What about recess all day? Local school testing outside lesson plan


The summer camp mentality is leading the charge for the upcoming school year. And some teachers are calling this new way of learning the rainbow in a cloud of rain.

OHIO COUNTY, W.VA. (WTRF) — There’s no denying that recess was always the best part of school as a kid, and because of this pandemic, the only thing that seems to be unrestricted is the great outdoors. Which is why Wheeling Country Day School is pivoting their lesson plan to make the whole day outside.  

We’re looking at this as an opportunity rather than a hindrance to us.

Luke Hladek, Director of Summer Operations at Wheeling Country Day School

What better way to cool down than with this kind of stuff? And it’s been squeals of delight since we started.  

Claire Norman, Kindergarten Teacher at Wheeling Country Day School

Yoga in the courtyard, creek exploration, sprinklers in the common area, coloring in the grass. I mean… this is what summer’s about! 

Operating at half capacity, the summer camp started with 40 kids and has gradually scaled up. Consider this the test for how classrooms will look September 8th.  

We’ve covered them with tents, or we’ve fenced them in. We have projects going on all summer to establish those learning spaces that are as conducive to everything as the classrooms are. 

Luke Hladek, Director of Summer Operations at Wheeling Country Day School

Three weeks leading up to school, the program “Come Back Kids” is acclimating students to their new world.  

Some of them haven’t been with us since we went remote, so it was just a great way to have them back with us and get them used to being in school.  

Claire Norman, Kindergarten Teacher at Wheeling Country Day School

Aside from the occasional bird that flies in the classroom, the lesson plan might even be better than before this pandemic.  

Some teachers continue to lead class over a screen, and some students will be remote learning. And those in-person are feeling their way through things that are A-plus and things that could take some work. 

Small-screen devices really lend themselves to being over people’s shoulders, so we’re figuring out how to limit those.

Luke Hladek, Director of Summer Operations at Wheeling Country Day School

But especially the little ones who are more hands on, how will they not spread germs? Like we’ve seen in our super markets, there are ‘behavioral cues’ speckled throughout Wheeling Country Day. These dots signifying spacing, seats already spread apart makes pandemic rules easier to follow.  

Having Come Back Kids is really nice for the kids to get used to. Staying socially distant from each other, washing their hands, and just kind of getting those guidelines in practice for us.  

It’s going to be tricky but I think we’re up for the challenge.

Claire Norman, Kindergarten Teacher at Wheeling Country Day School

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