Although schools are closed, Aldrin Elementary School Principal Shane Wolfe said he is trying to help his students regain a sense of normalcy by bringing people together through a shared love for storytime and feeling of community.
Wolfe began hosting Facebook Live events on March 18, which he said quickly attracted the attraction of hundreds of kids from Aldrin Elementary and across the country.
During these half-hour sessions, Wolfe typically reads a short storybook that is hand-selected by Wolfe.
“I was trying to find a way I could create a connection with the kids back to the school,” Wolfe said, adding that he thinks a sense of community is important to the digital learning environment.
Wolfe says that he does his best to ensure that he can respond to questions from kids that log on.
“The kids have a lot of really good questions that come in too,” he said, adding that they often ask about when the school may reopen and even inquire about their friends.
One of the major questions that Wolfe gets is kids asking when they will be able to return to school and play on the playground. Though Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam canceled all in-person school activities through the end of the semester, Wolfe told Reston Now that Fairfax County is in the midst of creating a distance learning plan for students.
When it comes to recreation, Wolfe said that kids should listen to their parents and respect county guidelines but are still able to enjoy things like soccer fields that allow students to practice the six-feet social distancing rule.
Although the Aldrin Elementary’s Facebook page only has about 250 followers, Wolfe said that sometimes his Facebook Live videos will sometimes end up with upwards of 1,000 views. Once, he even saw that kids from Tennessee and Phoenix, Arizona were following along with the story as well.
In the near future, students and community members can expect an upcoming “virtual teacher parade” that will replace the car parade, which was previously canceled, according to Wolfe.
“We are recording it now and teachers will record themselves singing, being silly and saying hello to the kids,” he said.
The final product will be sent out electronically to the community once complete, Wolfe said.
Photo via Aldrin Elementary/Facebook