As a country, we have been mourning the tragedy that occurred this week in Texas, involving a shooter at an elementary school. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families directly impacted by this heartbreaking situation, and to the students, staff, and families in the Uvalde School District.
Despite being miles away from us, tragedies such as this cause us to take a moment to reflect on our own students, families, teachers and support staff. We’ve always said, our primary goal is and will always be the safety of the children in our care, as well as our teachers and support staff. We want to take a moment to let you know what that safety looks like.
- Our emergency preparedness plans were developed within the framework of the Department of Human Services of Minnesota as well as childcare emergency action plan guidance from FEMA (Department of Homeland Security). Our teachers are trained in our emergency plan and procedures upon hire and annually, in addition to monthly before, during and after drills. Monthly, school wide drills are conducted with sensitivity to the developmental stage of the age group that we serve. We communicate to the children that we practice these drills so that we can be safe, and also emphasize our community workers who also help keep us safe, like firefighters, police and paramedics. We want children to be reassured that our teachers are there to keep them safe.
- Our facilities are secured facilities require approved entry. Access doors are never left unlocked, the exception being the door that grants access to the playground, which is unlocked for recess, then locked again when the children reenter the building.
- We intentionally build relationships with our local first responders and maintain consistent communication to ensure the collective safety of our communities.
- We constantly seek to innovate and collaborate. We continually review and revise our polices and procedures to ensure the safety and well-being of our Sonnet family. Our teams will be re-reviewing our lock down procedures and protocol in the coming weeks. Although our leadership team has participated in active shooter trainings, we are again reaching out to local law enforcement and consulting companies to make sure our policies are still enough. We are also exploring companywide training.
Finally, we believe that children are our hope for a better tomorrow, a “promise for all mankind”. (Dr. Maria Montessori.) We have always been passionate about, and taken seriously, the privilege and responsibility of nurturing these little ones and providing them a safe environment for their wings of independence to take flight, and their roots of respect and responsibility to grow deep. Our classrooms offer a healthy, supportive, home-like environment and a Montessori philosophy that encourages peaceful classrooms and global citizenship. From our youngest age groups, respect for others is modeled and fostered, in addition to an appreciation of people from all different backgrounds and cultures. We have many opportunities to practice grace and courtesy lessons, which are very important to the social-emotional development of the child, and teachers intentionally model and demonstrate conflict resolution and respectful dialogue. Many of our classrooms have a “peace table” or “peace nook”, where children can try different techniques to self-regulate, receive support from a teacher, or can sit with a friend to resolve a conflict.
The ages of zero to five are the most formative of a child’s development, and we are honored that you have chosen Sonnet to partner with you through those years.
Jessica Johnsen, CEO & Kylie Schrader, COO
And the Sonnet Leadership Team
Resources for Counseling and Grief Support:
Essentia Health- Grief Support
Crisis Text Line
American Counseling Association: Gun Violence Trauma Resources
Resources for Supporting Children after a Traumatic Event:
PBS: Helping Kids Navigate Scary News Stories
Talking to your Children about Violence
Helping Children Cope after a Traumatic Event
Managing Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting
Other Family or Developmental Resources:
Your local school district may also be able to provide support