Way back in March 2020, as SARS-CoV-2 took hold of the world, Villa di Maria was quickly forced to take on unprecedented challenges and shift into pandemic mode. Our campus was shut down and each of us—child, parent, and staff member—was suddenly separated from the rest of our community.
To close out 2020 Villa di Maria went online—our team of guides, assistants, staff members, and parents came together to develop distance learning plans for every level. Was it the same as being together on campus? No. Was it an incredible feat of creativity, innovation, and hard work? Absolutely. Do we ever want to do it again? Not really, no. But… hear me out… it hasn’t been all bad.
We were able to reopen for the 2020-2021 school year with both on-campus and distance-learning programs for our elementary students. On campus, we used the separated buildings and abundant outdoor space of our campus to our advantage and implemented protocols and procedures to keep everyone as safe as we possibly could. Off campus, our learning-from-a-distance elementary students logged in together daily to meet with their guides, assistants, and some invaluable admin-support team members.
We also added to our community at the start of the 2020-2021 school year with a brand new Young Children’s Community (YCC) for children as young as 14 months. We are proud to say that the YCC is a thriving program (and a joy to witness!).
So, the first part of pandemic-mode Villa di Maria has had its upsides, and for that we are grateful.
As for the difficulties, there have been many. The eons years since spring 2020 have been tough on everyone—we haven’t yet met the person who has remained unfazed by the pandemic. As a school, we faced enrollment and financial challenges. As a community, we dealt with the pressures of a vigilant effort to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 on our campus. Our staff and families have sacrificed and endured—and all for the greater good.
Categorically, emphatically, and whole-heartedly, it is because of our community that VdM is still going strong. Our children, parents, and staff are all dedicated to the same goal, to keep Villa di Maria open on campus and thriving during the ongoing pandemic. We’ve been doing it, and we will keep on doing it. We are heading into 2022 (Omicron notwithstanding) encouraged and excited.
In the thick of the pandemic, our resources were stretched thin. Our pandemic response efforts dominated our administrative time and sadly, our blog went dormant.
We love our blog and the community it fosters. We are proud to have a reach that encompasses and stretches beyond the VdM community. Over the years, our blog has connected us with incredible humans across the globe and allowed us to brag about highlight some of the amazing moments that happen here at VdM. It is our hope that this blog creates conversations with parents, Montessori practitioners, and educators alike. Everyone is welcome! Over the next few weeks, you will see us getting back up and running, re-establishing our cadence and content. Stay tuned and share posts you like with people you love.
In the meantime, here are a few of favorite posts:
- Community in the Children’s House
- The Magic of Read Aloud
- Mornings, Screens and a Bit on Executive Functions
- On Outdoor Work Space and Why Your Child Needs to go Outside
- The Expectation Effect, Montessori, and Batman