Our Approach During the Pandemic
Outdoor Education and Nature Play
Fresh air and nature are among our best tools for keeping children and their families safe as the pandemic continues. With nearly an acre of school grounds – including gardens, diverse playscapes, wooded and watershed areas - and our dedicated focus on outdoor education, we're able to offer a nourishing natural experience in the safest possible environment.
Small Classes and Cohorts
We keep our class sizes small, with closed social groups to minimize exposure. Our preschool and kindergarten classes are limited in size to 16 children, with two teachers and an assistant present for each class. Our three classes are not concurrent, meaning they are scheduled on different days of the week and times. We keep small, separate and consistent cohorts to reduce opportunities for student-to-student exposure.
Fresh Air, Indoors and Out
We’ve constructed a new activity building and open-air pavilion which serve as all-weather open air classrooms. These structures provide space for children to play in small groups out of the elements, while offering access to fresh air. Our covered spaces include ample heating for the coldest days, and are well-equipped with a full kitchen and bathroom.
Our teachers and support staff are immunized and boosted against the COVID-19 virus, having received initial vaccinations in March of 2021. Because adults are far more likely than children to spread the virus, our immunized team will greatly reduce the possibility of infection within our community.
We follow all Public Health & Dept. of Education guidelines related to mask-wearing. However, as one of the few year-around, fully-outdoor preschool/kindergartens in Portland, our staff and students are not required nor advised to wear masks while outdoors at school. This means the young children in our care can safely interact their peers, learn critical social and communication skills, and play together freely without the interpersonal challenge of mask-wearing. Our fully-vaccinated teachers always wear masks when assisting children up-close or indoors, such as when helping in the bathroom.
Small Play Circles
Our school environment is set up to encourage children playing together in small groups, with ample distance to spread out and move. Our activities, including snacks, are held outdoors or in open air environments.
Keeping Hands Clean
We’ve added an outdoor hand washing station, with hot and cold running water. We’ve incorporated regular (hourly) handwashing into our daily routine.
Healthy Snacks, Safely Served
We offer simple, whole-food, organic snacks for both our morning and afternoon classes. These are served in individual portions rather than family style, and children are appropriately distanced while eating.
Safe Drop-Off and Pick-Up
We've established safe procedures and a designated area for drop and pick-up, and parents are asked to wear masks and maintain social distance while on the school grounds.
Health Checks and Closures
We strictly follow Oregon state guidelines for daily monitoring of children’s health during the COVID crisis, as well as the protocol for temporary school closure should a COVID-related outbreak occurs.
Training and Certification
Our teachers are thoroughly trained in COVID safety procedures. Given all of the above, Little House has received special authorization from Oregon’s Early Learning Division to operate as an emergency childcare facility, even in the event that most preschools and/or kindergartens are closed across the state.