Dear Friends & Neighbors,
2020 was a year that no one will ever forget. We could share, like anyone in the world during the pandemic, the challenges and changes that COVID-19 had abruptly altered our world as we knew it. Overnight, the world went from business as usual, to a world wide shut down. With more questions than answers, Bearcamp Valley School and Children’s Center closed our doors temporarily on March 13th 2020.
When we re-opened on June 15th for our summer program under new guidance and new protocols to promote the best health standards for the families in our care, we never expected the pure magic we were able to witness. In this letter, we wanted to share with you our experience of perseverance, understanding, and compassion shown by the small wonders of this world that give us a reason to do what we do. In a new world where adults were stressed, unsure, and making decisions to the best of their ability, children were the unsung heroes who had new rules and routines to follow instantly.
Children are designed to explore the world with all five senses – vison, hearing, smell, taste and touch. In a moment’s notice, that final exploration tool was stripped away. Hugs were discouraged, the all-important lesson of sharing was now defined as you have your own materials, and the important people in their lives all suddenly were masked superheroes. With their curious minds asking so many questions, the most commonly asked was now that hardest to answer – “Why?”.
While parents and caregivers tried to explain the virus and pandemic the best they could, the children understood completely. They understood the boundaries, they understood the art of working together, and these small wonders have mastered the art of compassion. We are always proud of the sense of community we build within the walls of our center, but during the pandemic we were astonished with how the children we teach so much to, could in turn give us a life lesson right before our eyes.
With so much changing around the world, it was incredible to witness how much still remained the same. The first sounds of laughter back in the building filled our hearts with pride. The idea of being together and being apart allowed the children to continue to build and enjoy their friendships while practicing social distancing. The staff poured their hearts into the work of children, but now with a directive of learning with them, growing with them, experiencing magic with them. The mastery of our work was always dedicated for the child – but after the lessons of this year, being together was what we are most grateful for.
As we look forward to 2021, we have a new appreciation for the simple things we once took for granted. The messy classrooms, the paint covered art tables, the high-pitched sounds of song, the group laughter on the playground, and a place we have made a home away from home for so many. We are grateful for the guidance from our local and nationwide leaders who have guided industries through this pandemic, and for all the advances the medical field is currently working towards. We are grateful for the community we live in, both within our doors and beyond, that support the work we do in order to support families during a time they needed it most. Because we were able to open our doors, we helped support over 50 local families return to work, maintain a new sense of normal, and provided them with an extended ‘family’ who really looked out for everyone else. We can only credit our children and families, our staff, and our supporters who believe in the work we do, and allow us to venture into our 57th year of operation – successfully guiding through our first pandemic.
Here’s to 2021 – we wish for health, happiness, and the continuation of the community we have built around us. Thank you for believing in us, and for always your continued support. We will continue to shed light on all the beautiful pieces that have shown through this life changing pandemic. We wanted to take a moment and acknowledge and thank our teachers who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic, Mrs. Mindy, Ms. Nicol, Ms. Sara, Ms. Kerry & Ms. Nichole – for putting the important work first, our team of administration, Mrs. Coville & Ms. Nichole, that have continued to carry Bearcamp Valley School’s mission through its entirety and continue on in the most difficult of times, and a special kudos to Sheena Harte, for continuing her dedication in her role with the center, and providing resources and assurance maintaining a positive business model. Our team our professionals truly define collaboration. Through all the trials and tribulations the pandemic had presented us with, we have never been more proud to be a part of the Bearcamp Valley School & Children’s Center family.
They say it takes a village, and we cannot thank you enough for being a part of ours.
Nancy Coville, Nichole Cotton,
Administrative Director Co-Director