I am keenly aware that not everyone is comfortable with mask policies and we have had families leave our program because of it. However, our Covid-19 response is in line with our values as a program and most genuinely serves our community. Our preschool has been a magical space of allowing freedom within the safety of a carefully prepared environment and I believe we are continuing that magic.Kristin Neufeld Epp, director
Current covid-19 policY:
- When in the presence of anyone outside of your household, masks covering the nose and mouth must be worn both indoors and outdoors1 at all times for people age 2 years and older.2
1This includes the playground which is available for use at your discretion. There is no cleaning or disinfecting of equipment at this point. If you are on the playground with anyone outside of your household, masks must be worn on anyone 2 years and older.
2If you have a medical condition that does not allow you or your child to safely wear a mask, you can contact Kristin for permission to wear a face shield, possible contactless alternatives or to be contacted when our mask policies change.
Current Covid-19 precautions:
The playground is available for use at your discretion. There is no cleaning or disinfecting of equipment at this point. If you are on the playground with anyone outside of your household, masks must be worn per our Mask Policy.
On-site activities sponsored by preschool include monthly Box Pick Up and weekly Toy Store with the following plan:
- Outdoors or in breezeway (with doors left open) if weather necessitates
- Mask Policy: masks must be worn at all times for people age 2 years and up
- Hand sanitizer for use before and after handling toys/boxes
- Boxes of the Month and Toy Store kits are prepackaged by New Creation Preschool staff/volunteers
- All items are quarantined and disinfected according to KDHE/CDC guidelines before distribution
- Families will be notified in the case of Covid19 exposure during Toy Store/Box Pick Up
- Households with anyone feeling sick or in quarantine/isolation are asked to not come on the property
- The Toy Store will close for 2 weeks if any New Creation Preschool staff/volunteer is positive for Covid-19 or if there are staffing issues due to quarantine.
- If the Toy Store closes due to Covid-19, tuition can be prorated and refunded.
- Box Pick Up dates may be modified if any New Creation Preschool staff/volunteer is positive for Covid-19.
Archives of our Covid-19 response:
June 2, 2020
EQUIPMENT NEEDS/IDEAS: donations to our preschool fund are welcome to help us meet these needs:
Some things to ponder and keep your eye out for:
Basement bathroom window: how possible is it to switch out the bathroom window so we have the option of opening it? This will be a primary space where social distancing will be difficult and if we can have the window open with a fan in it, that would help a lot.
Box fans for windows: The CDC and KDHE are recommending cross ventilation as much as possible, so I’m grateful for our basement windows. I have rigged up box fans in the windows in the past though they were quite rudimentary. Maybe a slightly smaller fan would work better?
20 log stumps between 12-18 inches high: These would be moveable and arranged as needed for outdoor circle time/snack time. More than ever, I’m grateful for the upcoming expanded playground. I’m not sure if we will permit children using the play structures so having natural logs and open space will be a gift.
Outdoor “camping” sink: like a water table but with the option for running water for hand washing.
Lots of plastic colanders: I’m thinking of having toys separated into colanders for children to use. When they are done, the colander is taken to the kitchen for dipping in a tub of bleach water, then drained and let to air dry.
Community Playthings clear panels: we have two already. These are beautifully made and connect to all the other equipment we have. with these we could create safe play spaces, dividers for circle time/group times, etc. If we get them from Community Playthings, they could easily be incorporated into our classroom post pandemic (if we have other temporary fixes made, i fear we will end up with stuff that’s not as usable).
Individually packaged snacks/supplies: for awhile we will serve prepackaged snacks and use all disposable products. If we can afford it, it would be nice to use more sustainable products (compostable and recyclable). I will invite families to contribute as usual.
Water source on playground: this seems impossible cost wise, but it would be ideal to have water access on the playground for hand washing/cleaning. Maybe someone out there wants to fund this project for us.
Hand sanitizer/hand sanitizer wipes/Clorox wipes: I have not been able to purchase any of this myself since prior to March 18. If any of you know of a source, I anticipate wanting this for preschool.
May 23, 2020
What is the “re-opening plan” for New Creation Preschool?
Based on “pre-COVID 19” information, I am generating 2020-2021 class lists like I typically would. The start date for 2020-2021 is scheduled for September 8. In addition, I am imagining different scenarios that we could phase to as needed. Each scenario includes me as teacher for all classes and us meeting at New Creation Preschool.
Each scenario also assumes potential practices for staff…things like mask/glove wearing by staff (we don’t know how this will look in a few months), a schedule of outside time (one option is doing preschool primarily outside), windows open with fans for cross ventilation (we are so fortunate for this option in our building), physical barriers between children for teacher guided times (if I ask a group of children to come to the journal table, I will have plexiglass barriers between each of us), physical barriers to create “safe play spaces” (plexiglass so children are alone in their space but can see friends right next to them), washing toys/equipment after being used by a child (i’m imagining toys divided into tubs that are single use before taken to kitchen for sanitizing), etc.
One thing that is consistent between all scenarios: I will not make guarantees with children’s behaviors.
I can’t guarantee a preschooler would keep a mask on. I can’t guarantee that a child wouldn’t walk into another “safe play space.” I can’t guarantee that a child wouldn’t toss a toy into another child’s space for that child to pick up. I can’t guarantee that a child wouldn’t come to preschool infected but asymptomatic. I can’t guarantee that a child wouldn’t cough because they drank their water too fast. I can’t guarantee that children wouldn’t hug. I can’t guarantee that a child wouldn’t hug their teachers. I can’t guarantee that a child wouldn’t spew respiratory droplets because of their enthusiastic talking…and more than ever I am committed to maintaining our dignity preserving, love based, curiosity motivated behavior management in the classroom.
If you completed an enrollment application for 2020-2021, you will receive an individualized “reopening plan” based on the information you gave. There will also be space for you to share concerns, questions or schedule preferences. There is no obligation for you to attend in 2020-2021 and no enrollment fee. There is time to “wait and see.”
While I am committed to coming up with the safest practices we as a staff can implement, this will not eliminate the risk of you sending your child to preschool. Following guidelines from KDHE, the CDC, USD 373, the NAEYC, we will do what we can.
The adults are the safe keepers. The children are children.
With cautious hope and humble gratitude,
on march 19, in light of the COVID-19 health crisis, we made the unprecedented decision to close our building for the remainder of the school year. supporting our families via email, text and social media started immediately. starting march 24, live circle times began on facebook. these are free and open to the public as well as all supplemental material provided.
developmentally appropriate skills and concepts are explored through the lens of the covid-19 pandemic, offering children an opportunity to notice their feelings.
our circle times have reached around the world and featured in local news. the primary goal of new creation preschool has always been to add life, love and laughter to the lives of young children. we are grateful to expand the school family.
a non-profit outreach of New Creation Fellowship Church since 1994
221 Muse Street Newton KS 67114
contact Kristin Neufeld Epp, director/teacher: