It’s 9 A.M. and Alana Stuart is swimming, pretend swimming through a computer screen with her three-year-old friends, TLS Hybrid at Home preschool students. Next up, she dons a poofy hat and pours a Pre-K tea party alongside a good friend, Mr. Whiskers. Every day since school reopened in August, Mrs. Stuart is there on the screen, engaging her preschool TLS Hybrid learners with active, educational, energetic fun.

For many during COVID-19, work roles have changed as people pivot to fill the needs of this TLS community. Alana (Mrs. Stuart) worked for a decade in preschool after getting her degree in Education from Midway College. She started at TLS as a long-term substitute teacher in KinderKlasse and has since spent time subbing for quality periods of time in Kindergarten and Prekindergarten. She understands the routine, expectations, and the age and stage of these wonderful children.

Alana says she fell in love with The Lexington School, and it is a very good thing because now she has energetically pivoted to running the preschool Hybrid at Home Program. In the words of Director of Preschool Donna Hutton, “She is knocking it out of the park.” Ms. Hutton explains that with preschool cohorts divided this year, it is logistically impossible for teachers to have a video screen on two sides of the same large room. “Alana is making this experience rich and engaging, and almost every student shows up every day.”

Alana aligns with classroom teachers to assure she helps her remote learning students develop the same skills. She holds morning meetings, calendar time, storytime, share time, weather, fun games, songs, and friendship building moments. She wants every child to feel ready and welcome in their relationships when they are able to return to in-person school.

Erica Mash, TLS alum and current parent, says “Mrs. Stuart is a delight to have as our Zoom classroom teacher.  Her bubbly personality and creativity make school so much fun. We are so grateful to her and The Lexington school for making the virtual learning experience interesting and engaging!”

As with everything COVID-19, finding that silver lining is like hiding and finding Stuart Little under the rainbow houses. It takes a little patience, optimism, and work, but once accomplished, the reveal is so very rewarding.

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