St. Joseph School – Fullerton has a rich history in the Perry Hall area of Baltimore County for over 150 years educating students but the 2020-2021 school year has been like no other. The global pandemic had both the school administration and teachers seeking ways to creatively deliver the highest academic content to students for both in-person and virtual instruction in grades PreK-4 through 8th grade.
Creating new experiences for St. Joseph School’s youngest PreK-4 students is what veteran teachers Ms. Colleen Bates and Mrs. Jessamyn Scott set out to do at the beginning of the school year. Both teachers, who individually have 15 years of teaching experience, pulled from a wealth of knowledge and resources to make individualized instruction work during this time of uncertainty. “PreK during a pandemic has been an incredible time for students and staff to blossom and adapt while keeping the fun and learning alive and thriving,” said Mrs. Scott.
While the health and safety of students is paramount, teachers have not sacrificed the mission of the St. Joseph School’s PreK-4 program: challenging children to grow academically, spiritually, and socially.
Things look a bit different in our PreK classrooms this year! The twenty-four PreK-4 students are greeted each morning outside of the PreK entrance by a PreK staff member for a morning wellness assessment that includes temperature check, mask check, and sanitation of the lunch box. As students enter into the two PreK classrooms, they find desks now spread out to maintain appropriate social distance between students, instead of previous collaborative seating arrangements. Each student has easy access to their own personal supplies, projects, crafts, math manipulatives, and an iPad.
During instruction, students break into smaller, appropriately-spaced groups for 1:1 individualized instruction, ensuring that all learning needs are met. Students also engage in a special area curriculum which includes art, music, physical education, computer, and library. Brain breaks throughout the day involve yoga or dance for free movement play.
“I have been amazed at how easily and pleasantly my students have adapted to the challenges and new experiences we have faced this year,” said Mrs. Bates. “Covid 19 has not stopped us from finding creative, fun ways to meet our educational goals as well as fostering a loving and safe classroom environment!”
It is exciting to see these young students rise to the challenges this school year has presented and the creativity brought by our teachers to deliver these lessons in a safe and fun manner.
“The entire school community is dedicated to a quality learning experience and it has shown during this unique year,” said Assistant Principal Mrs. Ashby, quite proudly. “Teachers, students, and parents have all done an amazing job adjusting to make this year a success.”
To learn more and to apply to the St. Joseph School – Fullerton PreK-4 program, visit their website.