Congratulations, Eileen, on your new position as director of Saint Mary Preschool. You’ve been involved in the school a long time.
My own children went through the preschool starting in the three-year-old classroom. My oldest is now almost twenty-two, so I’ve been in for a long time.
I started teaching in the four-year-old classroom nine years ago. This will be my tenth year in the preschool as I start a new adventure.
How did you get involved in teaching young children?
My background is elementary education. I taught second and third grade full time until I started having children.
I returned to teaching as a substitute Kindergarten teaching when a position came open in the four-year-old classroom at Saint Mary Preschool.
It’s great that you moved up to become the director. That’s quite a change.
It is quite a change. Carla was an outstanding director and a great mentor to me. She really knows her stuff. I learned a lot from her.
It was a big and prayerful decision to follow Carla after her retirement. For Carla, the time was right for retirement. She was ready for a change. I decided that I was ready for a change.
Carla is not far. She’s a phone call away. She gets calls from me almost daily. Carla has allowed me to keep her as a consultant.
Carla’s wisdom has been a Godsend over the summer because we’re preparing for what will be a very different school year. I have needed her experience to know what to do. We have worked together very closely to plan for the next school year.
This is an unusual time to take over an established program. How is 2020 different from previous years?
In the middle of this pandemic, it’s been a Baptism by fire. I’ve done a lot of research on my own. I’ve contacted other educators. I’ve been in touch with people from the health department. I’m looking at how we can follow the CDC guidelines.
With Carla’s help, we have determined what we feel are the best practices and safety protocols to open safely this fall.
For the parents who are already involved at Saint Mary Preschool, what do they need to know about the upcoming year?
Probably one of the biggest differences you’ll see is a change to the drop off procedures. We will ask parents to drop off their children at the external classroom doors. Our building has external classroom doors for almost every classroom. We can screen the children as they approach the external doors.
In the past, parents have walked their children into the hallways. The CDC recommends that parents avoid coming in and out of the school building. We are going to accommodate those guidelines by meeting parents and children at the door.
The teachers will assist the children in unloading their backpacks and getting them settled in the classroom.
As to the classrooms themselves, we are hoping that the interaction between the teachers and students will look the same. We want to have that loving and playful environment
We will probably not be able to have the number of volunteers that we are used to having. We won’t be going on any field trips either. That’s disappointing, but we will keep in mind that this is hopefully for a very short time.
For parents or newborns or one-year-olds who are looking at sending their kids to Saint Mary Preschool, how can they get involved?
They can reach out to me, by phone at 918-749-4030, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can give parents a tour so they can see exactly what our facilities are. I will include them in any of our emails and will disseminate to them any information I will send to parents of enrolled students.
There are openings in the two-year-old classroom and in the four-year-old classroom.