Moral of the story: Mom always finds out
Vail Resorts is saving the ski season with their new operational plan!
My family has been Vail Resorts season pass holders for the past few years and the 2020-21 season has caused us to press pause on committing with all of the uncertainty with COVID-19.
However, Vail Resorts just announced their winter operation plans and opening dates at all of their resorts (including their Colorado resorts Crested Butte, Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge).
They’re focused on three things: the safety of their guests, employees and communities; having a successful season start to finish; and prioritizing their pass holders.
A few highlights:
- Guests will be required to wear face coverings to get on the mountain and in all parts of resort operations, including in lift lines and riding in lifts and gondolas.
- To maintain physical distancing on their chairlifts and gondolas, they will only be seating related parties (guests skiing or riding together) or: two singles on opposite sides of a four-person lift; two singles or two doubles on opposite sides of a six-person lift; or two singles on opposite sides of their larger gondola cabins.
- Mountain access will be managed through a reservation system and limiting lift ticket sales in order to prioritize their pass holders. For the vast majority of days, they will be able to accommodate everyone who wants to visit – but this helps them ensure they can keep everyone safe no matter when they come.
- Their Epic Day Pass is a great alternative for guests who plan to ski or ride just a few days. It receives priority access like our other passes and it offers a discount of up to a 50% discount off of lift tickets.
Full details on the pass holder reservation system can be found here. Pass holders receive:
- Exclusive early season access (lift tickets will not go on sale until Dec. 8)
- Access all season with week-of reservations
- Priority Reservation Days to lock in days for the core season before lift tickets go on sale
- Easy-to-use reservation system
To give guests more time to consider the changes, their Labor Day deadline has been extended to Sept. 17, including the deadline to use pass holder credits from last season. Vail Resorts plans to kick off its North American ski and snowboard season with Keystone opening on Nov. 6, weather permitting. Scheduled opening dates for each of its resorts can be found here.
Contest: This Bestselling Kids Game is a delight for the entire family
If there’s anything I’ve needed during the stress of COVID, it’s less adult responsibility and more silliness.
Kids Against Maturity came into my life at the perfect time.
This hilarious, award-winning game (voted 2020 Game of the Year by Creative Child Magazine) is both naughty and nice with great portable entertainment for family gatherings, travel and sleepovers for 3-10 players.
The suggested age is 8+; my kids are 14 and 16. My recommendation would be for ages 8-13 but we still had a lot of laughs playing it with an abundance of age-appropriate toilet humor for kids and witty layered innuendos for parents.
If you’ve played Apples to Apples, the premise of this game is very simple: All you need is to ‘be the worst to be the best.’ Each player gets 10 white answer cards and takes turns asking the blue question cards. Everyone answers each question with their funniest white card choice and places it face down. The question reader chooses what they think is the funniest answer, and the player who placed down that card wins the hand. The player with the highest number of most amusing responses wins the game.
One game set includes 500 cards – a mix of blue question and white answer cards – one rules card, and a compact box to store it all. Expansion packs are also available.
Our family played Kids Against Maturity the night before we went back to school. I dominated most of the game, boasting that I WAS THE BEST OF THE WORST.
Hey, you take whatever victories you can in my competitive family.
And the card that finally sealed my championship? “Wolfman’s Nards.”
It doesn’t get any sillier than that, folks.
Kids Against Maturity retails for $29.99 and is available for purchase at kidsagainstmaturity.com or Amazon.
Mile High Mamas is giving away Kids Against Maturity so you, too can be the best at being the worst! You may enter as many as five times below.
Ski season is ON at Vail Resorts for 2020-21!
With so much uncertainty in the world due to COVID, many of us have been bracing ourselves for disappointment after disappointment.
The good news, my Snowmamas, is Ski Season 2020-21 has not been canceled!
Kudos to Vail Resorts for methodically and carefully rolling out a season that may not look like the rest but my gosh, it’s still a season and we can’t wait to visit Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, Crested Butte and Beaver Creek.
Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz released the details of the Vail Resorts 2021-21 winter operating plan today:
As we have all summer, we will be requiring guests to wear face coverings in every part of our operations, which includes loading and riding in chairlifts and gondolas; when inside all buildings; and during all ski and snowboard lessons. No one will be permitted on the mountain without a face covering. We will also strongly recommend that guests wear face coverings in all indoor and outdoor public spaces throughout our resort towns and will continue to encourage our communities to make this a requirement. Being safe and successful this season will require everyone’s cooperation and we believe face coverings are foundational to make that possible.
Physical Distancing on Chairlifts and Gondolas
To maintain physical distancing on our chairlifts and gondolas, we will only be seating related parties (guests skiing or riding together) or: two singles on opposite sides of a four-person lift; two singles or two doubles on opposite sides of a six-person lift; or two singles on opposite sides of our larger gondola cabins.
Riding a chairlift is an outdoor experience, while moving quickly and taking a relatively short amount of time, and many of you have inquired why we need distancing at all, given the requirement for guests to wear face coverings. While all of this is true, in the current environment, we do not believe it is appropriate to seat guests from different parties directly next to each other, given the dynamics during loading and unloading, during chair stoppages and due the proximity between guests as they ride the lift, speak to each other, speak on the phone, eat and adjust their clothing. We believe a conservative approach is the best way to protect our guests.
Physical Distancing on Our Mountains
As outlined below, we will be promoting physical distancing throughout our operations, including on our chairlifts and gondolas, to help ensure a safe experience. In order to make this a reality and also make it an enjoyable experience, we must manage the number of people on our mountains. The good news is that we operate many of the largest mountain resorts in North America, and for the vast majority of days during the season, we believe everyone who wants to get on our mountains will be able to. However, we are not planning for the majority of days, we are planning for every day of the season. We want to provide assurance to our guests that we will do our very best to minimize crowds at all times – be it a holiday weekend or the unpredictable powder day.
As such, this season we will be implementing a reservation system across each of our mountains. It is possible that at some point in the season, as we evaluate the dynamics of our operations, we may decide that we no longer need the reservation system at certain resorts. However, with so many uncertainties, we believe it is only prudent to have this system in place now. Full details and FAQs on how the reservation system will work can be found here, but this overview should answer some of your questions:
- Pass holders will be required to make a reservation before arriving at the mountain.
- Throughout the season, pass holders will be able to make as many week-of reservations as their pass type and availability allow.
- The early season will be reserved for pass holders only. We will not sell lift tickets until Dec. 8.
- In addition to week-of reservations, we will also be providing pass holders with the opportunity to book up to seven Priority Reservation Days for the core season (Dec. 8-April 4), or as many days of access as they have on their pass if less than seven. The booking window for Priority Reservation Days will open Nov. 6 and will be exclusive to pass holders until Dec. 7.
- As pass holders use their Priority Reservation Days, they can book new ones, maintaining up to seven (or however many days of access are remaining on their pass) at any time. In addition, pass holders can always make as many week-of reservations as they choose (or however many days of access are remaining on their pass).
- Families will be able to book reservations together if they are in the same pass holder account.
- While still subject to change, at this time we do not believe pass holders will need a reservation to access our partner resorts (Telluride, Sun Valley, Snowbasin, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, Hakuba or Rusutsu).
- Lift tickets (including Buddy and SWAF tickets) will go on sale on Dec. 8, with sales limited based on the number of spaces available for any given day after our exclusive pass holder reservation period. This season, lift tickets will be sold with a reservation for a specific resort on a specific date.
- Given the need to manage lift tickets sales, they will only be sold on our websites and through our call centers. No lift tickets will be sold at the ticket window in resort – you may only pickup your pre-purchased lift ticket at our ticket windows. We will be encouraging guests to purchase in advance – though guests can purchase a same day lift ticket online or through our call centers, subject to availability, and then pick up the lift ticket at the ticket window.
We believe this approach will help ensure a safe experience for everyone, while prioritizing access for our pass holders. To make the reservation system as easy to use as possible, pass holders will be able to book reservations to any of our resorts, and for all dates, on EpicPass.com. Booking a reservation will turn on pass access for that day, so there will be no need for pass holders to bring anything but their pass and access the mountain as usual.
To provide additional peace of mind, we have also updated our Epic Coverage program. Epic Coverage is new and free for all pass holders. It will provide refunds:
If pass holders are unable to book their preferred Priority Reservation Days during the initial booking window (Nov. 6-Dec. 7) and if they have not used their pass yet.
If there is a resort closure due to certain events such as COVID-19 during a pass holders’ initial Priority Reservation Days selected by Dec. 7. (There will still be an option for pass holders to choose to cover the core season instead.)
If pass holders experience an eligible personal event that prevents them from using their pass, such as job loss, injury or illness.
We know this reservation system is a change to our normal approach and we want to give you time to review and understand it. As such, we are extending our Labor Day deadline to Sept. 17 for our Buddy/SWAF benefits and utilization of all pass credits. If you purchased a 2020-21 pass product prior to Aug. 27 and no longer want to move forward with your pass, we will provide you a refund of the amount paid if your request is made by Sept. 17 through our call center or an online form that will be available by Sept. 1.
Let’s get this party started!
How to Help Kids Handle Disappointment
For two months our kids have weathered a steady stream of disappointments, as one much-anticipated thing after another has been canceled. With the coronavirus restrictions ongoing, the coming summer (not to mention school in the fall) is also likely to look very different than what children have come to expect. And it’s not only kids who are struggling. We’re all facing disappointments, and all weary of having to tell kids for the umpteenth time that we don’t know when things will return to normal, or anything close to it.
This week on childmind.org they discussed ways of helping children build healthy resilience to setbacks and learn to tolerate the uncertainty that stretches ahead of us. It starts by really listening to what they’re feeling — even though you know you can’t fix it. And with that in mind we also offer tips on ways to ask kids how they’re doing without getting that dreaded one-word brush-off: “Fine.”
How to Help Kids Handle Disappointment
Some kids need help learning to control big or painful emotions.
Arapahoe Basin’s aerial course is roping in a new way to fly down the mountain
Do you want a high-flying adventure?
Arapahoe Basin’s aerial adventure park is nestled against the scenic backdrop of the Continental Divide and naturally integrated in an old-growth forest of Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir. Come play in the forest on 70 challenge elements across 56 trees.
The park is an exciting outing for families and friends (ages 4 and up) that will test balance and physical and mental strength.
The main courses take you on a self-guided tour high up in the trees. You will be trained on how to use your safety equipment, then set free to enjoy this experience at your own pace. Elements span the distance between tree platforms, offering opportunities to climb, walk, swing and zip through the forest.
The main park courses are laid out by degree of difficulty with two introductory yellow, two novice green, and one intermediate blue course. All courses include ladders, balancing features, traveling between the trees above the forest floor, and several include ziplines and jumps.
For summer 2020, the aerial adventure park is ONLY available Thursday-Sunday by online reservation. Go to arapahoebasin.com/summer-aerial-adventure/ for more information on pricing and dates.
Deals: Hello Kitty Truck, ThriftCon and More
Consignment Sales. Once again, MileHighMamas is proud to bring you a comprehensive list of consignment sales for great kids clothes finds! Check out our list here. This weekend you can visit the Just Between Friends of Longmont sale on Thurs (Aug 20).-Sat. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. (Sat. 50% off); Sun. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (75% off) at the Boulder County Fairgrounds.
Hello Kitty Truck. The Hello Kitty Truck will be heading to Park Meadows on Saturday, August 29. Stop by between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to pick up some really cute merchandise and treats!
ThriftCon. Many conventions are not happening this year – but this is one that you can’t miss, ThriftCon will be at the National Western Complex on Sunday, August 30. ThriftCon is the nation’s premier vintage clothing convention with 100+ vendors as well as multiple activations and installations celebrating vintage and retro culture. PLUS clothing donation drive benefitting The Denver Rescue Mission Bring 5 or more pieces of clothing to donate and receive a free tote bag (while supplies last)..
Noodles & Company. Enjoying the noodles you love from the comfort of your home just got easier, thanks to unlimited free delivery for new Rewards members at Noodles & Company. Beginning Thursday, August 6, if you are a new Rewards member, you will receive unlimited free delivery for 30 days, just by signing up. Order quickly and easily with the click of a button at Noodles.com/order or the Noodles Rewards app. Plus, existing Rewards members will also have the opportunity to enjoy free delivery, which they can select as a 350-point option in the Rewards store.
Sticky Fingers Cooking. Sticky Fingers Cooking (Sticky Fingers) comprehensive culinary education programs for children ages 4 through 18 years old, is now offering multiple 60-minute free weekly classes through August. For more information and to sign up, click here. Sticky Fingers is also offering online anytime enrichment courses and complimentary course spots for students who qualify. To apply for sponsored courses, please click here.
Dairy Block Final Friday Art Walk. On Friday, August 28 the Dairy Block will host Little Legends featuring the art of amazingly talented kids (aged 7 to 17) who have all designed their own mini basketball backboards. The Art Walk will feature demonstrations, food and drink specials and an awesome DJ! They will also be taking art supplies donations for a Denver school. When you show your ticket (register here), you will also get an craft to go pack.
Aspen Grove Concerts on Thursday Nights. Aspen Grove has been having live music outside in the street between Panera Bread and Ted’s Montana Grill on Thursday nights from 6-8 p.m. The last band, Royal Street Ramblers plays this Thursday, August 27. Remember to maintain space so we can all enjoy!
Chipotle Game. Sports are officially back and fans can still be a part of the action from home. Every Monday through September 28, Chipotle is hosting Free Delivery Monday Matchup, a new sports predictor challenge where Rewards members can use the entrée naming mechanism on the Chipotle app and Chipotle.com to predict the score of the night’s featured sporting event for a chance to win free burritos for a year. Each week Chipotle will select the featured event (American football, baseball, men and women’s basketball and hockey) and 10 burrito lovers who correctly predict the final scores will win free burritos for a year.
Vail Resorts. While resorts are scrambling to see what the 2020-21 ski season will look like in the days of COVID-19, Vail Resorts is pulling all the stops to lure skiers to the slopes of their Colorado resorts: Vail, Beaver Creek, Crested Butte, Keystone and Breckenridge. Check-out all their great Epic Mountain Rewards including 20% off food and beverage, lodging, ski school, rentals, mountain activities and more. And, of course, Epic SchoolKids is a free program for kindergarten through fifth graders that provides four days of skiing and riding at each of their resorts.
Colorado Ski Country 5th and 6th Grade Passport. I know summer is still in full swing – and families are still trying to figure out what the school year will look like. But, Colorado Ski Country is looking forward to another year of fun skiing (which is practically a socially distanced sport, right?). The pass is good for free skiing (and a beginner lesson!) at the Colorado Ski Country 22 member resorts. The deal is free to 5th Graders and a minimal price for 6th graders! For details and to apply visit: https://www.
Copper Mountain. Copper Mountain is one of my favorite resorts within a day’s drive of Denver. They usually have great deals on four-packs (with the 5th day free) when you purchased the pass at events. BUT, this year, you can score that deal now and online! Just $299 for five days of skiing (making that just about $60 per day)!
Christy Sports Powder Daze. One of the big sales of great ski deals is normally only in person in at Christy Sports. This year, you can find many of those deals online! https://store.christysports.
Crested Butte’s Mountain Paradise for Families
At the crest of the hill, we emerge from the trees into a sloping green meadow thick with yellow toadflax; across the valley, a ring of grey mountain peaks rises out of the lush green forest. I have a smile glued to my face, and, consequently, a layer of dust caked to my teeth but who can blame me for my permagrin? I’m in Crested Butte and the Wildflower Capital of Colorado is in full bloom as my family bombs down the Lupine Trail with our guide Andy from Colorado Backcountry Guide Service.
It had been three years since my last visit to Crested Butte, my favorite mountain town in Colorado. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then mine was ready to leap from my chest as our family pulled into the valley. Everything was just as I remembered: The quirky, multi-hued National Historic District with burgeoning flowers spilling from the hanging baskets and the outer-world beauty of Red Lady (Mount Emmons).
We dove in head-first, climbing Mount Crested Butte, exploring Gothic Valley’s backcountry and strolling Elk Avenue, indulging in old favorites (Secret Stash’s “Asher’s Pie” BBQ and chipotle chicken pizza) while discovering new ones (Tin Cup Pastry Co’s honey lavender ice cream, cornish pasties and lawn games).
Hiking Mount Crested Butte
Snodgrass Mountain. Judd Falls. Tony’s Trail. I have hiked several popular trails in the area but somehow one of the most iconic, Mount Crested Butte, always escaped me. The centerpiece of the valley, this 12,162-foot peak is a steep, rewarding trek that can be hiked from the base for free or, if you’re super smart like us, you can ride the Silver Queen Express Lift which drops you off at 11,340 feet.
The difficulty of getting to a destination heightens its value for me and you’d better believe you still have to earn this one. From the top of the chairlift, the remaining mile starts out moderately enough with a curated path but once we passed treeline, my legs and lungs started protesting from the steep pitch and altitude. We climbed through distinct alpine ecosystems before scrambling up a boulder field to the summit. Red-faced and sweaty, we proudly posed by the trail marker sign, taking a 360-degree video of the expanse of the jagged peaks in the Gunnison National Forest. Whetstone (12,527 feet). Carbon (12,088 feet). Richmond (12,501 feet). Augusta (12,599 feet). Gothic (12,631 feet). Belleview (13,233). There is a sense of uninhibited joy that inevitably comes from a 12,000-foot-high rooftop and we were flying high.
Driving Gothic Valley
One of the nation’s most renowned high-altitude field stations, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, is in Gothic, just 4 miles from Crested Butte. During a previous visit, my kids spent a morning at their Nature Camp with a curriculum that delves deep into the surrounding ecosystems. Gothic Valley’s backcountry is not to be missed and mountain bikers populate Gothic Road in their pilgrimage to their famous Mecca: Trail 401. The main drag connects to Aspen via Schofield Pass, a precarious four-wheel-drive road.
One afternoon, we followed that dirt road for several miles until we encountered a field of wildflowers and took hundreds of postcard-worthy pictures. Stubborn snowfields produced a cascade of waterfalls, a breeze stroked the velvet greenery and I could have sworn we’d been transplanted in the Emerald City…but no deception here. This is one of the most beautiful drives in Colorado.
Mountain Biking the Lupine Trail
My husband, son and I love mountain biking; my daughter Hadley loves avoiding mountain biking. So, when we connected with Andy Shabo from Colorado Backcountry, we had a tall order: improve the skills for three of us and make a convert out of the fourth.
Fortunately, Andy, a BetterRide Certified Coach with over a decade of coaching experience delivered. Not only does he know bikes (he owned a bike shop for several years) but he knows pretty much everything there is to know about riding them. He helped develop the curriculum for the Backcountry Bike Academy and trains everyone from never-evers to the expert rider.
The Gunnison Valley has 750 miles of mountain biking and is renowned as one of the birthplaces of mountain biking. We started with some drills in the resort’s parking lot that focused on our body and hand positions. Slowly, with each drill, I could see Hadley gaining confidence while the rest of us course-corrected our bad habits through Andy’s meticulously crafted skills drills and progressions.
We left the resort after about 45 minutes, following the paved recreational bike path down the mountain before climbing back up through the Saddle Ridge subdivision to connect with the Lupine Trail on the north side of the Slate River. If you’re looking for the perfect introductory ride, this intermediate trail is a perfect choice. We plunged into the late-summer forest, my vision crowded with lupine, mule ears and dwarf larkspur. We wound through aspen groves, those skinny white candles prepping to burst into yellow flames in just a few weeks. Each new hill we climbed afforded us an expanded vision of the Paradise Divide.
The speed of our ascent was rapid as I leaned backward to counter the strain of gravity. Wanting to showcase Hadley’s new skills, I hopped up my bike to film her bombing down the trail and as she passed me, I caught a glimpse of Jamie through my lens: he was up…then down…then back up again.
“Did you just wipe-out..and pop back up, like, one second later?”
“Noooo,” he vehemently protested but I have the photographic evidence to prove it. However, it does pose the philosophical question: if a man falls in the forest but no one sees it, did it ever really happen?
Once at the bottom, we crossed Gunsight Bridge past picnicking families playing in the Slate River and connected to the Lower Loop, a popular, easy trail that meanders along the river while passing cobalt-blue Peanut Lake and the Gronk, a large cement structure from historic mining days, before safely delivering our team of exhausted yet happy riders back to town.
A Date Night to Remember
One night, Jamie and I kicked the kids to the curb (literally) and aimlessly drove down Slate River Road until we found a far-flung bridge to our own Terabithia that wound through a canopy of pine and tall grasses. We balanced on slippery rocks that had been conveniently placed over a gushing stream, the air so cool and fresh I could drink it.
I’m generally a pretty cheap date but that night, I was reminded that sometimes the best destination is no destination at all.
And in Crested Butte, all roads lead to somewhere.
Crested Butte is fantastic whatever season you visit and fall is one of their best-kept secrets. The resort community has gone above-and-beyond to ensure COVID precautions are in place and this is the perfect fall getaway. Don’t miss:
- Best Family-friendly Biking Trails Near Crested Butte-insider tips for where to mountain bike with kids
- A local’s guide to Gunnison’s Magical Summers Part 1—from mountain and road biking to hiking to water fun.
- A Local’s Guide to Gunnison’s Magical Summers Part II–including family activities like the rodeo, history museum, and where to find the best restaurants and drinks in Gunnison.
The Lodge at Mountaineer Square offers luxurious king rooms to four-bedroom accommodations located in the heart of the base area, just steps from the lift. Guests can expect knowledgeable concierge staff, a heated indoor/outdoor swimming pool, outdoor hot tub, sauna, fitness center and underground parking. Experience onsite shopping, dining and entertainment year-round at this premier lodging destination which is one of our favorites.
Tantrums, Hyperactivity, and Oversensitivity: All Point to a Moro Reflex
I see an increasing number of children who struggle to regulate their emotions, are hyper(or sometimes hypo) sensitive to lights, noises and touch, and who cannot sit still or regulate their energy levels properly. These symptoms are often associated with developmental delays such as Autism and ADHD or sometimes dismissed as normal childhood behavior (especially in boys). However, in my experience these symptoms often point to a Moro reflex, (yes, even in children who have been diagnosed with Autism or ADHD).
My name is Emily, I am a Neuro-Developmental Delay therapist and I specialize in working with children who have developmental delays. I regularly see children who struggle with emotions, sensory imbalances, energy regulation, academic performance and more. In order to understand how these symptoms connect to a reflex, we have to look at early brain development:
Babies are born with a set of reflexes called primitive (or infant) reflexes that help them to survive outside the womb. These reflexes should disappear within the first year and are eventually replaced with mature adult reflexes.
One primitive reflex is called the Moro or infant startle reflex. It is the baby’s fight-or-flight response. It is extremely sensitive and strong. It should disappear within the first few months after birth and be replaced with a mature adult startle reflex. For many children, this process gets interrupted and their brain holds on to the Moro reflex.
Children with a retained Moro reflex are consistently put in a state of heightened arousal. They live in a world that is too loud, too bright and too busy for them and their bodies respond to these stressors in over-reactive way. This immature fight-or-flight response can lead to all sorts of problems as children get older.
Symptoms of a Retained Moro Reflex:
- Extreme fears
- Emotional immaturity
- Extreme emotional sensitivity
- Sensory imbalances (both hyper and hyposensitivity to noises, lights, and touch)
- Controlling behaviors
- Difficulty understanding social cues
- Poor focus and attention
- Difficulty ignoring visual information
- Low self-esteem
- Motion sickness
- Lowered immunity
I own a practice called Early Roots where I work with children who have immature reflexes and other delays in their nervous system. I work with parents to develop an individualized program of exercises that target these reflexes (along with several other brain and body systems) to get kids back on track. Most of the program is done at home with the parents. I figure out what each child needs and show parents what they can do with their children at home to work through these issues. This enables kids to receive individualized and consistent treatment without costing a fortune.
Children with a retained Moro reflex need that reflex integrated before they will be able to make big improvements in any of these areas. Once that reflex disappears properly, their brains and bodies are able to begin functioning the way they should. This leads to huge, lasting improvements.
Developmental delays such as ADHD, Autism, learning disabilities, and sensory processing problems are becoming more and more common. Parents are progressively searching for satisfactory answers and alternative treatments for their children. Many struggle to find explanations and effective treatments that do not involve long-term medications. If you are concerned about your child or want to learn more about reflexes and developmental delays, then visit my website at www.earlyrootstherapy.com.
In partnership at Mile High Mamas.
I’m an occupational therapist. Here’s why students should be learning outdoors this fall.
As a long-time elementary school occupational therapist and as a parent, I know firsthand the benefits of free movement on children’s physical and emotional well-being. Making the time and finding the space for physical activity improves physical health, attention, self-regulation, mood, and is, you know, fun (because children should also get to have fun)!
As we grapple with reopening schools in the middle of an unprecedented public health crisis, New York City is proposing children and staff return to in-person learning with enormous restrictions inside school buildings. These restrictions are about maintaining physical distance from peers and following safety measures, such as wearing face coverings, washing hands, and avoiding shared materials. These physical restrictions create brand new social restrictions — and we cannot yet measure the psychological impact of children being kept six feet apart, interacting with fewer friends, and seeing only half of the faces of those they do see. On the days children are learning remotely, they face another set of restrictions brought on by hours of screens and video conferencing.
The concept of “least restrictive environment” is a part of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, and it means that children who receive special education should learn alongside peers who are in general education to the “maximum extent appropriate.” How can we use the idea of “least restrictive environments” to consider what all students will need from their schools this fall? How can we make sure that students’ surroundings won’t limit their education, but enhance it?
-Lisa Raymond-Tolan, Chalkbeat Colorado