As noted in the Letter to Province, March 25, we have created this special section in our weekly publication of Bridges. Together with other material that we'll be sending during this time of 'social distancing,' we will be including personal reflections and sharings from our sisters in the province. Hearing how others are coping with and responding to our current situation can help us stay connected. We all know that "when several go together (even while we're 'sheltering in place') ... there is assurance and courage and fresh support."
Our first contribution is from Sr. Joan Faraone, Director of our Thevenet Montessori School in Highland Mills, NY. Thank you, Joan!
THEVENET MONTESSORI SCHOOL
Thevenet Montessori School may be formally closed right now, but nothing can stifle the school community’s spirit and commitment to learning.
Through the creativity of its staff, Thevenet Montessori, like its foundress, is taking on a new face in response to the corona circumstances.
TMS teachers have prepared work packets for students and are using technology to recreate Maria Montessori’s prepared environment and sensory experiences, transporting them right into the living rooms of their students. As an example, Annie Chang and Robin Quiles, the teachers of West Class (ages 3 through 5), are using Zoom daily to connect with their students and families. I was privileged to participate in the first conference of that class, and it was so great to witness the children (and their siblings and parents) on Zoom, seeing and interacting with their teachers, holding up the work they had completed, and explaining it to their classmates – all 29 of them, and just being so proud of their achievements!
On the upper levels, teachers and students are using technology to form instructional “Teams,” through the protocols of Microsoft 365, as well as Face Time for individual and small group sessions. But as good as our technology is, it can never replace the importance of human contact. Averi, Grade 2, during a Face Time lesson with her teacher, Ms. Spanos, burst into tears because she wanted/needed to be with her teacher again.
The Thevenet Montessori School community joins all the RJMs throughout our Province in praying for a quick return to normalcy, not just at Thevenet, but in our state, nation and world.
- Sr. Joan Faraone