25 Mar What Does Care Look Like in Uncertain Times?

It’s time for the morning meeting with the Carkeek East classroom. Teachers and children gather in a circle to greet each other, plan for the day, and learn together. Some kiddos are outside, some are sitting on their rug, in their parent’s laps. Our teachers are smiling from their homes, leading the group in song. This is a typical start to the day at Tiny Trees, except for the physical distance away from each other and away from the nature-rich classrooms. These virtual meetings are what a typical day will look like for our classrooms in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and our commitment to keeping kids, families, and staff healthy.

Screenshot of Teacher Tess at Carkeek East leading her kids through a virtual morning meeting.

Parents and educators across the globe are anxious. How will I keep my family safe? How will I give my child what they need when there is so much uncertainty? How do I steward the child who depend on my through this difficult time? Amidst all of the anxiety and uncertainty, there is connection. There’s gratitude for the time and the people we have, and the ability to connect with them.

Relationships are not cancelled. Connection is not cancelled. Nature is not cancelled.

At Tiny Trees, our children, families, and teachers all know this to be true: we are stronger together.

Tiny Trees staff have been working hard, behind the scenes (and behind screens) to connect with children and families in their care, via phone, email, and video. It won’t surprise anyone to hear that this is not how we are used to operating. We are preschool teachers. We are outdoor educators. We spend our days leading groups of children through parks, engaging in hands-on learning and community building. We are not accustomed to working through big feelings in front of a screen.

But we adapt. We pivot, we change course, we prioritize the highest needs. This is what we’re good at. We are innovative, creative, and adaptable. In a way, we do this everyday, with the change in weather and seasons. This feels different, because it is.

Student from the Olympic Sculpture Park classroom connecting with his teachers via FlipGrid talking about his favorite at-home friends and where they’d like to travel.

Parents and families are partnering with our teachers to connect in a new way, from Google Hangout meetings, FlipGrid sharing, virtual story telling, sharing nature guides and activities, and more. Not every parent, or even every teacher, has access to the resources and supports that they need. In the wake of this crisis, we are listening, learning, and adapting: maintaining our commitment to equity and quality, to learning and to nature.

We hope today that we can remember to treat each other as we treat our children: with kindness, gentleness, and grace. One undeniable fact that we all know to be true at Tiny Trees is that children, like nature, are limitless. How can we learn from them, and nurture the feeling of unbounded potential within ourselves and each other? We’ll start one day at a time, by focusing on our breath, the ground beneath us, and the friends all around us.

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