I Like This Hidden Curriculum

Last Friday, I threw a party for a student. She's a sixth grader with Down Syndrome, and she was being rewarded because she did various things (mainly, following directions) to earn her enough marbles to fill her marble jar. She's been working toward this since about November, so it was a BIG deal.

Since it was such a big deal, I made sure I ordered in her favorite pizza, provided drinks and colorful decorations, and borrowed the plastic bowling pins and bowling ball from the P.E department. She was thrilled to invite her many teachers, as well as two friends from her regular ed. sixth grade class. I was eager to have a front row seat to see her interact with her regular ed. peers....

I know that her sixth grade teacher had been saying wonderful things about how accepting and friendly the 25 other students are towards her. I also know that the teacher herself has been a HUGE part of setting up that accepting and friendly classroom atmosphere. She handles situations beautifully in front of the other students when my student does odd things like lick her desk, or give that one boy in her class graphic love notes, or have a bathroom accident in class. This teacher has been WONDERFUL, and I'm so thankful for that.

Back to the two friends at the party (one boy, one girl). I was so incredibly impressed with how they interacted with her. They never condescended or talked down to her. They knew all the right questions to ask her in order to carry on somewhat of a conversation (she's not an eager talker). They smiled and ate and took turns bowling down the hallway with her.

It made my special ed. heart just melt! To think! Irregardless of your view on inclusion and mainstreaming, aside from what good it may or may not be doing for my special ed. kiddo, just think of all the life lessons her regular classmates are learning. Whether they know it or not, because of their sixth grade year with my student, they are going to be better prepared to handle someone who is different. They will know how to interact with people who look different or who act strangely. They are learning patience, acceptance, and kindness.

There are a lot of adults I know who could have used a sixth grade year like that!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amen to that! What a lovely turn of events!
Brenda

Sarah said...

That's awesome! Especially for that age group! Way to go for organizing such a fun event cekebrating her success.

Anonymous said...

I agree! Do you realize that doctors give parents the option of choosing abortion when they (doctors) discover during prenatal testing that their child MAY have downs syndrome...what kind of discrimination evil is that and a horrific slap in the face to all people that have this condition and their parents...

Anonymous said...

That is so cool, Sarah! Especially among 6th graders as that can be such a "cliquey" age!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for continuing to give her what was started last year. It makes me feel good that even though it is difficult for her, she is still having success (how little of an item it may seem to be)

Janet

Anonymous said...

Powerful observations. dad

roller coaster teacher said...

So happy for you! I agree that kids (whatever their learning levels and needs) learn valuable lessons through the inclusion setting.

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