April 2020

Dear Families,

Well, as you might have guessed, this is an unusual newsletter, brought to you at this most unusual time. It is hard to believe that we were all together just over two weeks ago, and that our daily lives have changed so dramatically in such a short period of time. Who would have thought that I would miss my family’s harried morning rush to get to the bus and school on time, or juggling our activities and (gasp!) all the driving they require? But I do.

It can be difficult to find a silver lining in all of this, and I don’t recall reading a chapter on “What to Do in a Global Pandemic” or “How to Self-Quarantine with Infants and Toddlers” in any parenting book! But I hope that we will all look back on this time (sooner rather than later) and be able to remember happy and satisfying moments, whether playing board games as a family, taking daily walks, or tackling organizational projects around the house. A welcome takeaway for me is my newfound appreciation for health-care professionals, and utmost admiration for the talent (and patience!) of teachers. Another is how proud I am of our ZHPP community. In a matter of days, our teachers mobilized and explored various ways to provide meaningful continued learning experiences. Our families have organized FaceTime and Zoom meetings among friends and classmates. Despite social distancing, birthdays are still celebrated as classes conduct drive-by parties. Each day, we are making more connections through Google Classroom and finding more learning to share.

I realize that none of us anticipated our current circumstances, yet you are all rising to the challenge and demonstrating flexibility, understanding, and resilience—the very same characteristics we aspire to instill in our children. It is comforting to know that amidst all of this sudden change, there are some constants upon which our ZHPP community can rely: the dedication and creativity of our teachers, the support from our Board of Directors and parent volunteers, the strong friendships formed among our families, and our collective commitment to the well-being and education of your children. More than at any other time in our 47-year history, ZHPP is holding true to our mission: in partnership with our families, together we strive to build a nurturing and loving community to support our children, and provide a strong connection between school and home. I am now, more than ever, grateful for this partnership.

I sincerely hope this finds all of you and your loved ones safe and healthy. I miss you all.

Jessica

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Community Support

Food Donation
If you are able to help our local community in need, please consider donating non-perishable food and toiletry items (and local eggs!) to Wilton Food Pantry. Please call them at 203-834-6328 for more details on hours and drop-off location .

Supporting ZHPP and Local Businesses
As you know, social distancing is presenting extraordinary challenges to many local businesses. Please consider buying local when possible and, in particular, consider supporting great ZHPP family businesses such as SheLaLa, Boom Thai, Parlor, and Coal House.

Successful Diaper Drive
In a mere 11 days in March, we collected a trunk-load of diapers to support the National Diaper Bank Network! Undoubtedly the demand is now greater than ever. Thank you for your generosity!

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Home School Fun

Sensory Play: Make Your Own Play Dough or Slime!

Play Dough: 1 cup flour, ½ cup salt, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 cup boiling water, food coloring, glitter, etc.

Method: In a large bowl, add all dry ingredients and mix well. Add the oil and boiling water to the mixture and mix with a large spoon until firm. After a few minutes of stirring, it should be cool enough to handle. Roll and manipulate with your hands to evenly incorporate any coloring or flavor options. If sticky, roll on wax paper and some flour.

Slime:½ tbsp baking soda, 1¼ tbsp contact lens solution, 6 fl oz Elmer’s Glue

Method: In a large bowl, pour out the entire contents of 6 oz of glue. Add the baking soda and mix thoroughly. Add the contact lens solution and mix until slime begins to form (it will become more difficult to mix). Remove the slime and begin kneading with both hands. If needed, add additional contact lens solution (1 teaspoon or so) to make the slime less sticky.

Tasty Treat: Make a Bird’s Nest to Celebrate Spring (courtesy of Miss Kathy and savoryonline.com)

Spring Bird’s Nest: 3 cups chocolate chips, 2 cups shredded coconut, 1 (16 oz) pkg classic variety donuts or mini bagels, 1 (10 oz) pkg small chocolate eggs

Method: Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Toast coconut in a dry pan for 3 minutes until golden brown. Coat donuts or bagels with melted chocolate and sprinkle with shredded coconut. (For best results, allow coating to dry fully, about 30 minutes) Set eggs in the middle of the donuts or bagels.

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Community Profile

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Staying Informed

Resources for COVID-19
Many of us may be struggling with how to answer our children’s questions about COVID-19 and why we can’t be at school with our friends. Here are links to some terrific resources:

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP Covid Talking Points and AACP Shelter in Place)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Talking with Children Guidelines)
PBS Kids (PBS Kids Covid)

The following are links to general resources for guidance:

Town of Wilton
CT Department of Public Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
CT COVID hotline: Call 2-1-1 or text “CTCOVID” to 898211

Staying Connected
Please visit our Facebook page to post updates and photos from home school, or simply to enjoy posts from others as a way to feel connected during this time. @ZionsHillPreschoolCT.

Thoughts from Susan O’Brien, LCSW
I have been thinking about all of you and wish you well. I have been telling parents not to offer too much information. I feel if children don’t ask why their school is closed, there is no need to raise the issue. If parents feel the need to address the issue of school being closed, you can say that schools are closed because we are trying not to spread germs. Remind them it is just like when someone in their home is sick, they stay home so as not to spread any germs, and that keeps everyone healthy. Parents should tell young children what they can developmentally understand. They should match the information and the language with the developmental ages of their children. I have also been telling parents to be calm and not to get upset. If parents stay calm, children will be calm. Parents should teach kids to wash their hands and get plenty of sleep in order to stay healthy. Families should stick to a routine with meals and bedtimes. I hope this is helpful and that your families stay healthy!