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Learning to Celebrate (in) Our New Normal

by Maureen Crone

When Jack, a Trinity second-grader who is attending school online this year, learned that our annual “Fall Into Fun” celebration was happening this month, he was as excited as every other student to participate in the event. His teacher wasn’t about to let him miss out, either.

 

Trinity’s second grade is a lively group of 15 in-class students plus Jack, who attends via a live video feed each day. Almost every teacher at Trinity has at least one online student in addition to a classroom of in-person learners. Including these children in everyday social interactions, an important part of a child’s education, has been a challenge that teachers have met in different and wonderful ways. Rather than strip down the curriculum to academics-only material for online learners, teachers are using technology, imagination, collaboration, and faith to ensure that their mission to nurture the development of the whole child is accomplished.

 

School traditions have always been a big part of our students’ learning journey, and provide many meaningful opportunities to interact with the community of families and friends who have attended Trinity. This year, we have had to re-imagine some traditions; some have been put on hold until we can gather safely in person. The Lion’s Share Breakfast will have to wait until next November. Our beloved Lessons and Carols holiday service will also wait until social distance measures are no longer necessary. Meanwhile, the ingenuity of faculty, parents, and students has enabled us to celebrate some traditions differently this year, but with no less enthusiasm. The weekly chapel service music has been repurposed from singing to dancing– often, with costumes. Our Christmas program will include 60 student actors and singers– but they’ll be recorded one at a time, and layered together for a video production to remember. Other events have been postponed with the hope that maybe we’ll be able to schedule them in the spring.

 

For now, though, we’re traveling through this school year focused on safety and with a community dedicated to inclusion. “Fall into Fun” turned into an afternoon of games, costumes, and treats all delivered to individual classrooms rather than the usual schoolwide carnival.

 

 Jack was there, too. He joined the class on Zoom with his camera off. He wrote and read three clues to the class about his costume. They wrote their guesses on index cards, and then shared them with Jack. Finally, it was time for the big reveal! Everyone received a prize for playing, and continued the celebration together. 

 

And for the rest of this year, that’s our plan… finding a new normal, together.

 

Maureen Crone is the marketing and development director at Trinity.

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