Last week, I wrote about the importance of safe and secure relationships so that students feel comfortable taking responsible risks. Risk is a part of learning, and we try to make sure that students have a stable base from which to leap.
Of course, we care deeply about physical safety as well. Our temporary locations have many benefits, but they also have some challenges. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions that hopefully will put your minds at ease.
- Both 24 Spadina Rd. and 35 Prince Arthur are shared spaces. How do you manage that?
We have chosen buildings with lovely neighbours.
At 35, there is an upstairs tenant with whom we are working closely to minimize disruption to her life. Our neighbour is the Creative Director of an Advertising Agency based in New York City. A Branksome Alumna, she does much of her work from home, and we are doing our best to be respectful of her need for quiet in the hall. Although our main entrances are at the front of the building, we do share the back entrance, and so we are all careful to ensure that it remains locked. Currently, we have no downstairs neighbours, and we suspect we will not during this school year. If someone does move in, they will have a completely separate entrance, and we will connect with them to ensure a positive working relationship.
At 24, we share our space with Alliançe Francaise. They too keep their external doors locked, and have given us our own wing of the building. Students have their own washroom and a separate entrance to a brand new section of the building. We share some common areas, and when we do, we all do our best to be respectful of their need for quiet. They do the same for us.
- Recesses and Physical Education classes are off-site, often in public spaces. How do you manage that?
Our Kindergarten students are dropped off at Taddle Creek Park first thing in the morning. Grades 1-4 use the park for recesses and physical education, as well as extended care. Additionally, the Kindies join us for lunch recess. In all of these situations, we ensure that there are many Mabin staff members available to supervise. We bring walkie talkies with us so that we can connect easily with the building and each other, and we have started wearing orange fluorescent vests to ensure that we can be seen easily by the students, each other, and the community.
Whenever our students are outside, we have at least 2 adults assigned. This is true at 24 Spadina Rd. as well. The adults are all connected by walkie talkie so that we can easily communicate with each other.
- Since neither building has play space, we have to cross the road to get to our play areas?
At 35 Prince Arthur, we have assigned Mabin Staff to help with road crossing at both recess times. The city has a crossing guard on duty at Lowther and Bedford, and we have also applied to have a crossing guard at Prince Arthur and Bedford. In the meantime, our staff is helping during key times — and we have even bought a stop sign. You can help by contacting the City Councillor, Mike Layton, asking him to help us with our application.
At 24 Prince Arthur, there are always 2 teachers with the group to help with the transition to the park. There is also a city Crossing Guard at high traffic times.
This year really is like a year-long field trip. We are grateful to all of you for coming along for the ride. Rest assured that our teachers are extremely conscientious about safety — both physical and emotional. We care deeply about your children, and while there is always some risk, we do our best to minimize unnecessary risk. If you ever have any questions about our safety protocols, please check our website (COVID page) and/or contact me directly by phone or email. I will always get back to you promptly.