There’s no doubt Newmarket’s children are missing their teachers, schools and friends since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered most places, including schools and playgrounds, and brought about the strict need for social distancing.
And today, actually right now, the teachers and staff at Maple Leaf Public School in Newmarket Heights are putting on a parade from their vehicles to let their students know that they are missed and that their teachers are there for them.
“We’ll be sending our kids positive vibes and wishes and we want to be the adults in their life that are telling them that things are going to be all right,” said Robyn Zimmerman, who has been at Maple Leaf Public School for 12 years as a junior special education resource teacher.
About 30 cars are travelling slowly through the neighbourhood, starting at Penn Avenue. The parade route includes streets in the school’s catchment area where parents have emailed staff to say, “Please don’t miss my street”.
Many of the students are expected to be at the windows of their homes to wave hello to their teachers.
“We’ve got about 30 cars and they are all decorated with balloons and signs and the cars are filled with teachers and their own children and our support staff,” Zimmerman said. “It’s starting to get really, really hard so that’s why this is the right time for it, and we want positive media, we don’t want our kids scared.”
The principal emailed parents to let them know the parade would start today at noon, school staff got the word out on social media.
“We are a school that is not huge, but we’re very close,” Zimmerman said. “We had a tough year as a staff and a school community, we had a student pass away earlier in the year. And it’s super important for us to connect with our kids and let them know we’re with them, we’re here for them, and we haven’t forgotten them.”