When Our Kitchens Become Classrooms: Meeting Our Children Where They Are

By Margaret Gregory, Head of School Fusion Academy Greenwich

From March 1 to March 30, could anyone have ever imagined how drastically different life would become?

From cancellations of professional to recreational sports, elimination of Spring Break plans with grandparents, waiting in line six feet apart to get groceries in masks, turning bedrooms into home offices, and most strangely: our kitchens have become classrooms.

In addition to a full-time job, for those fortunate to still hold them, the metropolitan American parent has taken on the added work of coach, mentor, lunch provider, nurse, therapist, and teacher. This around the clock lifestyle has shaken the relationships and dynamic of our homes. Without an end in sight for all of us, how do we effectively guide our children and families to stay the course?

Local private school, Fusion Academy Greenwich, has offered Virtual Learning to families for four years with over 1,000 classes taught via Zoom, in addition to the full in-person program. The fully accredited one-to-one middle and high school seamlessly moved its entire program to virtual as of March 23, upholding the vision to “meet students where they are” even if that means the dining room table or the bedroom floor. Each student’s academic program continues as any other day, seeing the familiar and friendly faces of their teachers and friends, and studying engaging and individualized material from the comfort of their homes.

Varying from Online Learning, which is a self-guided and independent approach many schools in the area are forced to assign during the recent COVD-19 crisis, Virtual Learning is the same classroom a student would walk into on a traditional school day: their teacher, content, and textbooks all the same, just the avenue of access has changed locations. Fusion Academy Greenwich is providing all its same courses from Photography to Physics, via protected Zoom Classrooms.

But our days are more different than ever before. Fusion Academy Greenwich swiftly realized as did the rest of the world after two weeks completely virtual: a highly intentional approach to keep a community together is more important than ever before. From students, to staff, to parents, Fusion Academy Greenwich has kept social event calendars a top priority to hold routine and consistency in a time of turmoil.

Last Tuesday, April 7, Fusion Academy Greenwich welcomed Dr. Christopher Bogart, co-founder of the Sasco River Center and a licensed clinical psychologist who works with children, adolescents and parents, to hold a Q and A for parents around: “What does my child need from me, right now?” Dr. Bogart spoke of with parents on the roles needed to play to support every child and the essential need to keep involved with each other.

“We are wired as human beings for social connection and when we start losing that social connection in day-to-day … we start to get lost,” Dr. Bogart said. “We regenerate our own ability to be of support by connecting and laughing.”

Which is the very essence: staying connected in a time of mandated distance. Students across the tri-state areas are home with little to no interaction with peers, completing self-driven assignments from the kitchen table. But what can be brought to them even at home? Dr. Bogart continued, “It’s important that we are listening to the professionals but we need to be sure we are practicing physical isolation, not social isolation.”

At Fusion Academy Greenwich, the continuation of class with a trusted teacher makes all the difference in the life of each student. “Kids need more structure now than in their typical day-today lives because in their day-to-day lives structure allows them to feel a sense of predictability,” advised Bogart. This predictability in conjunction with connection and laughter is giving students a light at the end of the tunnel.

Fusion teachers have embraced “meet students where they are” in a whole new virtual light, adding to their existing daily teaching loads to hold virtual lunch hour social activities such as Art Clubs and Movie Clubs. The primary goal is to partner with students to embrace connections across households, and to help students through such an uncertain time in their young adult lives.

At times like these, when the world is flipped, so must the approach to stay the course. Undoubtably, parents have been monitoring screen time, but Fusion Academy Greenwich’s theory is that by leaning into the virtual learning platform and upholding strong connections, not only will students make it out of this, they will remember this time was met with innovation, laughter, and above all: unity.

The weight of the world feels heavier than ever, and for parents, taking on the anxieties and uncertainty of their children is instinctual. However, the responsibility now is to show students how healthy technology use will bring communities together, while the medical professionals manage the health crisis outside of the home.

Fusion Academy Greenwich is a fully accredited one-to-one private school, serving students in grades 6-12, who seek more from their education than the norm. Through an individualized approach and positive mentor relationships, Fusion Academy Greenwich seeks to unlock potential and passion in all students.

Fusion Academy Greenwich is rolling admissions and still accepting students for Spring, Summer, and Fall programs. Join us at our Virtual Open House this Saturday, April 18th , at 12pm to learn more about the customized programing options available for your child. Register here today. https://www.fusionacademy.com/greenwich/event/fall-and-summer-2020-open-house-2/

Come see what makes Fusion Greenwich’s individualized virtual and traditional program different from the norm.

Register here: April 18 Open House