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Preschools forced to adapt to changes brought on by COVID-19

Posted at 12:41 PM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 15:41:26-04

CHULA VSITA, Calif. (KGTV) -- In a COVID-19 world, kids are seen playing with masks on and keeping their distance. While it may look different to us, for preschool kids, this is all they know.

At St. Rose of Lima Catholic School in Chula Vista, when a student and his or her parent arrive, they go through a health screening. If either shows symptoms, the child is sent home.

Adults are also not allowed to come into the classrooms and have to stay outside.

Glenda Martinez, preschool director of Daniel’s Den, on the campus of St. Rose of Lima Catholic School, said following the new California guidelines is manageable, what can be challenging is helping her young students understand the rules.

“It’s really hard for them to understand what’s six feet. They say, ‘Ms. Glenda, I can’t do six feet, I only have two!’ I tell them I know that … but that’s what the square is ... that’s six feet. And nobody can go into their square,” said Martinez.

And that’s reflected in how she set up her room. Even though they can’t do carpet time right now, she tried to bring imagination and fun back into the classroom.

Each student has their own desk or car, that’s parked in their own square, with their own things inside.

Right now, sharing isn’t allowed, but she’s found a way to allow them to socialize safely.

“Because they have the same toys, I tell them you can play with one toy. I can play with the same kind of toy up to our edge with our masks on. And there’s not a problem, they’re still separating but they can play the same thing,” Martinez said.

Another challenge for Martinez and her staff is explaining what the coronavirus is to four-year-old children. That’s why she’s made books to help them understand and they also sing songs.

Coronavirus guidelines have also changed the way kids play outside. They can’t use certain equipment because of social distancing concerns.

But as Martinez said, this has forced them to get creative.

In the end, Martinez said they’re using these changes as an opportunity to teach their students valuable lessons. Adding, this has “taught us a little bit more about being kind to others.”