I write to you this morning, buoyed by the enthusiasm families brought to campus this weekend at our Playground Time event. As children made new friends and reveled in our beautiful green spaces, parents chatted and got to know each other. Of course, everyone remained distanced and wore masks. Kudos to Annie Groat, our Director of Institutional Advancement, who did the heavy lifting of planning. I also want to thank GASPA Co-chairs Aimee Wadeson '92 and Jennifer Lowe for their help in making this event a success. Who knew that pool noodles tag would become a new sport?
Over the past few weeks, I have joined colleagues and trustees in orienting and welcoming new families at our virtual coffees, as well as new trustees at this past weekend’s Board Retreat. I ask that returning families, staff, and trustees join me in supporting our newer community members, and likewise, that we open ourselves to learning and growing from the fresh lens our newcomers offer.
This coming week, we will be assessing and deciding the timing of having Kindergarten join Pre-K on campus, as well as the subsequent timing of grades 1 and 2, should everything remain the same. As I mentioned before, while we review current State and County statistics, we will determine what works best for our community and space, given our 15 acres and low student-to-staff ratio.
Likewise, we are finalizing a process and schedule for regular on-campus get-togethers (at the end of the school day or on weekends) until those grades are back on site.
The first week of Pre-K was filled with joyful voices and activities—both planned and emergent—that made for busy, exciting days. The children even tracked a large katydid that visited campus! Seeing the Pre-K students make art outside was a treat, and I am impressed with how well they manage to keep their face coverings on (especially for an age where keeping track of shoes on their feet is no small
As you know, we continue to support staff who must work and teach while their own children are in virtual classrooms, and we have called upon some Extended Day staff to accommodate this need. A highlight was seeing two staff siblings share a turtle they rescued crossing the road on their way to Green Acres. They made a temporary habitat and, with staff help, released the critter during Choice Time. I have a soft spot for “save-the-animals” stories and enjoyed seeing the light in their eyes as they attended to the turtle.
The question came up recently about use of pronouns, both in nametags, as identifiers on video calls and in general. This practice is one of the many ways that we at Green Acres recognize and affirm gender non-binary folks and support their right to be identified correctly.
Coming up for families this and next week are our virtual Back-to-School Nights. Responding to parent/guardian needs, we are providing the opportunity for you to hear from the adults who teach your child(ren), along with a Question & Answer time. We look forward to seeing you on screen, and to hearing your feedback about how we communicate so that we may be more responsive to how you access information about your child’s Green Acres experience.
Here's to another week of learning together, thinking critically and creatively, practicing our growth mindset, getting outdoors, and deepening our connections and friendships!
Rebecca Geary (she/they)
Head of School