Campus News

Nueva’s Spring Break Classes Beat Boredom
Antonia Ehlers, director of communications

This year’s spring break presented unusual challenges for families across the nation and around the world, as parents simultaneously juggled working from home and homeschooling their children. The Nueva community hit the reset button as well, and Director of Student Outreach Jim Morrison quickly put a plan in place to offer a first-ever spring break program.

The exciting and fun-filled week offered a variety of popular classes, including Critter Felting and Improv Storytelling for PreK–2 students; Creative Writing, Word Games, and Activism for students in third and fourth grades; and Character Acting and Chess Strategy for fifth and sixth graders. Middle schoolers made banana bread and parfaits in their Together in the Kitchen class.

“We had more than 45 classes a day,” Jim noted. “The spring break teaching team included our regular teachers, staff members, enrichment partners, and members of the seventh-grade drama team. When the coronavirus broke, Diane sensed a need to keep kids engaged during spring break. She wanted to provide a way for parents to be able to get their work done from home.”

The program, which came together quickly, had more than 350 students from PreK through eighth grade enrolled in the week-long classes.  

“I think it was a great success,” Jim said. “We wanted to help keep our students engaged, and it was great to see the variety of classes—from puppetry to felting to making music. I was excited to be able to connect people with each other. We made sure to spread out the classes so that parents had a few hours to themselves in the morning and afternoon. Some of the classes had large waitlists, so we worked with teachers to add classes each day in the morning and afternoon. We wanted to do our best to make everybody happy and allow our students to have their interests met. We hope to offer a similar program in June during Nueva Work Week.”

Since children and teens weren’t able to hang out with their friends and neighborhood pals during spring break, Nueva parents were thrilled for their children to have exciting options to break up the day. 

“I just want to say thank you for putting together such amazing spring break classes and for allowing PreK to join them,” said parent June Gordon. “They were FANTASTIC—better than I could have ever imagined.”

Parents Ron and Chinhayi Cadet said their son R.J.’s participation in Chess renewed his interest in the game. R.J. is now playing chess at home with his dad and remotely with his classmates.

R.J. also enjoyed Character Acting, which he said was “a blast because it was fun to get my sillies out in an actual class."

The teachers enjoyed teaching innovative classes with a twist, such as Jenny Rosen’s Improv Storytelling class. 

“There were so many characters and there was so much adventure,” she noted. “I had a great week telling stories with our students!”

“It was a great week,” agreed Lower School associate teacher Lizzie Mann. “It was fun to teach classes that were designed to engage.”

“I'm impressed by everyone's Zoom metabolism,” added dance teacher Helen Wicks. “The desire to connect is paramount. Meeting and connecting with new students and old students in new ways is possible!”

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