Preschool Update

October 25, 2020

Dear Preschool Families,

As a school of impact, we continue to think about what it means to be an engaged citizen leader during this election season. Considering the social, emotional, moral, and spiritual parts of each child enables our students to experience the class community through norms, morning meeting, and play. We set the conditions for high engagement and encourage preschoolers to contribute their unique ideas, questions, and talents in order for the whole community to thrive. As we approach the end of the first trimester this week, we are grateful for the relationships that have been built and the progress that each child is making. Please make a note of the Parent University opportunity and the Halloween Spirit Day coming up this week. 

Extended Play through 5:00
Extended Play is currently being offered to students until 5:00 from Monday through Thursday. Beginning the week of November 2, Fridays will be included.

Wednesday, October 28 — Parent University Special Topics Series

Resilience and the Power of Inclusion and Connection to End Bullying, 8:30 – 10:00 am 

Join the MV parent community to watch an online community screening of The Upstanders, followed by a virtual panel discussion. The Upstanders is a documentary film about resilience and the power of inclusion and connection to end bullying. This independent film explores various types of bullying and the brain science behind it all. The film explores the need for inclusive behaviors and calls for a change in how we act as humans to stand up and make a difference together to create systemic change. Led by a panel of experts including Mount Vernon’s Counseling Team, attendees will explore inclusive behaviors that can strengthen a community where all members feel valued and safe. RSVP: Register to receive the Zoom link to participate.

Thursday, October 29 — Halloween Spirit Day
Preschool students can wear Halloween spirit wear or a costume (no accessories, weapons, or costume masks).

Friday, October 30 — No School for Students

Tuesday, November 3 — Early Release
The School will run a half-day schedule on November 3, Election Day, in order to provide faculty and staff ample opportunity to vote during COVID constraints. Students in Preschool – Grade 1 will be dismissed at 11:15. Their older siblings in Grades 2-5 will join them at carpool.

Much like the local, national, and global communities to which your children will one day live, work, and serve, the classroom community is one of the first places where they share a set of similar experiences and can work together for the common good. We aim to help each child recognize and appreciate the diverse contributions of others and feel a sense of belonging as a citizen in the class.

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus | x2001

Erin Carey
Director of Preschool | x2329

Division Updates

Preschool School Resources

COVID Contact Info

COVID Information Line: 678.515.4891
COVID Information Email: Sheldon Staples
COVID eFax Line: 404.591.1441

Communication Archive

October 18: Week 11 Logistics

October 18, 2020

Dear Preschool Families,

Have you taken some opportunities to talk about our community, its leaders, and the right to vote with your Preschooler?

Research tells us that children see more, hear more, and experience more fully than adults. Their brains are constantly in the process of making connections among its many multisensory inputs. Children continually find ways to look at things from different viewpoints.

While it is not developmentally appropriate to ask Preschoolers to consider public policy and global issues, their skills of perception and orientation are developing now and will strengthen with the right environment, teaching, and experiences. Touching, tasting, and closely observing objects are important for our youngest children. Older learners need to climb high, observe from lying on the ground, and hang upside down. We learn lots from seeing the world through a child’s point of view, and we will continue to build opportunities for these skills to develop.

Extended Play through 5:00
Extended Play is currently being offered to students until 5:00 from Monday through Thursday. Beginning the week of November 2, Fridays will be included.

Wednesday, October 28 — Parent University Special Topics Series

Resilience and the Power of Inclusion and Connection to End Bullying, 8:30-10:00 am
Join the MV parent community to watch an online community screening of The Upstanders, followed by a virtual panel discussion. The Upstanders is a documentary film about resilience and the power of inclusion and connection to end bullying. This independent film explores various types of bullying and the brain science behind it all. The film explores the need for inclusive behaviors and calls for a change in how we act as humans to stand up and make a difference together to create systemic change. Led by a panel of experts including Mount Vernon’s Counseling Team, attendees will explore inclusive behaviors that can strengthen a community where all members feel valued and safe. RSVP: Register to receive the Zoom link to participate.

Thursday, October 29 — Halloween Spirit Day
Preschool students can wear Halloween spirit wear or a costume (no accessories, weapons, or costume masks).

Friday, October 30 — No School for Students

Tuesday, November 3 — Early Release
The School will run a half-day schedule on November 3, Election Day, in order to provide faculty and staff ample opportunity to vote during COVID constraints. Students in Preschool – Grade 1 will be dismissed at 11:15. Their older siblings in Grades 2-5 will join them at carpool.

Much like the local, national, and global communities to which your children will one day live, work, and serve, the classroom community is one of the first places where they share a set of similar experiences and can work together for the common good. We aim to help each child recognize and appreciate the diverse contributions of others and feel a sense of belonging as a citizen in the class.

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus | x2001

Erin Carey
Director of Preschool | x2329

October 11: Week 10 Logistics

October 11, 2020

Dear Preschool Families,

This past week was a special one. Our School community honored the life and impact of Coach Hill. Coach Hill taught us how to be a good person by putting others first, and we will hold his memory in our hearts forever. Additionally, our Preschoolers enjoyed the beautiful weather, we welcomed a few new friends to the Preschool, and portrait day captured some precious smiles of happy children. We are grateful for another rich week of learning and play in the Preschool.

One important component of each student’s learning this fall will focus on how to participate completely in a democratic society as engaged citizen leaders. We are committed to providing children opportunities to investigate events that deepen their knowledge of others who take care of our community in a variety of ways. We will also learn to value differences within our community. Finally, we will practice the skills associated with a democratic society like making decisions, casting a vote, and asking in-depth questions to better understand an issue or topic.

Preschool Schedule — Through October
Through October, the School will continue to remain open five days a week, while continuing to offer the Preschool afternoon option, with half-day Fridays – dismissal at 11:15.

Friday “Half-Days” for Preschool – Grade 1
Dismissal on Fridays through October will be 11:15. Note: Students will be joined by their older siblings who are in Grades 2-5.

Tuesday, October 13 — Extended Play through 5:00 Begins
Beginning Tuesday, October 13, Extended Play will be offered to students until 5:00. Extended Play will take place Monday-Thursday (no Extended Play on Fridays except children of staff, until 12:30).

October 13-16 — Homecoming Week
MV Littles love to show their Mustang Spirit. Though COVID restrictions will prevent us from attending the game this year, please note the special dress days:

  • Tuesday: Tacky Tuesday (wear mismatched clothing, fun patterns, turn things inside out or backwards)
  • Wednesday: Crazy Hair/Hat Day
  • Thursday: Jersey Day (wear your favorite team’s jersey or tshirt)
  • Friday: Spirit Day

Friday, October 16 — Parents Prayer Group
9:00 – 10:00 am via Zoom
All MV parents, grandparents, and caregivers are invited to join together once a month to cultivate Christian values defined as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. In addition to reflecting on a relevant and timely devotion at each meeting, this group will lift up our Mount Vernon community up in prayer, praying for different MV students, faculty, and staff members by name. All are welcome to listen, reflect, pray silently with us, or volunteer to lead a prayer. To join the Parents Prayer Bloomz Group, enter Bloomz code: 9W7UBU after clicking on “+class/group” at the bottom of your profile page within the Bloomz app.

Wednesday, October 28 — Parent University: Live Screening of The Upstanders, followed by an online panel discussion. Join our MV Community for a live webinar screening of The Upstanders, a documentary about resilience and the power of inclusion and connection to end bullying. This independent film explores various types of bullying and the brain science behind it all. The film explores the need for inclusive behaviors and calls for a change in how we act as humans to stand up and make a difference together to create systemic change. Led by a panel of experts including Mount Vernon’s Counseling Team, attendees will explore inclusive behaviors that can strengthen a community where all members feel valued and safe. More details to come.

Friday, October 30 — No School

IDEA Update
As a part of the Next 100 Days Action Steps for IDEA, the School launched an internal search to identify four inclusion, diversity, equity, and action coordinators, representing each of the four divisions to increase representation for curricular and instructional advancement within the School as well as to provide greater support for families of color. After a thorough and thoughtful process, we are excited and honored to announce the selection of Molly Collier as the Preschool IDEA Coordinator.

I hope your family had a safe and relaxing Fall Break. We are excited to return to school with some Mustang Pride this week. We encourage you to participate in our Lower Campus Homecoming Spirit Dress-Up Days!

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus | x2001

Erin Carey
Director of Preschool | x2329

October 4: Week 9 Logistics

October 4, 2020

Dear Preschool Families,

Can you believe that October is already here? This month will offer some of the best learning experiences for your children during these formative years of development. Back-to-school routines have been mastered, confidence is high, and friendships have been strengthened. Now we are focused on building strong language development, numeracy skills, self-regulation strategies, and creativity. Your children are competent people who are thriving in our program which balances structure with spontaneity, provocations with play, and student-initiated with teacher-led.

Preschool Schedule — Through October
Through October, the School will continue to remain open five days a week, while continuing to offer the Preschool afternoon option, with half-day Fridays – dismissal at 11:15.

Early Preschool (Infants, Toddlers, and Twos)

  • Half day enrollees will be dismissed at 12:00.
  • Full day enrollees have the opportunity to stay until 3:00.

Preschool

  • PK3 and PK4: Students will attend their regular full day of school (8:00-12:00) with the option to participate in Extended Play until 3:00.
  • PK5: Students will attend their regular full day of school (8:00-1:30) with the option to participate in Extended Play until 3:00
  • If you are picking up your child outside of carpool times, please park and come to the building entrance, and we will retrieve your child and meet you outside. Please remember to wear your face covering.

Friday “Half-Days” for Preschool – Grade 1
Dismissal on Fridays through October will be 11:15. Note: Students will be joined by their older siblings who are in Grades 2-5.

Tuesday October 6 — Student Portraits (Twos-PK5)
Lower Campus student portraits will be taken on Tuesday, October 6. Classes will travel together to the Lower Campus Gym at their scheduled time between 8:30 and 12:30.

October 9-12 — Fall Break

The School will be closed on Friday, October 9 and Monday, October 12 for Fall Break.

Tuesday, October 13 — Extended Play Through 5:00 Begins

Beginning Tuesday, October 13, Extended Play will be offered to students until 5:00. Extended Play will take place Monday-Thursday (no Extended Play on Fridays except children of staff, until 12:30).

October 13-16 — Homecoming Week
MV Littles love to show their Mustang Spirit. Though COVID restrictions will prevent us from attending the game this year, please note the special dress days:

  • Tuesday: Tacky Tuesday (wear mismatched clothing, fun patterns, turn things inside out or backwards)
  • Wednesday: Crazy Hair/Hat Day
  • Thursday: Jersey Day (wear your favorite team’s jersey or tshirt)
  • Friday: Spirit Day

Friday, October 16 — Parents Prayer Group
9:00 – 10:00 am via Zoom
All MV parents, grandparents, and caregivers are invited to join together once a month to cultivate Christian values defined as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. In addition to reflecting on a relevant and timely devotion at each meeting, this group will lift up our Mount Vernon community up in prayer, praying for different MV students, faculty, and staff members by name. All are welcome to listen, reflect, pray silently with us, or volunteer to lead a prayer. To join the Parents Prayer Bloomz Group, enter Bloomz code: 9W7UBU after clicking on “+class/group” at the bottom of your profile page within the Bloomz app.

Friday, October 30 — No School
In September, we closely observed each students’ individual strengths in order to design the language, numeracy, and social-emotional experiences that will unfold in October. We look forward to sharing those experiences with you through Kaymbu, and we long for the day when you can be back in our classrooms to be more directly involved.

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus | x2001

Erin Carey
Director of Preschool | x2329

September 27: Week 8 Logistics

September 27, 2020

Dear Preschool Families,

Are you curious about what teachers do on a late start day? Every year our faculty is committed to Research, Design, and Iterate (RDI) as a dynamic learning organization to actively seek ways to grow and better our school. This year, the professional learning framework is specifically designed to advance Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Action (IDEA) at Mount Vernon. To launch the School’s RDI series for the year, the faculty and staff watched the documentary, American Promise and discussed questions such as:

  • Have you ever experienced a child expressing what you suspected might be internalized racism?
  • How can we affirm and encourage our marginalized students as they explore their racial identities?
  • What can teachers do to understand students from different backgrounds more thoroughly in order to best advocate for them?
  • What do you think makes children want to adjust their behavior to fit in with others?
  • How can adults, specifically parents and teachers, lessen children’s fears?

It was a rich morning of development for our Preschool team, and we look forward to applying our learning to make an impact on the Preschool experience.

Preschool Schedule — Through October 8

Through October, the School will continue to remain open five days a week, while continuing to offer the Preschool afternoon option, with half-day Fridays – dismissal at 11:15.

Early Preschool (Infants, Toddlers, and Twos)

  • Half day enrollees will be dismissed at 12:00.
  • Full day enrollees have the opportunity to stay until 3:00.

Preschool

  • PK3 and PK4: Students will attend their regular full day of school (8:00-12:00) with the option to participate in Extended Play until 3:00.
  • PK5: Students will attend their regular full day of school (8:00-1:30) with the option to participate in Extended Play until 3:00
  • If you are picking up your child outside of carpool times, please park and come to the building entrance, and we will retrieve your child and meet you outside. Please remember to wear your face covering.

Friday “Half-Days” for Preschool – Grade 1
Dismissal on Fridays through October will be 11:15. Note: Students will be joined by their older siblings who are in Grades 2-5.

Student Portraits (Twos-PK5)
Lower Campus student portraits will be taken on Tuesday, October 6. Classes will travel together to the Lower Campus Gym at their scheduled time between 8:30 and 12:30. 

Fall Break
The School will be closed on Friday, October 9 and Monday, October 12 for Fall Break.

Extended Play
Beginning Tuesday, October 13, Extended Play will be offered to students until 5:00. Extended Play will take place Monday-Thursday (no Extended Play on Fridays except children of staff, until 12:30). Information about Extended Play sign-up and fees will be shared with families on Monday, September 28.

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus | x2001

Erin Carey
Director of Preschool | x2329

September 20: Week 7 Logistics

September 20, 2020

Dear Preschool Families,

Though rainy, it was another great week in our Mount Vernon Preschool. Teachers stepped up and pitched in, bringing light to your children on Thursday morning. The creative thinking and solution skills we have on our team are to be celebrated and commended.

Curriculum Morning (Recap)
Recently, parents were invited to a virtual overview of what learning will look like in the Preschool this year. In case you missed it, or would like to review what to expect for your child throughout the year and how through play, children work through their understanding of the world around them, view the recorded loom session.

Preschool Schedule — Through the end of October

Through October, the School will continue to remain open five days a week, while continuing to offer the Preschool afternoon option, with half-day Fridays – dismissal at 11:15.

Early Preschool (Infants, Toddlers, and Twos)

  • Half day enrollees will be dismissed at 12:00.
  • Full day enrollees have the opportunity to stay until 3:00.

Preschool

  • PK3 and PK4: Students will attend their regular full day of school (8:00-12:00) with the option to participate in Extended Play until 3:00.
  • PK5: Students will attend their regular full day of school (8:00-1:30) with the option to participate in Extended Play until 3:00
  • If you are picking up your child outside of carpool times, please park and come to the building entrance, and we will retrieve your child and meet you outside. Please remember to wear your face covering.

Friday “Half-Days” for Preschool – Grade 1
Dismissal on Fridays through October will be 11:15. Note: Students will be joined by their older siblings who are in Grades 2-5.

September 23, Late Start
Periodically, Mount Vernon has a late start, carved out for faculty/staff to participate in cross-divisional professional learning workshops prior to students arriving on campus. On these select days, carpool will begin at 9:10 on both campuses and the school day will start at 9:30. Childcare will not be available before carpool on either campus. Save the date for the first late start of the year, September 23.

Fall Break
The School will be closed on Friday, October 9 and Monday, October 12 for Fall Break.

Thank you for equipping your students with their rainboots and jackets this week. We love to go outside and splash in puddles and take walks around campus for some fresh air even among the sprinkles.

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus | x2001

Erin Carey
Director of Preschool | x2329

September 13: Week 6 Logistics

September 13, 2020

Dear Preschool Families,

We had a great short week in the Preschool, and we really enjoyed having some of our students stay in the afternoon for more learning and play until 3:00. We had an especially meaningful chapel on Friday to commemorate the heroes of September 11. We encourage you to talk with your child about the role of a hero in your life and empower your child to be a hero to someone in need.

Preschool Schedule — Through October 2

The School will continue to remain open five days a week and offer the Preschool more afternoon options through Friday, October 2.

Early Preschool (Infants, Toddlers, and Twos)

  • Half day enrollees will be dismissed at 12:00.
  • Full day enrollees have the opportunity to stay until 3:00.

Preschool

  • PK3 and PK4: Students will attend their regular full day of school (8:00 – 12:00) with the option to participate in Extended Play until 3:00.
  • PK5: Students will attend their regular full day of school (8:00 – 1:30) with the option to participate in Extended Play until 3:00
  • If you are picking up your child outside of carpool times, please park and come to the building entrance, and we will retrieve your child and meet you outside. Please remember to wear your face covering.

 

September 6: Prescreening Protocol

September 6, 2020

Dear Preschool Families,

This past week was filled with learning and growth for yourself, your children, and their teachers. Thank you for attending your grade level’s Curriculum Morning to get a glimpse of how teaching and learning happens in the Preschool. In addition to our continued commitment to helping your children feel connected, comfortable, and curious, our teachers have been engaged in vigorous math professional learning workshops focused on how to develop strong number sense in young children. Did you know that the best context to elicit mathematizing is through investigative thinking during daily life: sorting, shopping, cooking, or play? We encourage you to find opportunities explore the world of numbers with your child this week.

New COVID Pre-Screening Process — Beginning September 8

Modifying our process to increase the speed of carpool, utilize the Pre-Screening Protocol Link before arriving at the School each day. As you arrive, visibly display your smartphone to School officials indicating approval to enter the School for the day. Temperatures will continue to be taken at the School during carpool.

Note: If you have more than one student, you will be able to enter multiple names, regardless of division/campus. If you carpool with another family, non-family members will go through the current pre-screening process. Upper School student drivers and students riding bikes to the School will adhere to the current pre-screening process at the School. Check out a brief Pre-ScrePening video to assist you.

Preschool Schedule — Beginning September 8
The School will continue to remain open five days a week and offer the Preschool more afternoon options.

Early Preschool

  • Infants, Toddlers, and Twos who are enrolled half day will be dismissed at 12:00. Pick up will continue to be at the Preschool awning door. Please wait outside, and your child will meet you at the door. We ask that you not come into the building for afternoon pick up.
  • Infants , Toddlers, and Twos who are enrolled in full day options have the opportunity to stay until 3:00. Pick up will continue to be at the Preschool awning door.

Preschool

  • PK3 and PK4: Students will attend their regular full day of school (8:00 – 12:00) with the option to participate in Extended Play until 3:00.
  • PK5: Students will attend their regular full day of school (8:00 – 1:30) with the option to participate in Extended Play until 3:00.
  • We will run a 12:00 carpool, a 1:30 carpool, and a 3:00 carpool at the same location as morning drop off.
  • If you are picking up your child outside of the carpool times, please park and come to the building entrance, and we will retrieve your child and meet you outside. Please remember to wear your face covering.

Friday “Half-Days” for Preschool – Grade 1
Dismissal on Fridays through September will be 11:15. Note: Students will be joined by their older siblings who are in Grades 2-5.

Commemorating September 11
Traditionally, each year the School honors family members and the thousands of lives lost during the tragic day of September 11, 2001. Unfortunately, COVID has had an impact on Mount Vernon’s traditional plans, and as a result will dedicate Chapel on September 11 to commemorate in a different way. May we remember the remarkable heroes and countless people who responded to the terrible tragedy with hope, selflessness, compassion, and inspiration.

September 23, Late Start
Periodically, Mount Vernon has a late start, carved out for faculty/staff to participate in cross-divisional professional learning workshops prior to students arriving on campus. On these select days, carpool will begin at 9:10 on both campuses and the school day will start at 9:30. Childcare will not be available before carpool on either campus. Save the date for the first late start of the year, September 23.

Communication & Information Platforms
Mount Vernon uses different platforms to share a variety of information to specific audiences. In addition to the Parent Reunite Website and Kaymbu, learn more about the other communication & information platforms.

We are looking forward to having Preschool students on campus until 3:00, and we are depending on your continued commitment to partnering with us to sustain our health and wellness protocols as we continue to increase hours and attendance next week.

Stay well,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus | x2001

Erin Carey
Director of Preschool | x2329

 

August 30: Post Labor Day Plan

August 30, 2020

Dear Preschool Families,

Our time together back on campus has proven to be invaluable to our Preschool children. It has been fun to observe students’ new interests through listening to their questions, observing their play, and engaging in discussions. Teachers are using detailed documentation of experiences and ideas to guide and support rich learning. We want to continue to share these experiences with you and help you understand more of the Preschool’s approach to teaching and learning. Next week, we will be releasing pre-recorded Curriculum Morning videos to share an overview of our approaches and help you get excited about all that your child will be learning this year.

August 31-September 4

The Preschool schedule will continue to be 8:00 -11:45 through September 4. Morning drop off begins at 7:30 and afternoon pick up begins at 11:45.

Early Preschool

  • Beginning at 7:30, Infants, Toddlers, Twos, and one parent, will be screened before entering the building at the Early Preschool awning door.
  • Beginning at 11:45, pick up for Infants, Toddlers, and Twos will also be at the Preschool awning door. Please wait outside, and your child will meet you at the door. We ask that you not come into the building for afternoon pick up.

Preschool

  • Beginning at 7:30, PK3, PK4, and PK5 will be screened in the car at morning drop-off.
  • Beginning at 11:45, pick up for PK3, PK4, and PK5 will be at the same location as morning drop off. Please have your carpool number displayed.

Beginning September 8

The School will attempt to remain open five days a week and offer the Preschool more afternoon options.

Early Preschool

  • Infants, Toddlers, and Twos who are enrolled half day will be dismissed at 12:00. Pick up will continue to be at the Preschool awning door. Please wait outside, and your child will meet you at the door. We ask that you not come into the building for afternoon pick up.
  • Infants , Toddlers, and Twos who are enrolled in full day options have the opportunity to stay until 3:00. Pick up will continue to be at the Preschool awning door.

Preschool

  • PK3 and PK4: Students will attend their regular full day of school (8:00 – 12:00) with the option to participate in Extended Play until 3:00.
  • PK5: Students will attend their regular full day of school (8:00 – 1:30) with the option to participate in Extended Play until 3:00.
  • We will run a 12:00 carpool and a 3:00 carpool at the same location as morning drop off.
  • If you are picking up your child outside of the carpool times, please park and come to the building entrance, and we will retrieve your child and meet you outside. Please remember to wear your facial covering.

With Lower Campus operating at 100% capacity, we are asking for help with carpool procedures. If everyone follows a few simple tips, we will be able to expedite carpool and keep everyone safe.

  • Masks on
  • Screens off
  • Have carpool number clearly displayed in the upper passenger side windshield

Kaymbu and Other Parent Communication Platforms 

In addition to Kaymbu, Preschool parents can stay connected to the broader MV community through several different platforms.

Kaymbu is an online platform and mobile app (Kaymbu for Parents) the Preschool uses to share with families the documentation of a child’s growth and learning through photos, captions, and other highlights. Photos and videos highlighting your child’s development will be sent frequently to maintain communication of what is happening at school. Weekly newsletter updates and other reminders will be pushed to parents through Kaymbu, either by email or text to the contacts provided during enrollment, or through the Kaymbu for Parents app. Also, progress reports for twice-yearly conferences will be created and shared through Kaymbu.

We are so grateful for our community’s commitment to our protocols. We hope you have a wonderful week and restful Labor Day weekend.

Blessings,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus | x2001

Erin Carey
Director of Preschool | x2329

August 23: Week 3 Logistics

August 23, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

This past week has solidified students’ implementation of our Health and Well-Being Protocols that allow us to remain on campus to learn and play together. We are so proud of your children’s commitment to wear masks, stay “airplane wings” apart, and carefully count before entering a space. Students are also learning the flow of learning routines and eager to jump into rich lessons with the other half of the class next week. It is wonderful to walk the hallways and see self-portraits, unity quits, and wonder walls that reflect our students’ faces, values, and curiosities.

August 16: Week 2 Logistics

August 16, 2020

Dear Preschool Families,

It is great to be a Preschooler! We are so proud of our friends for having their foreheads ready for screenings at morning carpool and starting the school day ready to learn. Additionally, the support and gratitude we have received from our families has been a big encouragement and is much appreciated. We join with you in celebrating a successful start to this school year.

Commitment to IDEA

The Mount Vernon Lower Campus seeks to instill a positive sense of identity and belonging in each child by cultivating inclusive classrooms. To launch this important work, each student will engage in experiences to affirm their own identities and learn to live, work, and play in an inclusive community that embraces diversity. We are excited to share the big ideas for each grade level, so you can continue these conversations at home.

Parent Communication: Kaymbu

Kaymbu is an online platform and mobile app (Kaymbu for Parents) the Preschool uses to share with families the documentation of a child’s growth and learning through photos, captions, and other highlights. Photos and videos highlighting your child’s development will be sent frequently to maintain communication of what is happening at school. Weekly newsletter updates and other reminders will be pushed to parents through Kaymbu, either by email or text to the contacts provided during enrollment, or through the Kaymbu for Parents app. Also, progress reports for twice-yearly conferences will be created and shared through Kaymbu.

Health & Well-Being Reminders

  • If your child is experiencing any symptoms, please keep your child at home.
  • Everyone will be screened before entering the building. Anyone who does not pass the screening will be required to return home.
  • Everyone over the age of two is required to wear a mask.
  • Handwashing/sanitizing is required upon arrival and frequently throughout the day.
  • Visual cues will help us all practice physical distancing.
  • Homerooms will stay in their tight bubbles throughout the day.

Carpool/Building Entry

As a reminder, the Preschool day will be 8:00 -11:45 through September 4. Morning drop off begins at 7:30 and afternoon pick up begins at 11:45. Please wear your mask during carpool. We want to be able to safely communicate with you as needed. In morning carpool, families with Lower School siblings should drop the Lower School student off first, then continue around to Preschool carpool. In afternoon carpool, the Lower School student will join the Preschool sibling at 11:45 carpool.

Early Preschool

  • Beginning at 7:30, Infants, Toddlers, Twos, and one parent, will be screened before entering the building at the Early Preschool awning door.
  • Beginning at 11:45, pick up for Infants, Toddlers, and Twos will also be at the Preschool awning door. Please wait outside, and your child will meet you at the door. We ask that you not come into the building for afternoon pick up.

Preschool

  • Beginning at 7:30, PK3, PK4, and PK5 will be screened in the car at morning drop-off.
  • Beginning at 11:45, pick up for PK3, PK4, and PK5 will be at the same location as morning drop off. Please have your carpool number displayed.

Every summer teachers work hard to review the latest research on neuroscience and child development. We participate in community reads to deepen our understanding of new school initiatives. We attend workshops, redesign classrooms, and experiment with schedules. However, the lessons we have already learned from our students this year are some of the most valuable learnings one could ever have. We truly are better together.

Go Mustangs,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus | x2001

Erin Carey
Director of Preschool | x2329

August 11: Week 1 Logistics and Orientation

August 11, 2020

Dear Preschool Families,

Our teachers have been hard at work preparing for your children to return. They have learned our new health & well-being protocols, reunited our team, and completed hours of training. Some of the professional learning topics included: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Action; Creating Routines to Foster Independence; and “How to Talk to Kids about What is Different.” We are all feeling encouraged and inspired.

Our teachers really enjoyed the classroom meet and greets with their new class and the virtual parent-share conferences. Now, we are eager to welcome your children on campus and begin to reunite our broader Mount Vernon community. Whether the children are most excited about playtime on the Frontier, seeing friends, or meeting their teacher, we are committed to making it a great week. Our half days will be filled with moments to connect our students, spark new ideas, and remind children how much fun it is to come to school.

Commitment to IDEA

The Mount Vernon Lower Campus seeks to instill a positive sense of identity and belonging in each child by cultivating inclusive classrooms. To launch this important work, each student will engage in experiences to affirm their own identities and learn to live, work, and play in an inclusive community that embraces diversity. We are excited to share the big ideas for each grade level, so you can continue these conversations at home. 

COVID Health & Well-Being Protocols, Acknowledgement and Daily Hygiene & Screening

  • The Acknowledgment Form for the Addendum to the Family & Student Handbook must be completed in order for students to attend the first day of school.
  • Quick Reminders:
    • If your child is experiencing any symptoms, please keep your child at home.
    • Everyone will be screened before entering the building. Anyone who does not pass the screening will be required to return home.
    • Everyone over the age of two is required to wear a mask.
    • Handwashing/sanitizing is required upon arrival and frequently throughout the day.
    • Visual cues will help us all practice physical distancing.
    • Homerooms will stay in their tight bubbles throughout the day.

Carpool and Entering the Building

As a reminder, the Preschool day will be 8:00 -11:45 for the month of August. Morning drop off begins at 7:30 and afternoon pick up begins at 11:45. Please wear your mask during carpool. We want to be able to safely communicate with you as needed. In morning carpool, families with Lower School siblings should drop your Lower School student off first, then continue around to Preschool carpool. In afternoon carpool, the Lower School student will join the Preschool sibling at 11:45 carpool.

Early Preschool

  • Beginning at 7:30, Infants, Toddlers, Twos, and one parent, will be screened before entering the building at the Early Preschool awning door.
  • Beginning at 11:45, pick up for Infants, Toddlers, and Twos will also be at the Preschool Awning Door. Please wait outside, and your child will meet you at the door. We ask that you not come into the building for afternoon pick up.

Preschool

  • Beginning at 7:30, PK3, PK4, and PK5 will be screened in the car at morning drop-off.
  • Beginning at 11:45, pick up for PK3, PK4, and PK5 will be at the same location as morning drop off. Please have your carpool number displayed.

Health & Well-Being Reminders

  • If your child is experiencing any symptoms, please keep your child at home.
  • Everyone will be screened before entering the building. Anyone who does not pass the screening will be required to return home.
  • Everyone over the age of two is required to wear a mask.
  • Handwashing/sanitizing is required upon arrival and frequently throughout the day.
  • Visual cues will help us all practice physical distancing.
  • Homerooms will stay in their tight bubbles throughout the day.

Carpool/Building Entry

As a reminder, the Preschool day will be 8:00 -11:45 through September 4. Morning drop off begins at 7:30 and afternoon pick up begins at 11:45. Please wear your mask during carpool. We want to be able to safely communicate with you as needed. In morning carpool, families with Lower School siblings should drop the Lower School student off first, then continue around to Preschool carpool. In afternoon carpool, the Lower School student will join the Preschool sibling at 11:45 carpool.

Early Preschool

  • Beginning at 7:30, Infants, Toddlers, Twos, and one parent, will be screened before entering the building at the Early Preschool awning door.
  • Beginning at 11:45, pick up for Infants, Toddlers, and Twos will also be at the Preschool awning door. Please wait outside, and your child will meet you at the door. We ask that you not come into the building for afternoon pick up.

Preschool

  • Beginning at 7:30, PK3, PK4, and PK5 will be screened in the car at morning drop-off.
  • Beginning at 11:45, pick up for PK3, PK4, and PK5 will be at the same location as morning drop off. Please have your carpool number displayed.

Parent Communication: Kaymbu

Kaymbu is an online platform and mobile app (Kaymbu for Parents) the Preschool uses to share with families the documentation of a child’s growth and learning through photos, captions, and other highlights. Photos and videos highlighting your child’s development will be sent frequently to maintain communication of what is happening at school. Weekly newsletter updates and other reminders will be pushed to parents through Kaymbu, either by email or text to the contacts provided during enrollment, or through the Kaymbu for Parents app. Also, progress reports for twice-yearly conferences will be created and shared through Kaymbu.

Every summer teachers work hard to review the latest research on neuroscience and child development. We participate in community reads to deepen our understanding of new school initiatives. We attend workshops, redesign classrooms, and experiment with schedules. However, the lessons we have already learned from our students this year are some of the most valuable learnings one could ever have. We truly are better together.

Go Mustangs,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus | x2001

Erin Carey
Director of Preschool | x2329

 

August 4: Reunite: Handbook Addendum, Acknowledgement Form, and Class Schedule

August 4, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

It’s time to get excited! Your teachers are already at the School, learning our new protocols, redesigning your classrooms, and brainstorming fun ideas to welcome you all back.

At 3:00 pm today, class lists for students in Kindergarten – Grade 5 will be emailed directly to families within each grade level from their respective Lower School Heads of Grade listed below. Morning and afternoon designations that apply to the first two weeks of school will also be shared at this time, along with a Room Parent interest form link. 

  • Kindergarten: Addy DeVore
  • FIrst Grade: Anna Johnson
  • Second Grade: Melanie Thompson
  • Third Grade: Sarah Wright
  • Fourth Grade: David Ayers
  • Fifth Grade: Emily Edwards

Orientation

Adhering to the health and well-being protocols, the School is limiting access to campus in order to mitigate risk of the virus. Therefore, Orientations have been reimagined and will not take place on-campus in-person. Rather, families will receive a video introduction of your teachers and a peek inside the classroom. We encourage you to watch this video together as a family and build excitement for the new year. Do you have any connections with your new teacher? What looks the same? What looks different?

To further engage each family, please make plans to attend your Classroom Virtual Meet and Greet on Thursday, August 6. Though virtual, this will be a live event to interact with your teacher, reconnect with old friends, and welcome our new Mustangs. Look for the Zoom Link information in today’s email from your Head of Grade. 

Back to School Checklist

Please discuss and practice wearing a mask, which is required, washing hands, and maintaining 6-foot physical distance with your child at home. The School will provide a Mount Vernon face covering for each student, or you are welcome to wear your own.

The Acknowledgment Form for the Addendum to the Family & Student Handbook must be completed in order for students to attend the first day of school.

Students are asked to bring a backpack, water bottle, and a nut-free snack (Lower Campus is entirely nut-free). Please label everything!

The everyday uniform should be worn on the first day, and each student will receive this year’s MV Spirit Shirt and their MV branded face covering the first day they come to school.

As a reminder all required daily items will be supplied by the School. There are, however, a few optional items for personal purchase.

First Day of Lower School: Tuesday, August 11

Lower School Carpool:

  • Morning Carpool: All Lower School students have the same morning drop-off location. Please enter campus from Johnson Ferry Road and turn right. Pull around and all the way down to the edge of the courtyard. A member of our team will conduct a screening on students before they leave the car. Please be masked and ready to have temperature checks before the teacher arrives at your car window. We recommend that music and videos are turned off to expedite this process. As a reminder, parents are not allowed to walk students into the building this year. If you arrive after carpool is over, you may walk your child to the front desk of the Activities Building. Mr. Cheek will buzz you in and conduct the student’s screening there. Please make sure you and your child are wearing personal face coverings.
  • Afternoon Carpool
    • K- Grade 1: Kindergarten and First Grade Parents, please enter the campus from Johnson Ferry and turn right, just like morning carpool. Then, stay in the left-hand lane and continue past the courtyard and past the Preschool awning. You will pick your child up near the Education Building at the Mount Vernon Hwy exit.
    • Grades 2-5: Second through Fifth Grade Parents, please enter the campus from Johnson Ferry and turn right, just like morning carpool. Then, get in the right-hand land and continue towards Mt. Vernon Hwy along the Lower Campus Field. You will pick up your child near the Activities Building at the Mt. Vernon Hwy exit.
    • All families: Fill up your gas tank and have a cold bottled water for carpool. Things may take a little longer and will definitely require more hands on deck. So, please be patient with us.

Weeks 1 & 2: August 11 – 21

  • During Weeks 1 & 2, Lower School Homerooms will be split in half and attend half-day classes in-person Monday through Friday, either from 8:00-11:15 or 12:30-3:45. The School does not intend to shift the teaching and learning responsibility to parents under this schedule, only an extension of learning.
    • AM Session: Morning drop off begins at 7:30/Morning pick up begins at 11:15
    • PM Session: Afternoon drop off begins at 12:00/Afternoon pick up begins at 3:45
  • Lunch will not be served.
  • Students in Kindergarten through grade 5 will wear the everyday uniform except for Spirit Day on Fridays. No dress uniforms during these two weeks.
  • Extended Play will not be available for K-8 students in August (except for MV staff).

Weeks 3 & 4: August 24 – September 4

  • Lower School will attend classes 4 days, all-day (8:00-3:00) in-person and 1-day virtually. Continuing to reduce the size by building/division at any given time, the virtual days will be staggered by grade-level for both divisions. Each grade level will have 4 days of on-campus learning and 1 day of scheduled, synchronous virtual learning.
    • Monday: Grade 5 is virtual
    • Tuesday: Grade 4 is virtual
    • Wednesday: Grade 3 and Kindergarten are virtual
    • Thursday: Grades 1 and 2 are virtual
  • Full-day carpool
    • Morning drop off begins at 7:30
    • Afternoon pick up begins at 3:00
  • Lunch will be provided.
  • Students in Kindergarten through grade 5 will wear the everyday uniform except for Spirit Day on Fridays. No dress uniforms during these two weeks.
  • Extended Play will not be available for PS-8 students in August (except for MV staff).

Program Details

Lower School teachers will share regular updates about your child’s curriculum, programming, and progress through the ePortfolio platform, SeeSaw. These updates will include an overview of learning experiences, students’ work samples, and ideas for ways to extend the learning at home. Each parent will receive an email with instructions on how to create your personal account. You will enjoy seeing your child’s work and engaging through comments.

Connections 

Unfortunately, classes will not be traveling to the Art Studios, Science Lab, Spanish Room or Studio (i). However, Connection Teachers go to the homerooms to build community and engage the whole child. PE will be limited to homeroom only, and may be held in the classroom, outside, or in the gym based on availability. Though Connections classes and PE will be limited in our half-day schedule, we are committed to best practices around brain breaks, movement, and play inside our classrooms and outdoors.

Important Contacts

Eric Cheek, Lower School Executive Assistant | x2000
Elisse Hayes, Lower Campus Dean of Student and Spiritual Life and Operations | x2002
Anna Stoller, Lower Campus Nurse | x2010
Stephanie Corbett, Lower Campus Counselor | x2021
Samantha Flowers, Director of Academic Resources | x2007
Brandi Hoyos, Lower Campus and Upper Campus Director of IDEA | x2254

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus l x2001

Molly Hudson
Director of Lower School l x4211

July 30 - PS Back-to-School Plan

Dear Early Preschool/Preschool Families,

In April, we were optimistically planning back-to-school parties on the Frontier and in May we finally started to realize the magnitude of this pandemic. However, I never imagined the School would still be faced with such difficult decisions for August. But here we are.

Protecting our teachers and our youngest learners, we are committed to a slow and methodical start of the school year. We recognize the need for your children to be in school five full days a week, and we are eager for your children to return. However, we are cautiously realistic about the transition this will be for our students, teachers, and families, and having a successful start to the year is of paramount importance.

Returning to Mount Vernon on August 12 brings excitement for the familiar things we love about Preschool – friends, laughter, play-based learning, and Kaymbu posts. We will also be introducing young children to their new teachers, classmates, and classrooms as well as health and well-being protocols such as screenings, face coverings, and physical distancing.

Class Lists
On August 4, class lists will be released via Kaymbu. You will receive this information via the email address that you provided during enrollment, and can also receive these updates through the “Kaymbu for Parents” app available for your phone in the AppStore or wherever you purchase your mobile apps.

Orientation

  • Pre-recorded videos introducing classroom teachers, giving a virtual tour of the classroom, and walking through carpool procedures and protocols will be provided throughout the week of August 3-7.
  • Virtual family-share conferences will be held on August 7 to begin building strong relationships between each family and their child’s teachers – this time is suggested to be for adults rather than children.
  • A virtual meet and greet for each classroom will be scheduled for Monday, August 10 in order to introduce children to their teachers and classmates – this is when we would love for your child to participate!

First Day of Preschool: August 12

Weeks 1 – 4: August 12 – September 4

Being away for five months, implementing quality control health and well-being protocols, and recognizing the current health environment we are in, Early Preschool and Preschool will adhere to an adjusted schedule for the first four weeks of school, reducing the total number of students on-campus at any given time.

  • Early Preschool and Preschool will attend classes in-person Monday through Friday with an adjusted schedule of 8:00-11:45.
  • Beginning August 12, morning carpool will occur between 7:30-8:00 and afternoon carpool will begin at 11:45.
  • Extended Play will not be available for Preschool students in August (except for MV staff).

Teaching & Learning

The first four weeks for Preschool will focus on the following:

  • A positive and inclusive classroom environment fostering a strong bond between students and teachers as well as friendships with peers within a small, defined bubble
  • Health and well-being protocols and classroom routines
  • Foundational skills and developmental milestones
  • Observation and assessment of student’s development to guide lesson planning

Virtual Option. For PK3, PK4, and PK5 students who elect to learn virtually, we will work with each family to design a personalized and developmentally appropriate learning experience while away from campus. Due to developmental needs, there is not a virtual learning option for Infants, Toddlers, and Twos classes. If you would like for your child(ren) to participate in virtual learning, please contact Sheldon Staples at [email protected]

After Labor Day, the School will continue to assess the health pandemic conditions and provide the right model for all divisions, seeking to return to full capacity. As more information is available to the School, we will be communicating weekly through this dedicated parent website.

Additional details regarding the first day of school and general back-to-school specifics will be shared next week, once families have had an opportunity to absorb the scheduling information.

Knowing the health of our teachers, students, and families are dependent on a successful start back to school, let’s commit to a positive, slow start to the year carefully following the School’s health and wellness protocols with collective compliance.

We are grateful for your partnership.

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus

Erin Carey
Director of Preschool