By Lori Lowell, Chilton House Kindergarten Teacher
After three months of remote teaching, I was so excited to have the opportunity to be back on campus for camp. As I grabbed materials from my Chilton House classroom, I felt I was entering a time capsule. Everything looked the same as when we had “bugged out” in March – spring-themed books on the shelves, a bin of 100 stacking cups left from our 100th Day celebration, a poster from cocoa parties still hanging on the door.
There was so much excitement reconnecting live with two of my kindergarten students who had joined Explorations On-Site that we began jumping up and down. Although we were not in the same cohort group, each time that we passed each other, there seemed to be that same level of excitement for the three of us. Sometimes we would pull the masks off our faces (from a safe social distance) to show each other our smiles.
Safety routines were followed daily at the camp, including completing a COVID-19 questionnaire, a temperature screening, wearing a mask at all times in the classroom (and when distancing was not possible outdoors), and working with our own individual materials. When materials needed to be shared, they were disinfected. Both campers and counselors vigilantly washed hands whenever we entered or exited a space. Work tables were spaced 6 feet apart. Snacks were individually wrapped.
It was impressive to see how respectful campers were of these protocols and how responsible they were to follow safe social distancing rules. It was nothing new to any of them, simply “the new normal.”
The difficult part was needing to remain in the same cohort group without opportunities to mix and mingle with other campers. It was a bit of a tease for us to see other groups of campers, but not be able to join in their fun. By the end of the first week, there was a hint of a feeling of cabin fever. After all, we are social beings.
The craving to connect with people during quarantine was intense. While we did our best as teachers to engage in synchronous learning with our students, it could never be the same as engaging live. And now that we can engage live, our next craving will be to co-mingle again freely. But for now, this is the best we can do. And for me, it is good enough.