When news of COVID-19 started to show up in the news, Little Kitchen Founder, Felicity Curin’s reaction was similar to many; it’s just a flu, people are overreacting, this is ridiculous. But as the days went on, the founder of Little Kitchen Academy’s thoughts faded into questions, concerns, and fleeting moments of panic.
Little Kitchen Academy only opened a year ago and has been growing in capacity every season since then. Throughout the year, kids participate in weekly classes over the course of 3-5 weeks. During Spring Break, however, they go daily for a week, providing a super experience and educational activity to break up the day. Little Kitchen’s school break sessions always fill up as soon as registration opens, as they’re a great opportunity for students who are too busy during the school semester and provide a reprieve to parents who are continuing to work or need time to run errands.
Little Kitchen Academy’s first day of Spring Break sessions was March 16th—just as COVID-19 hit BC. Yikes. As Felicity watched the excited students and grateful parents pile in and prepare for their classes, she started to worry. Were they going to be able to keep their students and instructors as safe as they possibly could?
Naturally clean and safe
Felicity knew that their Montessori-inspired, independence-promoting curriculum naturally lends to physical distancing while their students are working, so that was good. And they knew their environment’s capacity was quadruple what it needed to be to maintain 2M of physical distancing even when full with 10 students, so that was great. They also have always taught proper hand-washing before students work begins, and they meticulously clean and sanitize their workstations in between classes, so they were already following all of the safety precautions.
But there was so much that they simply didn’t know.
After speaking with parents and instructors, Felicity felt really torn. But took a deep breath and followed her gut. They closed the Academy right away and agreed not to reopen until they had a better plan in place.
They knew that there was a large number of their families that needed child care, that needed a place outside of their home where they could feel safe, socialize, and learn. They also were considering the 14 instructors that weren’t working. And the suppliers that they weren’t ordering from. The effects of COVID-19 were everywhere.
Little Kitchen Academy couldn’t be prouder of the thought and care that has gone into protecting their community during COVID. In turn, they also made many careful, considerate and responsible changes to ensure they were doing the very best they could and reopened their doors at half capacity in in late May. The changes they added inspired comfort and confidence in parents which enabled them to open at full capacity for Summer, which completely sold out with waitlists for many sessions.
New protocols in place
Parents now drop off their children at the front door, and Little Kitchen Academy students bravely walk in by themselves, where they are warmly greeted by their masked instructors. They respectfully ask every parent if there are any cold or flu symptoms, or exposure to anyone unwell from any of their families. They space out the collecting of ingredients to ensure great physical distancing. And they take this opportunity to remind their students how they can protect themselves – by asking them to wash their hands constantly during their 3-hour work cycle. They have also taken a temporary break from gathering around their beautiful ChopValue community table and are now dining independently at their workstations, which are then sanitized like crazy before the next class comes in!
Little Kitchen Academy just opened registration for Fall on August 6th. With the uncertainty of schooling this fall, they have already seen a big increase in Fall registrations compared to last year, reinforcing the high demand among parents for safe, in-person learning alternatives for children.
We believe that during these crazy, uncertain times our children need to feel safe in environments other than their home,” says Felicity. We want LKA to be one of those places. We are happy to empower our students to understand how to protect themselves, from the inside out and to continue on our mission of changing lives from scratch.
School delayed, or back in class, or back in shifts – we still don’t really know. For those families needing a safe, consistent environment for their children to continuing learning, to socialize, and to have a place of their own, Little Kitchen is here for you! They have classes once a week throughout the fall, during school hours for the youngest, and after school hours for the pre-teens and weekend nights for the teens.
This post is sponsored by Little Kitchen Academy
Encouraging children and teenagers to take a mindful and sustainable approach to food preparation is the driving force behind Little Kitchen Academy. We are changing lives from scratch and people are taking notice! www.LittleKitchenAcademy.com