November 2020

November Calendar

17 and 18 Yoga with Miss Jo Anne
17 and 18 Visit from Woodcock Nature Center
20 and 24 Thanksgiving Feast (Four’s and Five’s)
23 and 24 Wilton Library
25-27 No School – Thanksgiving Break

Grateful in November

Dear Families,

Just ten days ago, this letter read much differently. I intended to share that with your help, I attained a personal goal set at the start of the school year: to see the children celebrate Halloween. I wanted to reflect on the two terrific months behind us, and how beautifully our students, staff and families have established solid routines, adjusted to new protocols and procedures, and have discovered alternative ways to connect with one another and maintain ZHPP’s programming. How in completing this goal, I wanted to boast about all that we have been able to accomplish: the start of our specials – Music and Yoga with Miss Jo Anne, Spanish with Senor Vicky, and Masterpiece with Miss Christine (all outdoors, no less!) – a visit from the Wilton Library (courtesy of Zoom!), Picture Day, and our first (and hopefully only!) Virtual Parent Open House. We even curated a one-of-a-kind, in-school field trip with the Wilton Pollinator Pathway, which had partnered with us this summer to design and plant our beautiful gardens – https://www.pollinator-pathway.org/wilton. That was my intention ten days ago. And while none of this is invalidated, the events of this past week have provided a reality check. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and our preschool community is not immune. Despite all our of planning, precautions and mitigation efforts, and despite the wonderful start to the school year, COVID-19 is our reality. 

I had also intended to share with you that I was looking forward to November, the perfect time to take stock and reflect on the many blessings bestowed upon us. The events of the first week of November have undoubtedly been difficult – for me personally and for our school – but I remain more grateful than ever for the Zion’s Hill Preschool community. We have all experienced many sacrifices and have had to constantly pivot as the pandemic endures, but the support we receive from one another makes it a bit more bearable. The vigilance, caution, and diligence you exhibit in monitoring your family’s health is commendable, and necessary. The generosity you have shown through the Annual Appeal is humbling, and proves your commitment to your children and our school. The confidence and flexibility you have demonstrated in allowing your children to experience an early childhood education is remarkable, and provides an invaluable example for them. Thank you. 

I am not naive to think there won’t be more challenges ahead, but I am not deterred. If anything, I am more determined. My ZHPP family means so much – from the dedicated Board of Directors to my amazing team, from the best families to the delightful students – I obtain personal fulfillment from each and every one of you. Like a proud mama bear, I will do everything I can to protect this family.

Gratefully,
Jessica  

Happenings

Annual Staff Appreciation Dinner
Due to Covid we were unable to hold our Annual Staff Appreciation Dinner, which is usually held at the end of October. Instead the board of directors had the classes gather quotes about our amazing teachers and staff. We truly appreciate all the hard work they are doing, especially this year and had to acknowledge it. Along with the quotes which were put into cards, each staff member received a small succulent.

Thanksgiving Feast
The Thanksgiving Feast is a time-honored tradition at Zion’s Hill Preschool. If our calculations are correct, we believe 2020 marks the 27th year! It is normally a day for our families in the Four’s and Five’s to enjoy a full Thanksgiving spread in the neighboring church’s basement, with food both made by the children in class (muffins! cranberry sauce! stuffing! mashed potatoes!) and contributed by parents (including a baked turkey!), and served by the staff. It is a wonderful day for families to engage with our community, and connect with their child. This year, COVID prevents us from celebrating all together, but the Thanksgiving Feast will continue and will be a special day nonetheless. The Friendly Frogs will celebrate on Friday, November 20, and the Kind Koalas and the Fearless Flamingos will celebrate on Tuesday, November 24. More details to come – you won’t want to miss it!

Food Drive
We will be hosting a “Kids Can!” Food Drive to support the Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry at the Salem Lutheran Church in Bridgeport, November 9–20. Non-perishable items are most in need, and include canned chicken and tuna, breakfast cereals, pasta and sauce, canned fruits and vegetables, dry or canned beans, soup, rice, macaroni and cheese, applesauce, and ground coffee. Please look for collection bins near pick-up and drop-off locations.

Parent-Teacher Conferences
Fall Conferences will be conducted mid-November through early December. The teachers are excited to share information on the children’s days and development, and will provide details on how the discussions will take place. Please see Jessica with questions.

2020 Annual Appeal

This year’s Annual Appeal was a tremendous success! An impressive 92% of ZHPP families, and some alumni families, generously contributed to our appeal in October. As a not-for-profit organization, ZHPP relies on the generosity of our families to maintain its outstanding programming through the Annual Appeal and your support is very much appreciated. Your donations will benefit our school in so many ways by supplementing programs and funding daily operations that tuition does not cover. Every dollar makes a difference and will benefit our children. Bravo and a huge thank you to all of you for your contributions! 

Reminders

Flu Shots
Please be reminded that all students must get a flu vaccination by December 31st, 2020. Proof of vaccination should be submitted to the office by then, as well.

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.

Pick-Ups
Please be sure to notify the office and your child’s teacher if someone other than a designated caregiver will be picking up your child. We will also check the driver’s license or another form of ID when alternative pick-up arrangements are made.

Parking Lot Safety
Please use extreme caution when driving and walking in the parking lot—many little bodies are underfoot and can be difficult to see! Hold your child’s hand and watch for cars. We recommend entering through the lower driveway and exiting from the upper driveway during the busy drop-off and pick-up times. 

Mask Requirement
The State is requiring children three years of age and older to wear face coverings while at school, with phase-in continuing through October 19, 2020. Please refer to information on mask-wearing for young children provided by the CT Office of Early Childhood. Thank you for your continued cooperation as we support the health and safety of our children, staff and families. 
Please be sure to read ZHPP’s Revised Mask Wearing Policy.

Staying Informed

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

Resources for COVID-19
Many 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:

Staying Connected
Please visit our Facebook page @ZionsHillPreschoolCT