LOCAL LOOKOUT: Columbia preschool owner helping kids learn from home
COLUMBIA - As schools nationwide are adapting to remote learning, one Columbia preschool owner is doing the same.
Michelle Lally is the owner and director of Learning Star Preschool on West Broadway in Columbia.
To keep her students learning as they are forced to stay home due to the COVID-19, she made activity kits.
"The activity kits had the items in them to do the activities: the stickers, the pipe cleaners, the beads, the goldfish to count how many goldfish and add them up," Lally said.
She said the kits don't just have activities in them, but more personal items as well.
"Also in the kits was a personal note from the teacher to each child about how much they miss them and things they remember about them," she said. "And so it's a way to, I think, stay more connected with them, too."
Getting those kits to students didn't mean the students had to come back to the preschool. Instead, Lally drove them around Columbia to make sure every student at home got one.
"I volunteered to map out all the addresses and deliver them and leave them on their porches so they had special gifts waiting for them," she said.
And when students got those special gifts, Daniel Linder's daughter Ellie couldn't wait to start.
"Day one, yeah absolutely," Linder said. "I mean, she wanted to read the note from the teachers and she wanted to start coloring, and we told her, you know, that's from Miss Michelle."
Linder said he was surprised by how quickly everything came together.
"It was just a total surprise to us," he said. "It was literally the night before we got an email. It's like, by the way, the van's coming out, we're going to deliver all of these to every student."
Linder says it meant a lot to him and his wife, but it meant more to his daughter.
"I think it just means the world to me and my wife, it's just a great thing to do," he said. "And yeah, she misses her a lot and we talk about her a lot. Hopefully one of these days we'll get her back there soon."
Lally said they're planning on starting a YouTube channel so the students can still interact with their teachers, even if they can't meet face to face.