My school community has learned and practiced resilience this past year, and it was tested again this week. On Sunday, I received a call that there was a landslide on the bank immediately behind our school, behind the fence, but adjacent to our school yard, blacktop, and outdoor garden.
When I arrived at the school, I couldn't believe what I saw. Trees piled like toothpicks, massive amounts of soil pulled away from the bank, sand, pebbles, and rocks continuing to trickle and drop down. There was now a huge gap behind a large section of our school, where trees, bushes, and shrubs, once bordered our school grounds.
Gone was the eagle's nest that was perched high in a poplar tree, gone were the trees that blocked the highway and noises from the city centre, gone was the natural beauty of plants, shrubs, and trees.🌳
Our school's playground, blacktop, and garden are now sitting behind temporary fencing, as we wait to hear what the next steps are. I am grateful for the quick response of our School District, City, Fire Department, and for the incredible resilience of our staff and students. They were sad to see the trees were gone (one young student asked, "Mrs. Gauthier, why are they cutting down the trees?") and another younger student summed it all up, "First COVID, now a landslide. What is next? No sun?"
Due to COVID, we have each class cohort assigned to one area of the playground, so I had to put new playground locations and plans into effect. The students embraced the cross-country running club, the skipping ropes, the new location of the mud kitchen, the chalk, and hopscotch. They continue to be kids. There is laughter and fun.
Staff showed their resilience. They helped tape off the playground, added extra supervision, and answered the students' questions in the morning, as we had to give them new playground spots. Teachers were flexible and allowed me to do an impromptu virtual assembly to explain the situation to our students, and practice our new emergency evacuation locations too.
My school community is resilient. There are more changes to come, but we will overcome the unexpected. Together. ❤