FOUNTAIN HILL, PA - There’s nothing better than curling up with a good book...
"Our hope was that they could rest their head on their pillow just a little bit lighter knowing that we are still here for them, it hasn’t changed," explains Fountain Hill Elementary School Principal, Courtney Wertman-Stambaugh, "Remote learning hasn’t changed the fact that Fountain Hill is still here for you."
As Coronavirus keeps students at home, teachers from Bethlehem’s Fountain Hill Elementary school are finding new ways to keep students engaged from a distance. They’ve shared more than 112 hours of virtual bedtime stories with the children they miss seeing every day in their classrooms...
"It’s important for teachers and our students to have that connection with the entire school.," says teacher, Brad Drey, "I’m a 5th grade teacher but those pre-k or kindergarten students that I see every day and say hi to, I’m still able to have that connection with and it’s just been really great."
From ‘Dragons Love Tacos’ to ‘Where The Wild Things Are,’ more than 500 students and their parents can log on to the school’s secure website to flip through the pages of stories handpicked by teachers that appeal to students from pre-k to 5th grade.
Drey tells PBS39 News Tonight Reporter, K.C. Lopez, "It’s one thing to have individual teachers connecting with their individual students through assignments and group zoom sessions and things like that but we were looking for a way to keep our entire school connected and keep our Fountain Hill family going."
But kids are learning more than fables and fairytales; "To see those themes running through some of the books that teachers have picked, and continue to teach our students about compassion, empathy, being a good citizen in our community, and just recognizing that literacy is something that is needed by everyone to take you wherever you want to go in life," says Stambaugh.
And it doesn’t stop at bedtime. Fountain Hill Elementary students have virtual show and tell, mindfulness meditations and more fun videos. Staff says it’s just one way to lift spirits and let families know, social distance might be keeping them physically separated, but they’re in this together.
"Brad (Drey) has been the mastermind behind things and the way he has organized the platform has really allowed us to support all of our families regardless of what their schedule is," Stambaugh tells Lopez, "If they’re still working or if they’re trying to work from home and establish a new normalcy.
Got a news tip? Email K.C. at KCLopez@wlvt.org