I remember my first April living in France. I didn’t know the French even celebrated April Fool’s day until I noticed people pointing and laughing at me as I walked by. I initially attributed their amusement to some identified American idiosyncrasy I was accidentally displaying. When I realized they were laughing at the fact I had three colorful fish attached to my jacket, it was clear I had unwittingly stumbled into French April Fool’s Day or poisson d’avril. The French celebrate this custom by drawing colorful fish and attempting to put them on the backs of unsuspecting “fools.” My students that first year relished in the opportunity to play this prank on me.
Here we are 15 years later, and I feel the prank is again on me. Having school in the absence of our children and their families seems like a cruel April Fool’s Day joke. Our challenge is to retain our sense of humor despite an April Fool’s Day on repeat until May. The primary motivation behind Bay Farm at Home is to keep our school’s mission alive during our forced separation.
I read an interview this week with Massachusetts native Captain Chris Cassidy, who is preparing to spend six months aboard the International Space Station. This will be Captain Cassidy’s third space mission. He is an authority on social distancing to the extreme. Captain Cassidy was asked if he had any advice for people who are experiencing isolation for the first time. His number one recommendation is to set and keep a daily routine. We hope Bay Farm at Home is helping you establish and keep a Monday through Friday routine. Getting up late, not getting dressed, not eating regular meals, or doing daily chores puts everyone in what the astronaut refers to as “that funk.” Funks can be disastrous in space where alertness and precision are essential; they also negatively impact everyday life.
The other advice Captain Cassidy had was to maintain a strong connection to your family and community. Despite being thousands of miles and many months away from his family and friends, Captain Cassidy takes time every day to connect. Sharing your feelings, thoughts, and ideas with the people who care about you is vital to a sense of connection. Adults need it, and so do even our youngest children. Nothing can fully replace the physical presence of a friend or loved one, but we should all work to leverage the tools we have to stay connected.
Bay Farm at Home is designed and delivered daily by the teachers and staff who know our students personally. We remain the responsive Montessori school that embraces our families and inspires our children. I hope our work helps your family use Captain Cassidy’s advice by staying connected to learning.