This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This interview was conducted on April 20, 2021 remotely via Zoom. At the time of this interview, Anna Siegal was the Executive Director of Red Hook Playgroup, a progressive, community-based early education school for children between the ages of 2 and 5, based in Red Hook, NYC. In this interview, Anna talked about how relatively stable the school year has been for her Red Hook Playgroup. She instituted a school-wide mask requirement even though it wasn't state or city-sanctioned, which has worked well for them. Her school community has been healthy throughout the school year, and all teachers were willing to be vaccinated right away. She reflected about the nature of trust during a year when she had to work harder than ever and make (and stand by) incredibly tough decisions. She lamented how little she's been able to focus on the craft of teaching and use her expertise in child development, having instead to tackle tasks that would have been better managed by policy makers and epidemiologists. Anna concluded by describing a couple "first" post-vaccine personal experiences a year into the pandemic: seeing her parents again for the first time indoors and going to a movie.
Maddy Russell-Shapiro is a podcast producer based in the Bay Area and New York City. Previously, she worked with several California nonprofits focused on expanding access to higher education, including Mission Graduates in San Francisco and Mount Tamalpais College at San Quentin State Prison. She attended Oral History Winter School in 2017 and hosts a narrative nonfiction podcast about tenacity titled Relentless.
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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.