September 2020

August
31 Meet the Teacher

September
1 Meet the Teacher
2 Board Meeting, 8:00 pm, Zoom
2-4 Orientation Week
7 No School – Labor Day
8-11 School Begins, 9:00–11:30, each day
14 Full Days Begin (Three’s, Four’s, and Five’s), 9:00 am–12:30 pm
*14 Afternoon Adventures Begin (Three’s, Four’s, and Five’s), 12:30–3:00
*14 Early Bird Begins, 8 or 8:30 am
21 Full Days Begin (Two’s), 9:00 am–12:30 pm
*21 Extensions Begin (Two’s), 12:30–3:00
28 No School – Yom Kippur

* Due to Covid-19, all dates are subject to change.

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Welcome Back to School!

Dear Families,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of Zion’s Hill Preschool Program, we are excited to welcome you to the 2020-2021 school year and commence our 48th year as a preschool.
Due to the pandemic, certain aspects of school will be very different from years past. Staff have worked tirelessly this summer re-arranging furniture in classrooms and hallways to maximize social distancing. Air purifiers and fans have been placed throughout the building to increase ventilation. Staff and many students will be wearing colorful masks when inside the school.

Although these changes might initially appear as barriers to what we consider normal and preferred, as a school we are taking this challenge as an opportunity to be more creative in delivering an exceptional educational and social experience for our children and families.

Children will spend more time than ever learning outside throughout our spacious grounds, which includes three playgrounds and a bike shed. New this year is our garden beds complete with a pollinator pathway filled with flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Specials such as yoga and music will also be held outdoors weather permitted and via smart boards when not. Smaller class sizes will allow teachers more time with each child and cultivate comfortable friendships between the children. Even parent social activities, which have sparked life-long friendships throughout the years, will still be held whenever possible.

Regardless of the challenges and differences this year (or because of them!), there are still many opportunities to volunteer throughout the year with flexibility for both working and stay-at-home parents. These include Room Parents, Bike Shed Helpers, Spring Fling Fundraiser Volunteers, and Family Mentors, to name a few.

The parent-run Board of Directors of ZHPP is also welcoming new members. With several years and positions on the board between the two of us, we can attest to how rewarding, interesting, and fun it is to be on the ZHPP board. We strongly encourage parents to get involved in any way they can. Volunteering allows you to engage with your child’s learning experience, is a great way to meet new friends, and helps out our teachers and staff.

For more updates, look out for this newsletter, which is emailed every month and will include more details on all upcoming events. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are so excited to see you in the coming weeks!
Sincerely,

Gina Chute and Sarah Rhee
Board Co-Chairs

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Happenings

Family Mentoring
ZHPP Family Mentoring Program is returning for its second year! The program is an opportunity for current families to welcome and introduce new families to our wonderful community. During times like these, we believe programs such as this are even more important in facilitating the strong community feel in which ZHPP takes pride.

We are currently welcoming mentors and mentees. If you are a seasoned ZHPP parent, we encourage you to help guide a new family and answer their questions as they transition into the school year. If you are new to Zion’s Hill and would like to be paired with a mentor, please contact Sarah Rondeau.

Room Representatives
Room Representative is a very important (but not difficult!) volunteer position for the school. It is a great way to meet new people and make friends, stay involved and give back to ZHPP.

Room Rep duties include communicating with the rest of the parents in the class about school-wide or class-wide events, organizing class gifts for teachers, and organizing Back-To-School coffee for the class in the beginning of the year. If so inclined, the Room Rep may also choose to organize parent outings and/or play dates with classmates.

If you have any interest in being a Room Rep for your child’s class this year, please email Yana Dusheyko.

ZHPP Board Openings
Our parent-run Board currently has three openings for Secretary, Communications, and Parent-At-Large. Joining the Board is a great way to become more involved in your child’s education, meet new people, and lend a helping hand to teachers and staff. If you’re interested in joining, please contact Gina Chute and Sarah Rhee.

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Extended Day Programming

Early Bird
This offering allows parents to drop off their child at 8 or 8:30am, before the start of our core program. All children attending Early Bird will meet in the same assigned classroom and enjoy relaxed, age-appropriate activities. Parents are welcome to send breakfast for their child. At 8:55, the children will be escorted to their regular classrooms by staff. Early Bird starts the week of September 14.

Afternoon Adventures
Our wonderful extended day programs for the Three’s, Four’s, and Five’s are designed so your child can learn, play, and explore a new skill in a caring and nurturing environment. Afternoon Adventures include a short rest, focused instruction from our teachers, snack, and playground time. Each program runs from 12:30–3. Afternoon Adventures start the week of September 14.

Extensions for Two’s
Extended day options are available for our Two’s as well, with less emphasis on focused instruction and more time for rest and free play. Extensions also include snack and playground time, and run from 12:30–3. Extensions for Two’s start the week of September 21.

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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:

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 @ZionsHillPreschoolCT.