Embracing a New Normal

After three long months at home, several Spark heroes returned to their beloved studio this week. The same familiar materials, their favorite books, and their beautiful plants—which have weathered this storm pretty well, all things considered—greeted them with open arms.

More importantly perhaps, the heroes positively basked in each other’s company. After weeks of interacting with each other on Zoom, FaceTime, and phone, they were more than eager to eat, learn, and play together once again. They were back to laughing as they played, comforting each other when they got hurt, and yes, resolving the occasional conflict. Their relationships picked up right where they left off, that’s for sure.

The studio isn’t exactly the same way they remember it though. Fewer chairs now tuck in around the tables, tape marks the carefully spaced out spots at the tables and on the floor, and their comfy pillows are conspicuously absent.  A small “disinfecting table” now stands off to the side and holds materials that need to be wiped down before they are put away. And some heroes still need to join us remotely, so the small crew now makes room for a computer at circle time!

How are they dealing with these new safety measures, you ask? Brilliantly. It was tough at first—not being able to crowd together at one table for afternoon project, heap together during quiet time, or play touch tag on the playground.

But as the hours ticked by, the heroes were adapting to these new changes and accepting them as their new normal. After just two days, they were happily grabbing wipes to clean materials before putting them away, wiping down tables and chairs without prompting, and cleaning books and leaving them to dry before replacing them on the shelves. They made elaborate lily pads in art, created challenging obstacle courses at project time, and constructed imaginative buildings out of blocks. Their willingness to help, keep each other safe, and find ways to thrive in their environment have become another emblem of their growing resiliency.

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