The FUNd Stuff at PNA!
Education in a COVID-19 World
By: Kailyn Hooley
Communications & Development Support
As school routines begin to take hold, we are all continuing to see how COVID-19 affects schools and the way kids learn. The impact may differ student to student, family to family, teacher to teacher, etc., but it is safe to assume that we are collectively jumping over the many hurdles that arise during this new school year. Once again, like we learned during distance learning, we are seeing how resilient and adaptable we are here at PNA. Like our middle school teacher, Sarah Mariner, said previously, "It [is] as if students and teachers [have] been in training their whole PNA careers for this moment…"
Students have settled right into the new and old routines of school!
While we are all making the most of the situation we find ourselves in, the idea of education in a COVID-19 world feels daunting. Teachers and staff are faced with everyday obstacles that prevent them from doing even the simplest tasks like they used to. Our 4th grade teacher, Martina Henke, has noticed how everything takes longer due to social distancing, as well as how speaking louder through our masks puts a strain on our voices. Some may question the long term effect these obstacles will have on our student’s education. However, despite these adult worries the kids have surprised us greatly; they see the silver linings and have found ways outside the box to engage within this new 'normal.'
One of these silver linings is simply being back together as a community. During quarantine and distance learning there were overwhelming feelings of isolation. Here at PNA, we feel grateful to have the opportunity to be able to provide a safe and fun environment for in-person learning, when not everyone has the same option right now. We believe that a key part of learning is the interaction between ourselves and our peers, a form of engagement we typically demonstrate through collaboration. While we are still engaging in this way, it has also been adapted to look a little different--like most things this year.
"Thank you to students that reminded us all that school is not about the building, the desks, the distance apart. School is about working collaboratively to learn new facts, to have new experiences, and to make new friends. School is about the people and the learning journey that we embark on together. I for one am happy to share this journey with you!" - Laurie Hoefer, Head of School
During this time of transition, many have observed the side effects to socialization in school and day to day life. Our 5th/6th grade teacher, Elizabeth Ferry, noted that we are having to unlearn many good habits, such as sharing our things, helping a peer pick something up, hugging our friends, etc. While these moments of unlearning may feel strange and unkind, we are all utilizing other ways to make connections, foster relationships, and maintain these new or old friendships. Where close interactions fall short, words of affirmation come through, or socially distanced acts of service.
Ms. Ferry's class (left) work to build their own desks, (right) student's getting creative in Ms. Graham's class.
In the end, a phrase that has remained true is that PNA is still PNA. Since we are a small, tight knit community, we have been able to react to the flow of changes. As such, we are learning to roll with the punches, becoming more accepting and patient. Together, we are still a school focused on engagement: engagement with one another, engagement with ideas, and engagement with materials. Despite the impact of COVID-19, our students are imagining and creating the kind of school experience that best fits their needs, fulfilling our goal of educating independent thinkers.
Thank you all for your continued support of PNA!
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Many Thanks to
John Hardwick and Ral West
As always, our continued success is shared with the people and companies that support us.
The FUNd Stuff is a bi-monthly (or so) publication from the staff, students, parents, and teachers of PNA. Want to know more about anything we've highlighted here? Get in touch! (907) 333-1080 or email@example.com