December 2020

Holiday Wishes

Dear Families,
It is hard to believe, but by month’s end the first semester of this most unusual school year will draw to a close. But here we are in December, squarely in the holiday season. Celebrations and traditions will surely be different this year, and like many of you, I am mourning this fact. I have evaluated and reevaluated my risk tolerances. I have scrapped and rescrapped my holiday plans, and am longing for the day that I may safely gather with my friends and family, both near and far. But there is still much to celebrate. Your children are thriving… they are with friends, they are learning new skills each day, they are laughing and playing. They love school, and they are happy. We need to celebrate this fact. And parents, you have followed your instinct, have placed your fears aside and entrusted your children in our care. In allowing them to experience this early childhood education, you have been an invaluable model of confidence, strength and resilience. You, too, need to be celebrated. And we celebrate the very encouraging developments on the horizon. While the pandemic endures, it will end… the promise of which is a tremendous gift. I also want to share this gift of sorts. Though written in 1878, this poem quite possibly might be the perfect ode for the 2020 season.
Holidays
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;-
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are; – a fairy tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

Wishing you all a safe, and wonderful holiday season.
Jessica

Happenings

Home-School Connection: Parent-Teacher Conferences
The teachers have been enjoying the Fall Conferences, which began mid-November and will continue through December. Conferences are a great opportunity to share information about your child’s day and development, and to help strengthen the home-school connection. To this end, the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards were developed to help families, communities, and schools work together to support children’s early learning and growth. Check out these age-based strategies to support learning at home, which focus on activities that are already part of many families’ daily routines: Two to ThreeThree to Four, and Four to Five
Holiday Sing-Along
The annual holiday sing-along will be Wednesday, December 16th at 1pm. The sing-along is traditionally a school-wide event, with all students, families, and siblings welcome to participate. While in years past we have gathered in person in the neighboring church basement, this year Miss Jo Anne will lead us in festive songs over Zoom! Don your favorite holiday PJs or attire, and join us for an afternoon of merriment to celebrate the holidays. Look for additional information and a link to the Zoom.
Hats and Mittens Collection
This month, local preschools are joining together to collect new hats and mittens for Wilton Social Services, which provides support and necessities for local residents in need. We are specifically tasked with collecting hats and mittens for boys aged 4 to 18 (10 sets total), and girls aged 7 to 16 (11 sets). Please look for the donation boxes at pick-up and drop-off locations, and consider donating to this worthy organization. An expression of gratitude in advance: “Thanks so much for taking on this project, we at Social Services and the families we assist are very appreciative.”

Shop With Shelala

Registration & Enrollment

Registration packets for the 2021-2022 school year will be distributed before the holiday break, with open enrollment beginning on January 4 and ending on January 22. 
Please spread the word about registration to friends and families who might be interested in attending the Two’s, Three’s, Four’s, or our revamped Five’s program. We are happy to answer any questions and guide new families interested in learning about our school, community, and emergent play-based curriculum. 
Please note there is one open registration/rolling admission process for all families, however, the first preference will be given to current families with the greatest number of years at the school.

Reminders

Weather-Related Delays and Cancelations
ZHPP policy is to follow Wilton Public Schools with regard to weather-related delays and cancellations. If Wilton Public Schools are closed, ZHPP will be closed. If there is a one- or a two-hour delay, we will begin our mornings at 10:30. If there is a three-hour delay, ZHPP will be closed. If there is an early dismissal, we will end at 12:30 or sooner, depending on the circumstances. In all instances of early dismissal, there will be no afternoon activities.
ZHPP uses both email and text messaging alerts in any weather related change to our schedule. If you would like to add a caregiver to our system, please let us know. There may be occasions when power/internet outages prevent us from sending emails/texts, but we make every effort to get the messages sent in a timely fashion. Please be certain to check as many sources as possible for up-to-date information and remember the general rule of thumb—we follow Wilton Public Schools.
Afternoon Extensions
We have decided that it is in the best interest of our community to suspend our afternoon programs. Early Bird may continue on a limited basis, although requests must be submitted and reviewed in advance to confirm cohorts remain intact. While we understand this may be disappointing, we feel that this measure is necessary to ensure our core program is not subject to undue risk. Our core program remains our priority, and we want nothing more than for ZHPP to remain a great place for our children and families.  
Daily Health Screen through Tadpoles
Please complete the daily health screen through Tadpoles before drop-off if possible. It really helps to streamline the drop-off process and eliminate congestion.
Hand Sanitizer
Per State regulations, hand sanitizer must be kept out of the reach of children. Please do not send your child to school with sanitizer in a pocket or backpack where it may be readily accessible. Instead, please provide to the classroom teacher directly. The teachers may administer hand sanitizer when hand washing is not readily available (e.g., on the playground, while children are on the bikes, etc.).
Dress for the Weather
Please dress the children appropriately each day, with extra layers or rain gear as needed. We are maximizing our time outdoors – even in the rain! – and throughout the fall will also hold Spanish, music and yoga outside. We also recommend bringing in a towel for your child as well. 

Staying Informed

Please review ZHPP’s COVID-19 Policies and Procedures and At-Home Health Checklist.
Resources for COVID-19Many of us may be struggling with how to answer our children’s questions about COVID-19. Here are links to some terrific resources:

The following are links to general resources for guidance:

Please be sure to read ZHPP’s Revised Mask Wearing Policy as well as the Covid-19 Q&A.
Staying ConnectedPlease visit our Facebook page @ZionsHillPreschoolCT