RANDOLPH, NJ- Back on March 18, The Goddard School of Randolph did what every other school in the state was mandated to do: Close its doors as per the governor’s orders due to COVID-19. Since then, Goddard’s leadership team has been actively working towards the reopening of the school, and on Monday, June 15, they did just that.
A lot happened in between, however, as the students were participating in home, online, virtual learning just like every other student across the country from kindergarten through college.
“We take great pride in our school and our amazing teachers and directors who have continued to create at home learning materials for our children,” said Jonathan Riczko, owner of The Goddard School in Randolph. “Our teachers’ dedication and flexibility demonstrate the true strength of our school and our Goddard Community.”
The goal for all of Goddard’s teachers was to keep in touch with their families throughout these unprecedented times, and they achieved much of that through personal videos and running Zoom/virtual meetings with their classes.
The directors sent out emails with daily lesson plans that included weekly themes, activities and ideas for the families to keep their children engaged in learning. In turn, families sent back pictures of their children completing the activities and those were shared on the school's social media. This allowed the families to stay connected during a physically disconnected time.
"The parents have been very happy with the weekly lesson plans and activities being sent home, which included art, science, music and language arts, said Director of Education Molly Nicolicchia. “The children enjoy seeing their teachers, even if it is virtually. They have especially loved the Zoom meetings that have been taking place. The children get to see their friends and learn new things from their teachers.”
While the technology of today allowed for virtual learning and interpersonal connections that would not have been possible just ten years ago, not being physically present with their students was tough for the staff.
“We miss the interactions with our families, and we miss seeing all the children's smiling faces as they enter the school and head to their classrooms,” said Colette DeRosa, director of operations. “We love to see them light up as they engage with their friends and teachers. We just really miss being with our kids.”
Goddard and its staff made sure that every day was full of activities to keep their students engaged. In the morning, students were greeted with a daily email that includes online stories, and a variety of activities that cover various subject areas. These emails also include any news or fun events that will be happening that week.
“The children are still participating and engaging, even over the computer,” said Riczko. “The Pre-K class has been practicing sign language and their graduation songs while on their Zoom meetings, and many of the classes even have homework assignments. The children (and parents) have been great about attending and participating, and we can tell by their bright smiles and interaction just how resilient and happy they are.”
Although the school opened its doors on June 15 to returning families, it will continue to engage with families virtually through the end of June. At the start of July, The Goddard School will transition to its normal Summer Camp program and will take advantage of its three acre property and unique Outdoor Classroom environment.
Summer Camp includes daily water play, weekly themes and special visitors. Initially, the visitors will be scheduled virtually due do new state operating guidelines. Some weekly camp themes include Down on the Farm, I Can Build It, Under the Stars, and Go, Go Gardening.
Other state operating guidelines include face coverings for all faculty members, enhanced cleaning procedures and a health screening for all children and teachers upon arrival. The health screening will include a temperature check for all participants in the program.
The Goddard School is thrilled to be open and had a blast welcoming its families back to school. For more information on the preschool or to enroll for the summer or fall, please contact the school at 973-584-1154 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the school on its Facebook or Instagram pages.