Fletcher Elementary School fourth graders in Diane George’s class learned an important life lesson by visiting teacher, Rebecca McGrath’s, special education classroom. The fourth graders helped create cut-out pumpkins, painted, and played with Mrs. McGrath’s students. Most importantly, they also learned a valuable life lesson about special needs students.
“I had so much fun with the kids,” said fourth grader Molly Lehere. “You can’t understand others who might seem different, unless you spend time with them. It also helps you better understand how someone feels. Just because a person can’t communicate like I do, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to communicate. We learned how to use non-verbal communication, to visit with our new friends.”
The teachers talked about the the idea of a visit between the classrooms. Miss George discussed with her children that all people are not the same. She compared this to a pumpkin patch, and how even in a group of pumpkins, every pumpkin is slightly different. They displayed their pumpkin patch in the hallway, with all the individual pumpkins. Mrs. McGrath also talked with the fourth graders, helping them understand what special needs are, and how they could communicate non-verbally with their fellow students.
“Our classrooms are in close proximity, which gives us the opportunity to see each other frequently. My class came from Rogers Elementary School, and has been welcomed by Miss George’s class. Her class knows my students by name, and greets them with a friendly smile and hello. It has been a great experience for my students. I’ve seen them blossom around their new fourth grade friends,” said Mrs. McGrath.
Miss George’s class has equally benefited from this. “It is the best experience I could give my children, ” said Miss George. “Mrs. McGrath and I talked about, and modeled ways to communicate with our new friends. It is a great way to build bridges in the school, and let the older kids take the younger kids under their wings. The visit was child-directed. There was spontaneous interaction among all the children. They experienced, that students with special needs, are no different than they are, in that they want to make new friends. At this time of the year it is nice to count our blessings and be thankful for what we have.”