Starting school this Fall was a new experience for all of us. Some children are learning at home, connecting with teachers and classmates through virtual meetings. Others have joined us in the classrooms, and also meet virtually on days they aren’t in school. Traditionally, Bloomingdale has used a Phase-In process to help children get used to the classroom and the separation from the parent. We still used Phase-In this Fall, but parents cannot come into the school due to health and safety rules during the pandemic. As a bridge to the classroom, we made personal books for each child. A two-page [Child’s Name] Goes to Bloomingdale and a five-page guide to the classroom are sent by email. A laminated copy of [Child’s Name] Goes to Bloomingdale with photos of the child and parent is in the classroom for each child, and a copy goes home as well. Some children used their book as a mat during the welcome activities that start the day. One teacher said, “The separation materials developed this year has been excellent in helping children, especially children who show separation anxiety during school arrival and nap time.”
In another classroom, the comments from the children showed the importance of touching base with a parent: “I like this because I like to see my mom”, “I like seeing my mother with me”, “This makes me happy because I love my mom.” When we return to normal classroom routines, we will continue with our “Going to Bloomingdale” books for the children.