What’s Right With Schools: How Beecher Road Elementary’s ‘play-based learning’ helped kindergarten classes during the pandemic

Whats Right With Schools

(WTNH) — At Beecher Road Elementary School in Woodbridge, their kindergarten classes are built around a play-based program. This year has been no different, but it’s played a huge role in helping the children during the pandemic. 

Allie Grabowski is a kindergarten teacher and she tells News 8, “I think the most challenging part was not necessarily knowing what to expect with the kids, and especially our kids being only five years old.”

It’s been an academic year full of challenges and adjustments for students and teachers but when it comes to our youngest students, teachers worry it could affect them more. 

“We had a lot of hesitations and concerns and worries at the beginning of the year,” Kindergarten teacher Lisa Farnen tells News 8.   

However, in the past couple of months, their students have adjusted and adapted to the changes, “I mean we went really slow and taught them what to do we talked about social distancing and they’re amazing.”

When it comes to play-based learning, it actually goes hand in hand with the added focus on social and emotional learning this year. Because of the pandemic, teachers and administrators have put an added emphasis on the social and emotional curriculum. For Woodbridge, their play-based learning for their kindergarten students helps mold their ability to interact with other students. 

Grabowski says, “Our students in kindergarten have two recesses and multiple masks breaks.”

It not only provides a mask break but a time to move and interact with other students outside of the learning atmosphere that comes along with the classroom. 

Both Grabowski and Farnen say the support from the administration throughout the pandemic has been adjustments easier on everyone. 

In fact, coming back to school was a nice taste of normalcy for Farnen, “Coming here once we were in the routine with the kids, this was the easy part when you’re busy with the kids believe it or not.”

Superintendent Jonathan Budd says he’s hopeful after seeing the success over the past few months, “To be with each other and to learn and to play you realize our future is very bright and there is hope for 2021 and many years to come.”

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