Friday, January 28, 2011
the way that children teach us
I have a little boy in my class who has Down's Syndrome. Devin is full of affection and laughter. It's been so much fun this year to watch him interact with the rest of the class. It has been pure joy to watch him change them.
Each morning at morning meeting, we do something I call download. We go quickly around the circle and each child says, "Today I feel ________ because _______________." Each morning Devin says, "Happy! P.E.E." But, we don't have P.E. every day; only on Fridays. Every Friday morning without fail, the class cheers when he says, "Happy! P.E.E."
This morning at the end of morning meeting Devin stood up and went walking around, bending down and giving hugs to the kids sitting circled up on the floor. Each child in my class, with no prompting from anyone, returned his hug with real affection. We're talking eight year old boys, you know.
When the love fest was over, I took a minute to tell the class that we all need attention and affection and sometimes we need an extra dose. I told them that when we need it, it's a good idea to follow Devin's example. I told them that when you need affection, give it. When you need attention, give it. I told them to ask for what they need without embarrassment. I told them to be like Devin.
And then I moved on with our morning. But not the kids.
Instead, they listened to me. They really heard me.
When I turned around to see why they weren't following directions, I saw the whole class standing up and hugging each other.
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