Minton opens ‘Mommy’s School of Quarantine Academy’

Published 10:08 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2020

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Pike County High School science teacher Heather Powell Minton has unofficially opened Mommy’s School of Quarantine Academy, student population, one.

Minton said she opened the Quarantine Academy almost immediately after her three-year-old’s nursery school at First United Methodist Church was closed due to COVID-19.

“I knew Conners was going to need structure during the time school was closed,” Minton said. “He is a very active, energetic child and he is all boy. He needed planned activities. I knew he would soon be bored with TV and, without something constructive to fill his day, he would be a nightmare for the teacher when he did go back to school.”

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So being the mother and teacher that she is, Minton planned the structure her son needed, beginning with turning off the TV. A little TV is good but only a little and too much is not good by any account. So Minton turned off the TV and on the structure.

“Each morning, we have breakfast; then we have prayer and read a Bible story,” Minton said. “Then, we have lessons — letters, colors shapes, This week, our letters were K and L  and we talked about kindness and love and what they mean and how they are shown.”

To put those two words into action, Minton baked cookies and Conners decorated them with sprinkles and they took the treats to his nursery school friends.

“We didn’t go inside; we waited outside and his friends stood at the door and they waved to each other,” Minton said. “They enjoyed seeing each other and that day was special for Conners and for his friends.”

Not only are mental and social skills important, so is physical activity.

“There is a video that Conners likes,” his mom said. “He does the kangaroo hop and the money dance. It’s silly but children like silly things and it improves their large motor skills. To improve his small motor skills, he likes to move puff balls with a clothes pin. We have a lot of different buttons that are fun for moving  and for learning shapes and colors. And, we play Candyland  and other games that teach colors and counting.”

Minton sometimes takes a walk on the wild side with Conners and his young brother who is not even one yet. She lets them paint.

“It’s edible paint,” Minton said, laughing. “It has to be because Payson puts the paint in his mouth.”

The school mother/teacher mixes food coloring with good-tasting things like vanilla pudding and smears it on edibles like apples. White Conners is busy creating art, his little brother is enjoying an afternoon snack.

Minton, laughingly, said planning classes for a three-year-old at Mommy’s School of Quarantine Academy is labor intensive. But, then, day-to-day planning is what she does as a teacher.  “Conners needs structure and it helps me, too. Structure gets me through the days feeling that we have done something constructive,” she said. “And, we have a good time at the Quarantine Academy — Conners and me.”

And, if Minton has any doubts, they are quickly removed when her three-year-old son asks on Saturday, “Mommy, did you forget school today?’