Seattle Preschool Program offers hybrid education plans amid virus safety precautions

There’s some good news tonight for preschool parents in Seattle who’ve been dreading trying to make zoom classes work.

The Seattle Preschool Program is working with its various providers, offering a range of options for families. From programs that are 100% in person to 100% remote, and then some that are a hybrid of the two. The program is also contracting with 24 different providers this school year to provide a variety of options for youngsters.

Hoa Mai Vietnamese Bilingual Preschool is one of the providers that’s operating under a hybrid model with two rotating groups of students.

“One cohort will attend Monday, Wednesday, and every other Friday, and then the other kiddos will attend Tuesday and Thursday and every other Friday,” said director of preschool, Gloria Hodge.

On children’s off days, they’ll partake in what the Seattle Preschool Program calls family directed learning, with materials and lesson plans provided by the school.

“We want to offer the hybrid model for safety precautions…there’s a lot of fear and I can relate to that as a mother," said Hodge.

The hybrid model allows the preschool to keep class sizes to under 10 students for safety precautions. Students and staff will also wear masks. Parents won’t be allowed inside the school and will do drop-offs just outside.

“We'll do a health screening, a no-touch temperature check and go through a checklist of questions, marking where they can sit when they eat, you know trying to have space between them, and just gentle reminders.  It’s natural, kids like to have fun and play closely together but just gentle reminders to try and social distance," said Hodge.

Despite the potential risks of going back to school, she said it’s crucial for many working families. And many feel it’s the best thing for their child, citing the significance of pre-k is children building social skills.

“Socialization, social-emotional support, how to solve problems and have conversations with each other, and listening skills so when they do start kindergarten they’re able to really engage with the teacher and the class," said Hodge.

The Seattle preschool program continues to stress the significance of high-quality pre-k and the long-term benefits for children. Due to this being such an unusual school year, they’re accepting applications for openings through March 14th, 2021. They’re also waiving all tuition for programs that are 100% remote.

For in-person or hybrid models, tuition costs will be reduced by 50%, though SPP says historically, most of their enrolled families qualify for free tuition.