Social Distancing Blues and Jewels:

Thoughts and impressions from SWCDC – OST program children and their parents.

By: Francine Elizabeth Natal 

Firstly, kudos to the SWCDC – Out of School Time (OST) program PARENTS who are now literally wearing the “Homeroom Teacher” hat…I don’t envy you but I do admire you.  The ingenuity and tact with charm that each of you seemingly have asserted now for these 6 – weeks since the social distancing mandate became official is second to none. You motivate the SWCDC – OST Staff (such as myself) daily to stay positive during these uncertain times pending a Global Pandemic era now upon us.

The challenge is…close monitoring is essential for executing the proper positive reinforcement required to effectively promote the Literacy Initiative, which is designated as the driving component of the citywide OST Program this year.  Therefore, study and brainstorming is happening now to discover what “best practices” can be instituted to ensure a successful launch of Book Stars – an extension of the 100 Book challenge – which supports the Reading on level by 3rd grade and the read by the end of 3rd Grade – benchmarks.  As for the Literacy initiative, Virtual lessons by SWCDC – OST Program staff promote literacy and consist of fun and innovative ways via themes, learning games and etc. to promote learning and fun simultaneously e.g. EDUTAINMENT.   The students want to attend virtual lessons…so far so good.  Although there are times that many students due to circumstances beyond their control are unable to attend Virtual lessons on a consistent basis, they are still very interested in joining and when they do attend their attentiveness is 100%.

Now for some thoughts and impressions from the children and parents who are the direct clients of the SWCDC – OST Afterschool Program servicing Patterson Elementary School:

“I like going to weekly Virtual classes; I have not missed one yet! The only thing that I wish could be different is that the time goes so fast.” – Christie Raymond / Grade 2

“I am glad that the SWCDC – OST Programming is still active during the Global Pandemic.” – Yves Delva, parent of Christie Raymond, Grade 2.

“I appreciate having online “Virtual classes”…my only pet peeve is this one, I have a little brother and he is adorable but he doesn’t realize that when he enters the room, he is crashing my virtual lesson which is my only chance to see my friends from school that are in my class.  I can’t wait until I can return to OST programming at Paterson School facility (all smiles).” – Brianda Valerio / Grade 2

“My daughter can and will attend; I am glad that she can still attend the SWCDC – OST Program by way of Virtual lessons and she will be in attendance.” – Yesenia Valerio / parent of Brianda Valerio, Grade 2

It is an honor to witness each child participant’s growth, in their new Virtual learning experience.  Most are positive and seem to be thrilled but the absence of social engagement – by way of physical “up-close” and personal togetherness – is what they miss and wish was soon returned. 

Francine is the OST Grade-2 Group Supervisor & Book Stars / Literacy enrichment Facilitator for Southwest CDC

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