By
Vera Wiest
HDQM
Child building with blocks

October 6, 2020 -  The Center for Young Children, UMD preschool and kindergarten,  has opened this fall for a fulltime core day  with smaller classes as a response to covid-19. Special precautions are in place for everyone’s safety including following all guidelines put forth by the Maryland Health Department and the Maryland Department of Education.

Teachers say that children have been adjusting well and are happy to be reconnecting with friends making new ones. One teacher remarked to parents, "Your children are all amazing at wearing masks and washing hands! We are very impressed." Parents are delighted to be able to send their children to a quality program.

Some of the topics addressed in these first weeks have been learning the possibilities of the classroom centers, proper handwashing techniques, beginning yoga, discovering each other’s families, personal emotions and feelings, and enjoying the many opportunities available on the large CYC playground.

The kindergarten children have been discussing where they live and trying to decipher the difference between cities, states, countries, etc. They have also been focusing on rhyming words and identifying letters and letter sounds.

Eric Maring (Mr. M), has returned as the CYC’s music teacher and he conducts each classroom session outside, weather permitting. “What a joy to be out under the trees with the CYC students this week!!,” remarked Maring. “We sang "Five Little Ducks" with Mother Duck, hopped like bunnies with John the Rabbit, tapped the beat and recited some favorite nursery rhymes with Wolfie and rocked back and forth to "Simple Gifts" with Owlie.  What a blessing is music in our lives.” Mother Duck, John the Rabbit, Wolfie, and Owlie, are Mr. M’s beloved puppets.

Although drop and pick-up have been modified for social distancing, Assistant Director Anne Daniel, commented on how warm and welcoming the teachers have been when greeting families each morning and afternoon and that the whole process has been relatively smooth.

Teachers and staff have been doing a wonderful job at adapting and coming up with new strategies to be able to offer families an alternative to at home electronic instruction. These “in person” daily school sessions are proving invaluable to children and families.