Update from Kevin: School Closure and Distance Learning

April 15, 2020

Dear Aidan Families,

I am writing to all of you today to let you know that Aidan Montessori School will continue to keep its building closed and deliver its Distance Learning Program until at least May 15th. Our decision is informed by our local and national professional organizations and in concert with Aidan’s outstanding Board of Trustees. It is also informed – but not solely driven by – Mayor Muriel Bowser announcing that she is extending and expanding the District’s stay at home orders, including the closing of DC Public Schools. 

We continue to keep pace with best practices through our affiliation with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington (AISGW), and the Association of Independent Schools of Maryland (AIMS). These organizations are in hyper-drive, supporting all of their independent schools. We take advantage of the multiple Zoom conferences available daily to the personnel and leadership of independent schools. These are invaluable opportunities to reap the benefit of rich resources, others’ perspectives, and best practices. Our engagement with these organizations continues to provide insight that helps us anticipate the evolving COVID-19 landscape and establish our unique path.

Aidan’s Distance Learning Program is in its third week, and everyone has been preparing for the potentiality that it could go on past April 27, and now it will. As each week goes by, we all get better at what we are doing, and we could not do it without your very valuable input. May all of you continue to do your best, given your own circumstances. Please, continue to give us feedback on the Friday surveys so that we may continue to grow. I thank and acknowledge our teachers, assistant teachers, specials, and administrators for the extra work, dedication, flexibility, creativity, and resourcefulness that this situation has demanded. Much will be learned as a result of this period in our country’s history. May we all grow from adversity.

As the DLP finds its stride and settles into an ebb and flow, the School hopes to supplement the community’s experience in other ways. Hopefully many of you were able to attend or view the recording of our virtual EPIC on the subject of social media and children. In addition, next Wednesday, April 22, we will host an all-school Zoom session: “Coping with Kids During COVID-19: How to manage stress and anxiety for you and your family.” More information about this event will be sent to families shortly. Again, our immediate focus was delivering an academic program by distance. We have since been integrating our Assistant teachers and Specials into the children’s experience. We have also pushed for more touch points between teachers, children, and parents. And, we hope to continue with other supportive efforts such as bi-weekly Virtual EPICs and community events.

We will unfortunately be cancelling Grandparents’ and Special Persons’ Day, which was scheduled for Friday, May 8th. We will also be unable to hold Evening of the Arts as an in-person event. However, Ms. Skor is working on an online alternative event, and she will be communicating out about this in the near future. To that end, she requests that families – according to their ability and understanding of time demands – take pictures and/or videos of their children creating art. This is in anticipation of the alternative event likely being an online opportunity for the community (local and distant) to celebrate Aidan’s artists virtually. Again, details regarding this event will be forthcoming. In the meantime, Children and families are invited to share their own art or for inspiration, ideas, and activities, check out the Art section on the Specials page.

As we navigate the evolving COVID-19 landscape, we will continue to try and act in the best interests of our community. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we learn together and evolve our response together. Please, continue to give us your feedback and let us know how we can be supportive of your children and your family. We share your goals and aspirations and our faculty are working very hard to rise to these uniquely challenging times. 

I remember first hearing Maria Montessori’s contention that children learn when they struggle, and I immediately understood this to be true. And, I believe we all learn from struggle, which means we are all learning more nowadays than usual. From parent feedback, I know that many are struggling to aid their children in their learning while at home. While this quote from Dr. Montessori offers no solutions, it does serve as an acknowledgement to all who teach, including parents: “When you have solved the problem of controlling the attention of the child, you have solved the entire problem of (their) education.” 

Stay well and stay healthy,

Kevin

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