ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -Two kindergarten teachers in Albemarle County are connecting with their students in a way, and at a time, they have never done before.
Karen Garland and Mary Batres both teach at Cale Elementary School. They are still spending part of their day reading books to their kindergarten class, except now they’re not just doing it at bedtime.
“Just to see their little faces start to pop in and log on, it was like, oh there they are, you know? And then to see them get excited to see their friends come on, it was just priceless,” Garland said.
It all started when teachers across Virginia had to suddenly record their lessons to shift their classrooms online to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“And that went really well, but it was one sided: They were seeing us, and we thought, well, what about if we could see them and they could see each other," Garland said.
Now, every Wednesday promptly at 7:30 p.m., children log on with their parents to listen to a bedtime story.
“They show their cat and their stuffed animals and their bedroom, and it’s kind of really neat because it’s a side of these kiddos that we’ve never seen before,” Batres said.
Getting ready for bedtime is not complete without the right evening attire.
“I actually didn’t want to stay in my bike-ride clothes when I’m doing the bedtime story, so I raced upstairs and I got a quick, easy pajama on,” student Ada Worley said.
This is not just for the students and teachers. Parents are benefiting, too.
“It’s just made all the difference. The kids really miss their teachers and their classmates. That connection is really key,” Angela Worley said.
“It’s the only day of the week that we don’t have to argue why she have to go to bed or get ready," Monica Garcia said. "It’s just something very special for her.”
Garland and Batres say they plan to continue reading the bedtime stories this summer, and even a few times each month in the fall.