"TCS CONNECT!" Remote Learning

"I just sat here listening to Ms. Trueman sing and my child sat in front of me singing their heart out and it just makes me so happy. They just sang ‘I whistle a happy tune’ and it honestly brought a tear to my eye because it was so lovely. We love that song. Also we’ve been starting everyday with Ms. Dana reading a chapter book and we all love it so much. I am so grateful for your wonderful team of incredible teachers! Thanks for everything you’ve done and continue to do."
TCS Parent

STORY GOES HERE

To help our community stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus, The Children's School closed its facility and shifted to a remote learning program. Until we're back in our building, we're committed to providing our students an engaging, dynamic, flexible online and at-home learning curriculum. At the same time, we want to maintain the same sense of community and care that defines us. In that spirit, welcome to "TCS Connect!"

We're blazing the trail on what progressive education looks like in a remote learning environment. Rather then endless worksheets and rigid schedules, we keep the joy in learning. How? By giving fun and purposeful projects, by keeping students connected to and interacting with their teachers and classmates, by adapting tasks and schedules to each family's unique needs, and by honoring our students' voices in what and how they want to learn.  Join us and be part of our vibrant community!

NOTE: In our remote learning program, we want to be a resource, a help, and a source of connection for students and their families. We never want to be an added stressor, a source of judgment, or a burden to families already under pressure from everything Covid-19 "stay-at-home" changes already bring. Everything we describe and offer below is always adaptable and secondary to your own family's priorities for your child and your home life.

How it Works:

In progressive education, we know that "one size does NOT fit all." Kids have different learning styles, different academic and socio-emotional needs, and each family has a different schedule and different lifestyle.

That's why, just as in our regular classrooms, each teacher adapts their program to their particular group, and takes the time to connect with each family and each individual student to hear what they want and need from their remote learning program.

Early Childhood

In early childhood Pond classes, we understand that young children learn better with hands-on play time versus lots of "screen time." That's why our teachers send home materials and art supplies, and provide parents with simple yet powerful tools and instructions to set up sensory stimulating play areas in their home.

 

Instead of rigid schedules, we help parents adapt our classroom rhythm of the day to their own day as best they can. Face to face videoconferencing and one-to-one conversations with their teacher, are fun and important in preserving the child's connections. Where possible, we promote small projects and fun online gatherings that keep classmates connected to each other, so that even if they are at home alone, they know they have friends who care, and a social circle they are an important and valued part of.
 

Elementary Grades

Older children in our Lake classes are better able to keep to a schedule of classroom activities, so we provide regular group meetings, online class assignments, and project work they can do from home. Most of the time, there is a great deal of flexibility built in so that if a child misses an online chat or lesson, they can view it or jump in later.

 

Our teachers check in with each student regularly to see what they need, what they'd like to do for at-home projects, and help with academic skill building. We try to keep the group working and communicating together, so that each child feels and knows they are a valued part of the group and so that they are still working on building essential social skills. Our teachers also try their best to facilitate the pick-up or delivery of project and learning materials if they're wanted or needed.

Middle Level

Adolescents in our Ocean classes are usually quite tech savvy, enjoy self-directed learning, and do well in remote group interaction and project work. Our teachers supervise and suggest online resources, and make sure each student is included in, challenged by, and has the technology they need for assignments and projects. (It's not unusual for our Ocean students to bring concrete ways of improving our remote learning to our attention as they discover new software and shortcuts in using our existing platforms.)

 

As in the classroom, our middle level curriculum in remote learning is "problem-based." We encourage students to identify a problem and find answers to those problems through research and critical thinking. Moreover, we often challenge our students to implement solutions to problems through tangible hands on action in real life.

Finally, we also integrate remote learning activities that prepare middle level students for their transition to high school.

See examples from our Remote Learning Program throughout our Site

Wherever you see a laptop icon on our website, you'll see an example from our "TCS Connect!" remote learning program. 

 

If you want to return to this page, just click the laptop!

Below is a list of pages where you'll find stories and samples  -- remember, look for the laptop!

MIDDLE LEVEL

Social Justice FocuS

ART

 

Physical Wellness

Library

Project-Based Learning

...more coming soon!

TECH TALK & SUPPORT
  • TCS provides Chrome books to students who need them in grades 5 - 8. TCS also helps families of younger students obtain the technology they need to participate in our online activities if there is no computer or Internet in the home.
     

  • In general, we use Google Classroom, Google Hangouts, Google Meet, and occasionally Zoom for our online activities. Most of these are accessed through a student's TCS Connect email address. if you don't have or don't know your child's TCS Connect email address, please contact cmartin@tcsconnect.org.
     

  • The first place to check if you don't understand how to access class activities online is with the teacher. If you are still having problems, contact cmartin@tcsconnect.org, and we will help you the best we can. We are all learning as we go, and truly understand the frustration using a new Internet platform can bring.

ONLINE RESOURCES FOR &
ABOUT 
REMOTE LEARNING

Parents and students, please  contact your teacher for the correct links to classroom and all-school activities, as well as links to resources and activities each class is using. 

FROM OUR TEACHERS

“There have been some significant silver linings in this experience that I believe are going to produce some of the best teaching I've ever done and in turn some of the best products my students have created... One thing that I've been significantly reflecting on is how I can truly honor the student voice in this moment in history. As a progressive educator this is always at the core of my philosophy and is, to me, the most important element to supporting each child’s growth.” -  Ms. Melissa Barone, 7th Grade Teacher

“In this difficult time, as I sit here writing while my four children are building train tracks on the floor, I know the difficulties that managing your children's education, your own work schedule and the occasional bathroom break mean. There was a hard first two weeks for me. I was desperately trying to figure out how to accomplish it all. After much thought I looked at the philosophy of our school and let go of wanting to do it all. 
 

No longer was I trying to do everything on everyone’s schedule. Instead we are following our children’s needs— the need for exploration and wonder, the need to belong to a community and the need for security and safety. And yes, we sometimes even need a movie or two with a bowl of popcorn....  Play opens the door for inquiry-based learning. Instead of pushing instruction, we support emergent curiosity." -  Ms. Lucy Coria, 1st Grade Teacher

“Although this new way of learning has been quite different, I look forward to my daily check-ins with the students. It has been amazing to see their creativity during this time. Some of my personal favorite video shares from students have been a homemade sword, a fort, a handcrafted pillow, and an in-home obstacle course...I know this is much different than what students are accustomed to, but I feel confident that the Raining Tacos will still find ways to be creative and take advantage of new opportunities to learn outside the classroom as well.” -  Ms. Jasmine Davis, 5th Grade Teacher

“Many schools talk about how students can “own their learning,” but at TCS, this is more than just a nice-sounding phrase. Our 8th grade students believe they deserve an education, and they are willing to work to get an education. They show a self-motivation and persistence that I’m not sure I would see in middle-school students who are conditioned to work for the rewards of points and percentages. These students understand that learning is its own reward, and that becoming more knowledgeable and capable will help them with whatever they want to achieve in their lives. They also believe that knowing and being able to do stuff is fun!” -  Ms. Gloria Mitchell, 8th Grade Teacher

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”  John Dewey

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© 2018 The Children's School - 200 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60302  |  708-484-8033

website by Tracy Litsey at Practicespecialty.com | photographs by Lindsay Schumaier Photography,  Eileen Moloney Photography, and Laura Donoghue