The question has come from all corners of our school—from faculty, from students, from parents, and from students, again….and again, and again. “Mr. Delinsky, will we still have snow days this year?” The answer is a resounding “yes.” Here at The Peck School, we pledge to still have snow days!
The experience of distance learning has made many schools reconsider their approach to weather-related closures. And I get why. Peck (and all schools, for that matter) has proven to have the tools and technology at the ready to seamlessly transition to at-home learning at the click of an email. It’s easy, it’s effective, and the widespread implementation of at-home learning is the biggest threat to snow days since the advent of the modern-day SUV or a future of heated roads!
But here at Peck, we believe that there are certain experiences in youth that should be preserved. Snow days are one of them.
Growing up in Needham, Massachusetts, a western suburb of Boston, I remember distinctly lying in bed on snowy mornings, anxiously wondering if I’d hear the distinct sound of three blasts of a fog horn, which in the early 1980’s came from the local fire station to spread the news of a snow day. There were no emails or text messages or text alerts to spread the news, but, absent listening to the school closing announcements on the radio or watching for the list on the local news, I was left waiting for a distant, magical three sounds to set the perfect snow day in motion.
Yes, we love school, and I know, especially this year, that our Peck students savor every day of in-person learning, but, to a child, there is nothing like the joy of getting the early morning news that school is closed, curling up back under the covers and sleeping in. There is nothing like the excitement of putting on your snowsuit, hat, scarf, and boots and heading outside to a yard filled with freshly fallen snow to build a snowman, to construct the perfect fort, to sled with glee down a hill, to ready for battle with an array of snowballs, to lie in the snow making snow angels, or, my favorite, to just sit and listen to the perfect quiet of a good snow fall. And nothing beats coming inside after playing in the snow to sit by the fire with a warm cup of hot chocolate, perhaps accompanied by a good book or a classic movie. Yes, a mess of wet clothes, inside-out socks, and drenched gloves are left for the parents to navigate, but that, too, is part of the experience.
Here at Peck, we place a high importance on maintaining the joys of childhood: the joy of recess, the joy of festive dress-down days for the holidays, the joy of tinkering and exploring. We also pride ourselves on fostering lifelong learners, something a snow day can provide a great opportunity for: how to best pack the snow to build the perfect igloo, how long can you keep a snowflake on your tongue before it melts, or how to construct the best structure to keep your snowman from melting. Our students are curious problem-solvers, and snow days provide a great opportunity for unstructured learning and play.
So will we have snow days? Of course. Could the third or fourth snow day of the season be a virtual learning day? Yes, that sounds about right. But even on those days, I’m sure we’ll leave ample time to bundle up, get outside, and just play.
On Friday morning, a faculty member came by my office to share that snow is in the forecast for next week. I’ve since checked my weather app incessantly. Let the anticipation begin!