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Behind the Scenes: A look inside MECK Pre-K classrooms

The littlest learners have been back in the classroom since early September. Here's how MECK Pre-K teachers are handling health and safety protocols.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — CMS Pre-K students started full-time in-person learning on Monday but some of the littlest learners have already been back in the classroom for more than a month.

RELATED: CMS Pre-K students head back to class Monday

MECK Pre-K, the county-funded pre-kindergarten program, reopened its 40 locations for full in-person learning at the beginning of September. 

WCNC Charlotte got a tour of a classroom to see all of the health and safety protocols in place. They've decreased class sizes, increased cleaning, and students have their temperatures checked every day before they can go to class.

The carpet is a little less crowded for storytime this school year. MECK Pre-K teachers are adjusting to keep the youngest students safe.

“Every child has an individual bucket with their name on it, all of their art supplies are in the bucket,” said Myra Pressley, a teacher at Marizetta Kerry Child Development Center.

MECK Pre-K is funded by the county and run out of individual child development centers around the county. They reopened to every student on September 8, a month and a half before the CMS Pre-K program Bright Beginnings. 

MECK Pre-K leaders said the decision to do all in-person learning was made based on feedback from parents and teachers.

“Looking at a teacher read a book and interacting with each other I think has been very beneficial to them and is definitely important,” said Pressley.

When students arrive at the Marizetta Kerry Child Development Center they have their temperature taken and use hand sanitizer before going to their classroom. Then, they wash their hands to start the day.

Every other cubby is filled because class sizes have been cut in half. The teachers are constantly cleaning up the classroom.

“We clean the tables after each use," Pressley said. "We clean with soapy water come back in and sanitize it, let that sit and air dry. Most of the time when we're doing that, the kids are on the carpet or outside. Every day we sanitize the entire classroom. All the toys are sanitized."

Pressley was nervous to go back to the classroom because she has an underlying health condition. But so far, she says there haven't been any coronavirus cases connected to her class and the kids are adjusting to the new rules.

The hardest part for her, she said, is not being as interactive and hands-on with the students.

“I’m a hugger, so the biggest challenge has been not being able to hug them," Pressley said. "So, I taught them this little hand sign. I just go you, me, hug, that’s my way of hugging them and them hugging me."

To help the families impacted by the pandemic, MECK Pre-K got rid of the income requirements for this school year.

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