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Coronavirus: Lethbridge preschools prepare to reopen June 1

Lethbridge preschools prepare to reopen
The Alberta government has announced that preschools across the province are now allowed to reopen starting on June 1. As Emily Olsen reports, local preschools are taking the time to prepare.

Lethbridge Montessori Preschool is preparing to open with many others across the province beginning on June 1.

With the reopening comes many changes to ensure health and safety of staff and students.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Children’s services minister says Alberta preschools can reopen June 1

“Things like allowing one family to enter the campus one at a time,” explained head of school Afra Foroud. “And it involves a daily questionnaire of everyone entering the campus.”

“It’s not the way it normally would be, but what is these days.”

Preschools are also required to have no more than 10 people per classroom including teachers, ensure proper social distance is maintained and incorporate sanitization stations and PPE into regular classroom activities.

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Foroud says the Montessori preschool has a leg up because it has already been operating under the same regulations with its daycare.

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“We had to restructure what kinds of toys and access to learning materials that children have.

“Normally we have an open classroom where children can wander freely and choose different activities and different learning materials, and now we have to carefully monitor and choose activities that can be soaked in bleach — in a bleach-water solution — for sanitizing.”

Alberta children’s services minister says preschools can reopen June 1
Alberta children’s services minister says preschools can reopen June 1

Foroud says while limitations are in place, there is no limit on the education, fun and connection children can still make.

“Children can continue to sing together, they can mirror each other, we can play games — at a distance.”

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Principal Zahra Foroud says she understands why some parents might feel uncomfortable sending children to preschool, but says for some working parents, the service is crucial and they are happy to provide it.

“Myself, I feel it is too early,” Zahra Foroud admitted. “However [with] the health guidance from the authorities, they have prepared us.”

READ MORE: Childcare, second wave of pandemic key concerns among moms returning to work after maternity leave

For parents concerned about how their children will cope with the changes, Foroud says they’ve seen daycare kids figure out the new rules and incorporate them quickly and easily.

“It’s amazing. Everything starts with children. You teach them, they learn.”

The next town hall for preschools to meet with government officials is set for June 2, following the first official day of opening.