February 2021

February Calendar
8 Staff Valentine Lunch9 and 10 Spanish with Senora Vicky11 and 12 Classroom Valentine’s Day Celebrations15 and 16 Presidents’ Day Ceremonies18-19 No School – Winter Break25 and 26 Wilton Public Library

A Note from Jessica

Dear Families, 

Happy February!  We didn’t need Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow to tell us that winter will be here for some time… we only needed to see the SNOW! The children are enamored—they enjoy watching snowflakes fall outside the classroom windows, decorating the snowmen that brighten our halls, and, best of all, playing outdoors in the snow! From sledding to scaling the mountainous snow banks, to trudging and toppling through the lawns, we are having a ball! The winter playgrounds provide an entirely different environment for the children to cooperatively explore. They truly love it! 

Indeed, “love” will play a significant role in our activities and learning experiences this month. We will have fun celebrations for Valentine’s Day to honor our classroom friendships, and special Presidents’ Day commemorations to show our love for our country (and for our school – see details below). We will also continue with our monthly specials of Music, Spanish, and the Wilton Library, all of which the children adore. It almost feels like a normal February – yet we all know these times are far from normal. In a normal February, we might embrace winter’s offerings, hit the slopes and enjoy a ski-filled getaway. Or we might escape the cold and head to a favorite sunny destination over winter break. But the pandemic continues to force us to reexamine our priorities and collective responsibility. I love that the children can be in school, can foster friendships and build memories. And I know you do too. I love that our families have found a way to stay connected and in turn have developed new friendships – be sure to check out Zion’s Hill Preschool’s new bookclub. I love that we are adhering to the social contract we all have made – to follow our protocols and policies, to be cautious and vigilant, to be honest and transparent in potential exposure, to exhibit sensible behavior – with the singular goal to be here for the children. We cannot deny them their school, a place that they love so much. 

In the spirit of celebrating friendships, I am so grateful to spend time with you and your children each day (even if brief and distanced). I love Zion’s Hill Preschool Program, and the special people (big and small) that choose to partner with us. 

XOXO,
Jessica

Happenings

Presidents’ Day Celebrations

Ordinarily we are not in school to commemorate Presidents’ Day, but this year our make-up days allow us an opportunity for a unique way to honor the spirit of this holiday. The children will help raise a new American flag in the ZHPP parking lot, as we take a moment to reflect on the leadership and storied accomplishments of our presidents. The new Stars and Stripes will proudly wave above a flag with the Zion’s Hill Preschool logo, and will serve as a reminder to us all of our nation’s (and school’s!) pride. The celebrations will occur on Monday, February 15 and Tuesday, February 16. Look for pictures on Tadpoles!

Book Club

Join us for our very first Zion’s Hill Book Club meeting! We will discuss our first book Dear Edward.
Wednesday, February 24 at 8:00 PMZoom Meeting

Join the ZHPP Board

The Board is comprised of parent volunteers who share their talents and give back to the school that gives our children and families so much. We meet one evening per month to plan programs and activities for the school, set policies, address suggestions from parents and staff, review the budget, and ensure the delivery of our mission statement.

The graduation of several ZHPP families has created openings on the Board. We are looking for people who are interested in serving for the 2021–2022 school year and invite you to join us!

Please contact Emma Levine.

Fundraising & Other News

Spring Fling

Zion’s Hill is gearing up for our annual Spring Fling! The event is now scheduled to take place on Thursday, June 10 at Rolling Hills Country Club. This event is ZHPP’s biggest social event and fundraiser of the year and we are in need of volunteers to make it amazing! There is much to do.

We can use your help! At this stage we are planning our auction. We need volunteers to solicit and/or donate items for the auction. Do you have connections at businesses that would be willing to make a donation to the auction? Or, do you have something to offer that others would be excited to bid on? Past auction items include gift certificates, private events, tickets, services, and vacations, and we are open to anything that you think will make for good bidding! 

If you would like to get involved in even a small way, please contact Fundraising Co-Chairs Kelli McGee, Melissa Fensterstock or Karen Kupinse for more information.

Stop & Shop Community Bag Program

Zion’s Hill Preschool Program has been selected by local Stop & Shop store leadership as the benefiting non-profit in the Community Bag Program! For the month of February 2021, Zion’s Hill Preschool Program will receive a $1 donation for each purchase of the $2.50 reusable Community Bag at the Stop & Shop store located at 5 River Road, Wilton, CT. Thank you for your support!

Registration and Enrollment

Thank you for completing your registration forms for the 2021–2022 school year. Parents were notified of program placement(s) on January 29 via email. Specific classroom and teacher assignments will not be determined until a later date. Spots are filling quickly – there are only a few remaining! If you have any friends or neighbors considering ZHPP, please encourage them to call the office. As always, we are happy to answer any questions—please see the office.

COVID-19 Travel and Quarantine Guidelines

There have been questions about travel guidelines and quarantine timelines, particularly given the upcoming break.  Please be on the lookout for a survey via email and share any travel plans with us, such that we may assess potential risks and make informed decisions for the benefit of our school. For your convenience, we have summarized our protocols related to mandatory quarantines.

Travel Advisory 

https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus/travel#:~:text=Executive%20Order%20Regarding%20Travel%3A%20Pursuant,from%20the%20time%20of%20last
Zion’s Hill Preschool follows the current State guidelines. Individuals who visit any state outside of the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, or Rhode Island) or outside of the country for 24 hours or more must quarantine for 10 days after returning to Connecticut. The quarantine period may be shortened if the traveler has a negative COVIDl-19 test upon returning to Connecticut, and the negative test result has been sent to DPH.COVID-Travel@ct.gov. A Travel Health Form must also be completed: https://appengine.egov.com/apps/ct/DPH/Connecticut-Travel-Health-Form. Please note we do prefer that the whole family test a few days after returning to Connecticut, such that we know a student may not be a “close contact”. Testing too early may also prove inaccurate and provide false security.  

Close Contacts

After carefully considering the CDC and CT Department of Public Health guidelines, Wilton’s health director continues to require that a 14-day quarantine for those in “close contact” with COVID-positive individuals be maintained. Therefore if your child has been identified as a “close contact” of a COVID-positive individual, (s)he may return to Zion’s Hill Preschool Program 14 days from the last date of contact with the positive individual.
For other COVID-19 questions, please revisit ZHPP’s Covid-19 Q&A.

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.
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.

Daily Health Screen through Tadpoles

Please make every effort to complete the daily health screen through Tadpoles, as it really helps to streamline the drop-off process. It is particularly important that you take your child’s temperature before coming to school.  Our contactless thermometers are picking up much of the ambient air, and have been reporting a “LOW” reading error. Thank you for your continued cooperation! .

Dress for the Weather

Please dress the children appropriately each day, with boots and snow gear as needed. An extra pair of mittens (or two!) is also helpful. We are spending lots of time outdoors – even in the cold! Spare masks are also needed, as they tend to become damp with condensation. The classrooms also tend to run cool, as we look to maximize ventilation indoors. Layers are key!

Caution in the Parking Lot

Please use extreme caution in the parking lot. Many little bodies are underfoot and can be difficult to see (particularly with snow banks)! Hold your child’s hand and watch for cars. Please also note that the lot is “One Way”, and adhere to the proper direction when entering and exiting. We recommend entering through the lower driveway and exiting from the upper driveway during the busy drop-off and pick-up times.

Staying Informed

Please review ZHPP’s COVID-19 Policies and Procedures and At-Home Health Checklist.
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