Gloria and Trick-or-Treating


Last night Gloria was invited to go trick-or-treating.  There was no doubt in the child’s mind that she would be a cow, a baby cow.  She rode in the stroller with his little sister.  He just knew that was the right costume for Gloria.  He was right.  Not only did Gloria go trick-or-treating, she was part of the family’s Diwali celebration over the weekend.  And, she was welcomed into the family with big arms.

Few moments within the classroom leave me searching for the words that are deep enough to tell the story.  Gloria does that.

Years ago, Erin asked to take Gloria home for the weekend and include her in trick-or-treating.  What a surprise!  This was a first for Gloria.  What happened next was a page-turner for me:  On the following day, Erin’s mother arrived at school very upset.  Her words went something like this:

“Jennie, I just don’t understand people (she stamped her foot).  It was so frustrating last night.  Everyone kept asking me why a witch was dressed up like Minnie Mouse.  I kept telling them she is not a witch.  They didn’t get it.  They just didn’t understand!”

It never occurred to Erin and her mom that Gloria was anything but a person, and a shy person.  Since then, Gloria has been trick-or treating many times.  She has been a dragon, a pumpkin, a lamb… years of different costumes alongside children and their families.

Over the years children have come to embrace Gloria as a true friend.  They see her for what she is, deep down inside, not for how she looks.  She has become a role model because every day children play with her, unconsciously accepting and including.  They care for her.

In years to come, children in my class will be humanitarians, thanks to Gloria.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Diversity, Kindness, Teaching young children, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Gloria and Trick-or-Treating

  1. Norah says:

    Gloria sounds adorable. I’ll have to find out more about her.

  2. Very moving, Jennie, and very uplifting.

  3. So cute. I’m glad Gloria gets to trick or treat. 🙂

  4. Susan @ says:

    The children in your classes are so fortunate to have both you and Gloria in their lives, Jennie. Because of that, I believe their will indeed be many more humanitarians in our world, which we sorely need. – Susan

  5. I’m confused. He rode the thing with his little sister. Who is the he? And the witch/Minnie Mouse thing? What is happening here? It sounds very positive, but I can’t follow some of it.

    • Jennie says:

      My apologies that this was confusing. The ‘he’ is the child who took Gloria home for the weekend and trick-or-treating. Gloria is our classroom puppet who resembles a witch, yet is just a shy and kind person. She was the one dressed up as a cow. Children adore Gloria. Somehow they feel loving and responsible to her. Children often transfer their own feelings to Gloria. It is remarkable.

  6. reocochran says:

    This is a fantastic photograph and shows the fun Gloria can bring to a family of one of your students!
    Her shy and quiet presence is welcome in your classroom year round, connectingso many lives.
    Jennie, maybe each post should be prefaced with a brief sentence or two of how many years ago you brought her to visit? Why you chose her to be a way to bridge differences in personalities, bringing confidence and love into the classroom. It may have helped to have the boy/student in the photo, too. 🙂

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