By Vanessa Sanchez
As the children started to slowly arrive for the first time back at Little Owl since the Stay at Home order was placed, they quickly took notice of the changes. Grace and Isabel wondered where the other Oak children were. They wondered who was coming back to Little Owl. Isabel said, “It’s so quiet with a little bit of children.” I mentioned that it was going to be a small group of children for each classroom. Alleyne said, “We’re not going to play with the other classrooms.” The other children looked at Alleyne with a few seconds of silence, they looked at me with furrowed eyebrows, and Isabel asked, “Why not?” I gave them the information about the reason for our distance from the other children and teachers and talked about health and germs. Grace then asked me, “Well, how are we going to see them or talk to them?”
Marcelo mentioned that he was missing Hudson and Diego. The children thought for a few minutes, started playing tag, and then came back with an idea. Grace suggested that writing letters and pictures and sending them would be nice. Isabel said it would be tricky because some children will be at Little Owl, and some children would be home.
As I listened to the children share ideas, I realized the connection I was making with them. While at home, I had also thought about my friends and family that I have not been able to see. I thought about all the rapidly implemented changes in our lives, forcibly breaking many of our habits. Each of us has had to deal with it all in different ways and be affected by the changes in different ways. I listened and connected with the children with their yearning to connect with those they had not played with in months. Marcelo asked all morning if I could take him to visit the other classrooms and teachers. Marcelo said, “I miss them. I just need to see them.” My words and an air hug were not comforting Marcelo, I quickly hugged him and reassured him that they were there, and they miss him. The rushed hug gave me a guilty feeling like I was brushing him off. I had to remind myself that it is for all our good health. Another change that is challenging to implement in life.
Grace asked if she could draw a picture of the Olive room. We brought paper and crayons outside where they started making notes for the Olive room. When they were finished, Isabel asked, “Uh. Where do I put it?” Asha suggested leaving the notes on the table. Grace was worried that leaving the notes on the table, outside, the wind could move them or a child from a different classroom would take it. Looking around the gross motor yard, the children started thinking of different ideas on how to keep notes for other rooms safe. Grace suggested nailing or taping them to the concrete wall. Isabel suggested hiding the notes, but Jai said, “What if they never find it? They won’t know what you wanted to say.” Isabel said, “Or you can put it in the mail!” Grace answered, “You can’t. They’re next door.” I reminded them that we had mailboxes built by Olive room and that it had broken. I asked them what we could do with that. Grace said, “Oh, I know! I have an idea to keep our notes safe!”