joy is full… no overflowing. The laughter and excitement of our students brings new joy each day of this “pandemic.” We choose to celebrate the life we are getting to live each day in these unique times. Who would have ever thought a preschool could have a one room school house?! To this we say, “L’Chaim,” to life!
If you are looking to join a wild team of teachers in the middle of the pandemic, please reach out to us.
It has been a minute since I last posted. Life as a child care provider during COVID has been a wild … adventure? Since March 2020 there have been at least seven rule changes to date. Those changes were anything small from two page documents, to one document being 62 pages. Life in early March consisted of large group circle time, laughter, singing, dress ups, sand tables and then moving into Centers where children would play cooperatively. Since COVID hit? We lost the ability to use sand or sensory play. Dress ups went out the window. Anything soft had to be removed. Every surface had to be covered with a sneeze shield or be fully cleanable.
In the begining everyone stayed home and we had one to two children daily. That was a large change from 31! As families trickled back into care, rules seem to change daily. At first if anyone in the family was sick, everyone had to stay out for 14 days (parent/child)! Then it changed to 10 days if the child had any form of sickness symptoms. Now it seems to be changing again to if you have two sickness symptoms, then you are out for 10 days. However if you just have one symptom, you need to be symptom and medication free for 24 hours.
Sanitizing and disinfecting has become an out of this world chore. I’ll just say it now is a full time job for multiple people throughout the day. Certain toys must be put away and just can’t be played with. Toys can not be brought into school. Books have to be sanitized… BOOKS! The newest rule… children are NOT allowed to share. Ok, as an Early Childhood Professional, sharing is one of the basic building blocks for Social Emotional Development. How to you PREVENT sharing?… Inquiring minds want to know. Children are also suppose to social distance. Have you ever tried to socially distance young children? It is similar to bathing cats. Some love it and others, not so much.
In April/May, groups were split up. Friends who would see each other daily prior to the pandemic, were now separated and not allowed contact. Group sizes were shut down to a, “stable group of 5 – 10.” Kids could not switch between groups or hang out with their friends, only half of them. Watching students grieve and ask why they can’t see their friend any more, knowing they are in the class on the other side of the wall or downstairs was hard.
We are a little frustrated about the 62 pages of rules with many pieces of fine print costing money, time and giving up many of our personal freedoms. Yet we love our jobs. So we press on and pray for this storm to pass and for things to return to normal. One thing we are grateful for in the new massive rule that begins on September 1, 2020, going back to group sizes. For our center this would be a max class of 20, for our homes max of 16. Friends will be reunited and so happy to see each other!
For those of you who supported us during this time, thank you. For those of you who supported your provider in your State or City, THANK YOU! Child care has been damaged in this pandemic. The financial losses from requirements from the state were large. Shutting down programs only allowing one group was also financially hard. A program that once had four groups, now had to financially sink, there was no other choice -no funding supports when our legs were knocked out. Developmentally appropriate practices have been thrown out. Teachers must cover their faces and wear, “Hazmat suit,” material if you are feeding an infant a bottle (and a mask). Can you imagine what infants are going through? How terrifying this must be for them.
It is my sincere hope that our nation can return back to some form of normalcy where Developmentally Appropriate practices are again embraced and providers are allowed to again practice the art of Early Childhood Education. Until then, Preschool and Child Care is just a shadow of what it was prior to COVID. Until then teachers and program directors need your support and encouragement.
It can be challenging moving into a new area, or having your first child. What is there to do for kids in our area? Here is part 1 of the three part series. where to take your family on adventures or vacations.
High Desert Museum: Here is a day full of as many fun adventures as you could dream of. From life on the ranch, feeding chickens, pumping water, to zoo animals -there are many child friendly activities here. Twice a year you can check in here on a FREE day! Check their website for details. Click Here for website.
Camping in a Yurt: In Oregon there are these cool things called Yurts! They are set up with beds inside at a camp ground. My favorite are along the Oregon Coast and they are SUPER affordable. You literally pack your suitcase, a sleeping bag and food, then stay camping style without the cost. Yurt costs vary but they are a cheap option. You can select your date through Reserve America, prepay and you are ready to go. Hint -book ahead…. like WAYYYY ahead. These are a gem and locals know it!
Mount Bachelor -FREE Skiing: You heard it here, Mount Bachelor has my vote over any other mountain in the US! They have a lift called Carosel where you and your child can LEARN to ski though experience for FREE. Let me repeat that… FREE. I know… pick your jaw up off the floor. Bend is really heaven. You need your own gear https://bend.craigslist.org or www.gearfix.com are wonderful places to save some money when getting equipped.
Wanoga Snow Park -tubing and sledding: It is a whole $5 (for the parking pass)! Bring your own gear. Occasionally there are food trucks there. Make sure to pack snacks. My clan is always starved after our adventure.
Bouncing off the Wall: Is the weather less than outdoor weather today? Need something to run off some energy? Look no further! This is a great place to get out the wiggles.
Mountain Air: Indoor trampoline park is fun for all ages, adults and kids alike! You can jump for 30 minutes or two hours. There is dodgeball, a small kids area, foam pit even basketball. This is a hoot with a large group or for birthday parties. It is little more on the spendyside, but a fun memory.
Bend Rock Gym: Children who are old enough to walk can enjoy BRG. With auto belay technology, you can climb along side your preschooler or your spouse. No previous rock climbing experience needed. We usually go for an hour and rent shoes while there. It is along the spender actives and well worth it.
Juniper Swim: In the winter there is great swimming at Juniper. The price is very affordable and it is a great way to tire out your active kids. In the summer, the outdoor swim and water play area is open. No additional fee’s are charged and you can bask out in the sun while enjoying the pool with your littles.
Cascade Indoor sports: I LOVE roller skating and I’m hoping it will come back strong like it was in the 80’s! Cascade Indoor Sports has roller skating. Great music, games, reverse skate… the only thing missing is couples skate. Considering these are our kids and we aren’t the kids… couples skate can be left out. Affordable and fun. Skate times are listed on their website and usually there are additional hours on non school days.
Bend Lava Cave: This link is to trip advisor for this special monument of amazement. We took our boys when they were infants here. Wonderful memories and it is breath taking. We went in the summer time as the natural AC was just what we needed.
Wow there was a lot of snow the last 48 hours. We recorded 26″ here at Bend Preschool! That might possibly be a record of some sort. The snow pacalypse of 2016, has passed, sidewalks have been blown off, parking made available and we are all set for Friday. Drive safe on your way to school and see you tomorrow!
Click Here for Snow Pacalypse 2016 Video
“NO, I can’t leave MOM! I can’t find my socks! And my pants don’t fit any more!” screamed my 6 year old daughter as we were late for school the 5th time this week. That was it. I’m going to have to get another late slip in the office.
My mind wandered back to the days of each of my five kids, being infants. The long nights of multiple messy diapers, the “poo-caso paintings” they sometimes created middle of the night and the ever stained clothing… these just seem to be a stage we have been stuck in for 17 years! You like me, wondered how these heaps of dirty laundry, unmatched socks, clothes under the bed, under the sink, under the sheets come to life. How do people get to nicely organized drawers and kids who were happily going to the car each morning for school?
As I sat folding socks about 4 weeks ago, an idea came to me. From this idea our house became a house of happy mornings with matched socks and “magical drawers.” Let me share with you a few simple tricks to conquer this laundry monster.
1) Set the week up: Pick out 7 outfits that will work for the week. Example: One shirt, one pair of pants, socks and undies = 1 outfit
2) Limit the options: We have nice clothes, play clothes, summer clothes, winter clothes, too small clothes, too big clothes -TOO MANY CLOTHES! Yet it is impossible to part with anything (am I the only hoarder here?)… Lock the other options up
3) Donate: Get those 0-3 month clothes out to someone who needs more laundry. Pay it Forward group on facebook or Goodwill, so many people are in need.
4) Wash on short cycle: You know that cycle that takes 1.5 hours to wash, then the clothes get left in there and need rewashed and the laundry just stacks up another week while the clothes get stinky? Then the things from the dryer end up on the floor unfolded for the week? End that. Now. Use the 30 or 45 minute cycle. Now you can remember to flip, fold and put away before midnight strikes.
Know that if you are in the middle of laundry he!! that you too can break free. This simple strategy has led to more peace, less laundry and less fighting in our family.
I’m sure everyone out there in the world has already conquered the looming laundry beast. Just in-case he is still lurking in your home, now you know our secret to keeping him a small pet.
Reading. It is the single most talked about thing in current culture.
“Can your infant read?” “When will my preschooler read?” “Why can’t my second grader read?” “My friend has a child with dyslexia and she can’t read more than a sentence without a headache.”
Each day, reading seems to be more of a focus. It is amazing how much we learn from reading. It is how all learning is set up in the 21st century. On line classes, story problems for first graders and on it goes. A love of reading develops at an early age. Here are some quick tips for developing a love of reading in your family.
Turn off the tube– Hard as it might be, that babysitter is creating an antithesis of reading (the opposite). It is stealing the time, attention and imagination away from your child. Create limited TV time and more time for books. How about that time just before dinner. When your little(s) are cranky and all you want is to make your dinner without totally freaking out!! I hear ya! Go to step 2….
Have books around– That’s right, just laying around. Maybe a small basket in the kitchen while you are cooking dinner. Maybe have two baskets. One with fun pictures, textures, wheels to turn and nobs to push, poop books (kids love gross stuff) and one with beautiful pictures where they can make up the stories. Your little Moe or Mia can sit and play with texture books, or your preschooler can show you all the tractors in the farm book. While this may be a change of pace for your family, the creativity and memories they have with you and books will spark the love of books needed for success.
Make reading fun– After dinner clean up is done, have Moe or Mia pick out their favorite story book. Then read it. Just one. Use crazy voices, loud, soft, grandma, baritone and mousy. When your children laugh they are reducing stress and bonding with you. Did I mention this is a great way to create lasting memories?
Let book time be a benefit– Book time at our house is a, “I got to stay up later than my bedtime,” privileged. When we loose book time, there are tears and great sadness. Loosing book time is the end all and worst way to go to sleep in the Crawmer home. Why? When bedtime is 7:45 and you can stay up until 8:15 reading books, as a child you feel in control. Each book you get to read, “past bedtime,” is another notch in your belt. Then mom or dad comes in and will read your favorite story of the night. This does lead to an 8:30/:45 bedtime in our house and we now have all of our children reading.
Bring them everywhere– Road trip? Bring books. Airplane ride? Bring books. Going to lunch with friends and your child? Bring books. The Dentist? Bring books. Reading takes us to new places. Books have a way of changing our perspective on life. Let the iphone and tablets take a rest and let the books come out of their nest.
Children read when their skills are ready. Children speak when they are ready. These things can not be forced. Introduce your child to a world of reading and be excited about new books coming into your life. Let reading with your children become a lifestyle choice that leads your family to a road of success… the success of reading.
Every year, around this time of year my heart feels. It feels more than I like. Don’t know about you, but I love to feel happy. The warm feeling of falling in love with a new baby, a first love, new puppy, finding a soul mate -I love these feelings.
The feeling a mother feels for her children, I love that feeling too. The warmth, snuggles, the soft whispers -they just make every day beautiful. That part I find hard about love is vulnerability. Our hearts are open to others and it feels so wonderful.
On December 9th, 2009 my heart felt the deepest sadness a parent can feel. The death of my daughter. Just before a parent meeting for our Crawmer’s Critterz toddler class, I had gone in for my 20 week prenatal check on Mimi -our daughter. Just the week prior we had found out she was a girl. Wiggling, bumping, sucking her thumb, she was just everything we could hope and dream of. How was it that I would be giving birth to her on December 9th, before her time? How was it she didn’t make it into my arms? What did I do wrong? Did I not sleep enough? Not love her enough? Was it that night I slept on my tummy? It is moments like these that leave our hearts breaking for the little hearts that have stopped beating before their time.
I went into St Charles, December 9th. A place of laughter, new life and little cries was now a place I would remember as a place of heart break, tragedy and broken dreams. I remember our nurse. She told me the greatest gift I was still left to be given -birth. Tears, full body sobs…. that was the only form of communication that was produced from my greif stricken body. How does this make a happy ending? How is this, “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purposes?” My heart was feeling… more than I cared to feel. Doubt and despair filled my being.
Our prayer team at Westside Church prayed peace over me. Holding Mimi, I’ll never forget her face. So soft and quiet. Her little body lay in my hands. She never got to meet her brothers and sisters. I never got to hear her new born cry, her laughter, or change her first diaper. She was gone in a flash. My hello, was also her goodbye. The peace I felt in the moments following her birth… words just can’t explain.those.moments.
Leaving the hospital was probably the hardest part. Her body was left with Baird’s Funeral home. Her remains cremated so we could keep her with us for as long as we live. How do you give birth and know you never can see or hold your baby again? That their life is over? The sweet moments and kicks are gone with nothing left? How do you explain to all of your friends that you will not be having a baby? What do you tell your children? So many unanswered questions as Russ and I walked down this sorrow-filled road. No one to talk to. No books to read. No answers in sight. Just broken hearts.
Milly was born to us October 7, 2010. The entire pregnancy was filled with fear, bleeding and complications. There wasn’t a night I slept until she was born and could cry. No ultrasound could give me hope. Yet, her little heart wouldn’t have made it into my world without Mimi’s sacrifice. Mimi gave up her spot in our family for Milly. Talk about the ultimate sacrifice. Every day, I spend my life valuing and loving the little hearts and lives of our precious chidlren here at Crawmer’s. I know, deeply and personally, how valuable life is. Our hearts as parents are tied to our children. They are not replaceable and our love is unending.
So today, December 9, 2014, I remember my daughter Mimi. The urn that contains what is left of my baby, is held a little tighter. Her little heart will forever bring a twinge of sorrow in my life. Yet that sorrow is also joy; joy for my gain of Milly -into my heart and our family. One would never wish to feel such despair and brokenness, but I am thankful for the lesson of just how precious our children are. I am thankful to be able to share my story. That others may know -it is OK to feel pain, sorrow and weakness -these are not the pretty feelings we flaunt on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Yet it is what helps us to know the depths of this life. My heart feels, and I am all the better for it.