Fraser Wood Montessori welcomed students back to the classroom at the end of August. Gina Tryforos, Interim Head of School & Alison Kistner, Director of Admissions recently shared how the school reimagined many of its learning spaces, while creating reopening guidelines based on recommendations from the CDC, Connecticut Department of Health, and the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood. These guidelines include:
- Temperature and wellness checks performed daily
- Separate entrances and exits to minimize traffic
- Increased cleaning throughout the day, including a professional deep clean at the end of each day
- Individual work spaces and supplies for each child
- Classroom cohorts
Time spent exploring the outside is integral to a Montessori education. This year, Fraser Woods Montessori School has created a school day that maximizes time spent outdoors for Primary, Elementary, and Middle School students. Students enjoy exploring the natural playground, nature trails, athletic fields, and outdoor classroom on their 8 acre campus. Additionally, the center of the school features a Zen Garden, perfect for masks breaks throughout the day and for small group lessons.
I had the opportunity to talk to Gina Tryforos, Interim Head of School and learn more about the Fraser Woods difference. With over 34 years experience in education, Mrs. Tryforos is a familiar face around the school, having been a part of the community since 1997 when her sons attended the school and she joined the staff. She shared 35% of the student community is from Newtown/Sandy Hook with the remainder from twenty of the surrounding towns.
Congratulations on your new role for the year! As a mother and an educator can you tell us a bit more about the Fraser Woods difference?
Thank you! A Montessori education is like no other. The manner of teaching and the curriculum itself encourages students to have a strong sense of connection to all of humanity. Our students develop an appreciation of the contributions of their ancestors and of the diverse cultures and countries around the world. They are working to become well prepared to be contributing global citizens.
Montessori children have more input into how they are taught, and they have more control over how they learn than children in traditional school settings. Each child’s learning style and preferences are respected and supported.
If I had to pinpoint the “Fraser Woods difference” –it is our faculty. The teachers of our youngest students in the toddler and preschool levels are loving, nurturing, and rigorously trained in child development. They create peaceful, supportive, and safe environments for our youngest children.
Our elementary teachers (grades 1-5) provide an academic, social, and emotional foundation to help each child reach their full potential. Our to our middle school teachers who teach grades 6, 7, and 8, address the specific developmental needs of early adolescence. The students’ education develops as they engage in purposeful learning around topics and issues that have meaning for them- Black Lives Matter, the 2020 Election, Stem-Cell Research, Social Justice Concerns.
Now that we’re about two months into the school year, what has been working well at school? What are you most excited about for the 2020/2021 school year?
With two months of school behind us, something that is going exceptionally well is our extensive adoption of all the COVID-19 protocols for the health and safety of the Fraser Woods community. These protocols have become part of our daily routine now. If you were to ask the children, taking learning outdoors has been the best change we made! Most impressive to all of us was how adaptable and resilient the children are. We are most excited by the prospect of what the children will teach us moving forward!
I know partnership with parents is important to you & your team at Fraser Woods. What are you doing this year to foster that partnership for both parents of enrolled students, as well as new (or potential) students?
Our teachers establish an open dialog with the parents of the children in their classrooms. We are finding creative ways to engage the community virtually. We host Coffee & Chat sessions with myself and other members of the Fraser Woods community. Our class parents are organizing socially distant events for the children and families in their classes and I invite parent input and conversation, always.
Start the conversation today to see if Fraser Woods Montessori School is a fit for your child. Schedule a virtual conversation by contacting Alison Kistner at (203) 426-3390