The 2019/2020 school year presented us with some of the most trying conditions ever, with the pandemic ramping up in March, lockdowns, and a lot of uncertainty. Our family had to decide between on-campus pods or the continuation of Distance Learning (DL) for the 2020/2021 school year. Since some family members are at higher risk for COVID-related complications, we decided another year of DL was best for us.
First, we are very thankful to Casa di Mir Montessori for offering DL as an option. Providing an alternative to in-person learning takes time, money, and resources – no small task! But Casa di Mir jumped into the first round of DL in March 2020 and ironed out many of the issues facing other school districts, such as the implementation of Zoom video conferencing and Google Classrooms. From there, the protocols for using these tools gradually improved and the students adapted quickly to make it work and finished the school year quite well, under these trying conditions.
Now that we are in our second school year of DL, we are noticing some additional positive changes in our 4th-year boy’s progress. Our son is part of Ms. Cathy’s 3rd/4th distance learning pod. Although, in Montessori classrooms, 1st – 3rd grades are typically grouped together in Lower Elementary (LE) and 4th – 6th in Upper Elementary (UE), Ms. Cathy’s DL pod consists of 3rd and 4th graders due to the limited number of DL students. As such, we were a bit concerned that our 4th grader would be missing the experience of the “big kids” as mentors in this year’s class, but so far, we are very satisfied with how it is going.
We see our son getting more and more out of each day as the school year progresses. Sure, Zoom meetings and Google Classroom are standard fare these days, but the way these tools are being used is getting better and better. As parents at home, we have ample time to witness DL in action, and there has been a steady improvement. The on-line lessons are flowing smoothly without many distractions or interruptions. Zoom rooms are productive and efficiently utilized. Lessons are supplemented with appropriate teacher-led demonstrations and/or YouTube video presentations. And kids are fine-tuning their scheduling skills and turning in their work with digital ease and flair!
None of this is easy, but Casa di Mir’s DL program, along with our son’s talented and engaged teacher, are making us true believers. We are so appreciative to have this as an option for our family during this time.
Board Member and parent of a 4th-year boy
Casa di Mir Montessori