Jamie Bescak

Jamie Bescak, preschool director at St. John Bosco Catholic School, checks the temperature of Pre-K student Adelaide Ainsworth, 4.

St. John Bosco Catholic School administrators are making sure the pandemic isn’t cheating preschoolers.

That effort started last March when the school was closed at the onset of the pandemic in March and is continuing now that their “littlest learners” are back on the campus on 48th Street south of Chandler Boulevard in Ahwatukee.

Preschool Director Jamie Bescak  said that when the curtain came down abruptly on the 2019-20 school year for 3-year-olds and preschoolers last spring, the tykes already had “solid foundation for the majority of the school year.”

But, Bescak added, “We did not want their year to end without closure from their teachers. Thus, our preschool students received virtual instruction for two short sessions every day to practice language arts and math skills and give them time to socialize and interact with their teacher and peers.”

“It was important to our preschool staff to connect with their students every day during this difficult time,” Bescak explained.

Now that the kids have been back on campus since Aug. 17, the school is making sure they’re kept safe – and engaged.

A number of safety protocols were in placed by the time arrived – the most important being a lowering of the student-teacher ratio for 3-year-olds from 15:2 to 12:2 for from 20:2 to 12:2 for the Pre-K class.

Parents are utilizing St. John Bosco School’s valet carpool service before and after school because visitors are not allowed on campus at this time. 

“We check each student’s temperature as they arrive each morning,” Bescak said. “We also removed all carpets, stuffed animals, and cloth toys from the classrooms.”

Student tables have been physically distanced and plexiglass dividers were placed on top of each table to provide a safe place for students to have mask breaks. 

All preschool students also are “strongly encouraged” to wear a face mask in the classroom and teachers wear masks and face shields when they are not able to social distance.

“Our preschool students have enjoyed learning about germs and how to be safe and have fun interacting with their friends at school,” Bescak said. “They recently learned a song about how to stay healthy. It has become one of their favorite songs.”

The kids also “especially love playing on our preschool playground,” Bescak added. 

“We purchased a fogger to spray our jungle gym, bikes and play equipment in between play groups. It is imperative that our preschoolers have at least an hour of time for outside play to interact and develop their gross motor skills.”

Information: sjbosco.org or 480-219-4848.

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