Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool (BPNP) has big goals for its students – to be life-long learners, creative problem solvers, caretakers of the earth and exceptional team players. We recently sat down with BPNP teacher, Sheri Gulenchyn, to learn more about the program and the precautions they are taking during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their students and staff safe.
Can you please share with us the philosophy of Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool?
Every child entrusted in our care is encouraged to explore, investigate, and learn about the world around them, as well as their own individuality. We strongly value our natural environment and meaningful outdoor experiences.
When planning our lessons, we use a whole-child approach that is focused on the individual needs and interests of our students to ensure that they are engaged and making progress in their learning. Our students are assessed on an ongoing basis to establish their needs and interests.
What does a typical day look like at Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool?
We start our day with free play where the children can explore our nature play area, the music/art wall, the playground, and the grassy area nearby. This is followed by circle time where every child is greeted by name and we discuss the day’s schedule with the assistance of our daily special helper. Then we are off to our small groups to learn about the theme we are studying. Small group time is when we focus on weaving in those academic skills. Next is snack time and this is followed by learning centers which will include areas such as science, music, writing, art, dramatic play, and building. We end our day with a story and goodbye song.
What modifications are you taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19?
We are going to spend the entire class outside – weather permitting. Some of the extra precautions we are taking are:
- Outdoor hand washing stations
- Staff will always carry hand sanitizer
- Scheduled hand washing breaks
- Staff will wipe down high touch surfaces on playground equipment before each class
- Each class will have its own set of tools and toys
If weather does not allow us to be outside, we will take these extra precautions indoors:
- Access to more space inside the building
- Staff will wear masks when within 6 feet of students and parents
- Parents are asked to wear masks at drop off and pick up
- Investing in HEPA air cleaners for our indoor spaces
We will continue to monitor guidelines from the Department of Human Services and the CDC and make necessary changes as needed.
Do you have any programs available for kindergarten students who are starting the year virtually?
This year we are offering a session just for kindergarten students to enhance the virtual/online learning they will be doing at their regular school. This will be in-person learning where students have time to freely explore the world around them while applying their kindergarten skills. We are not teaching the basic subjects but rather enhancing the skills they are already learning further developing an awareness of self, and encouraging them to become stewards of the environment.
For more information, please visit our Nature Preschool page. To sign up or ask questions, please call 763.493.8333.