After Social Isolation, Preparing Our Youngest Students to Thrive

When the school doors opened last fall at Bunche Montessori, early-grade teacher Katie Gerdts quickly realized it would be a tough year.

“That moment when you go to redirect a child—normally not a big deal—and the child just flips out, throws their work,” she recalled, incredulously. “And it just kept happening over and over again with different children, screaming and yelling, massive toddler tantrums.”

Without the benefit of much (if any) normal preschool or day care because of the pandemic, many students in Gerdts’ mixed-age classroom were simply not ready to learn and struggled with basic tasks, social skills, and self-regulation. It wasn’t just the academics—Gerdts and her colleagues at the Fort Wayne, Indiana, magnet school knew to expect lags there—it was skills like sharing classroom materials, taking turns, unpacking backpacks, or sitting still for even short periods of time.

Read more here.

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