“Gloria” On The Playground

Gloria is a dear classroom friend.  Well, that’s an understatement.  I have a hard time making my fingers type that she is a puppet, because she is the best thing that ever happened to my classroom.  She is the kind one, the shy one, and the one who is… well, different and not pretty.  She is real.  She is the best friend.  Gloria spends most weekends with children and their families.  From decorating Christmas trees, to attending graduations, going out to dinner… the long list is a testament to Gloria.

This is what happened today:

“Can we bring Gloria outside to play?”

Long pause…

Gloria has never played outside at school.  It hadn’t occurred to me to include her on the playground.  When the question was posed, I thought this was a good idea.  Leave it to children to think outside of the box.  They know Gloria far better than I do.  She’s their best friend.

So, Gloria was brought outside.  At last.  She was busy in the arms of children.  Then, I looked across the playground and saw her on a swing, being pushed by Lexi.  I watched for a long time.  This is what friends do, and Gloria is a friend.

A child on the playground who had never seen Gloria before asked, “Who is that?”  Aaryan replied,

“She’s just a person.”

Just a person.  Yes, she is.  She is you and me.  She has a soul.

Gloria is different, and that is why I wanted her to be part of my classroom many years ago.  If I could help children understand and accept all people, I knew Gloria would be the one to do that.  Oh, she has.  Ten-fold.

Early on, Gloria lived in a picnic basket on a shelf in the classroom.  She came out from time to time at a Morning Meeting.  One day I left her out in a chair, and I watched the children hover and clamor over her, desperate to ask her questions.  They just wanted Gloria to “be”.  She moved from the picnic basket to the couch in the classroom.  That was my first wake-up call.

I have had many wake-up calls since then, including Gloria having sleepovers.  Today was yet another.  I never underestimate the brilliant minds and big hearts of young children.  It makes me want to be a child again.

I’m so glad Gloria is a person.


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 Early Education, Kindness, Teaching young children and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to “Gloria” On The Playground

  1. John Fioravanti says:

    This is a beautiful story, Jennie. I’m glad you shared it with us.

  2. It is really amazing how children will embrace a concept like Gloria. Such a lovely post, Jennie.

  3. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Jennie Fitzkee with another of her entertaining but also enlightening posts from her primary school classroom.. most of us had an imaginary friend growing up but Gloria is so much more..

  4. beetleypete says:

    Loved seeing Gloria on the bike and swings. Such a great idea from the kids to take her outside.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  5. What a wonderful idea! The children really seem to love her! 🙂

  6. lisakunk says:

    This is delightful and so simple it’s sheer genius. It’s so nice to hear positive classroom stories. Thanks.

  7. Darlene says:

    Children can be so inclusive. Why do teenagers and adults lose that?

  8. So glad Gloria got to see the big outside world!
    Such a life that one has…to be envied.

  9. Children have a way of making life beautiful no matter how rainy it gets. Beautiful story I love the sentence; “She has a soul”, and she does. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Reblogged this on The Writers Desk and commented:
    A post to give us all something to think about. Beautiful.

  11. Such fun to see Gloria enjoying herself on the playground! 🙂

  12. Children never fail to fascinate me. They’re practicing their feelings of love and empathy on this little friend before using them in relationships with other children and adults. Fantastic. 🙂 — Suzanne

  13. Oh Jennie I love this. There’s such a simple caring and connection of Lexi swinging with Gloria. God. Thank you for sharing. Hey isn’t the peace quilt event happening soon? Sending much love and Light to that, to you, and to your children. ❤ Love to you – Debbie

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Debbie! If children can be kind and caring to Gloria, they have learned a great life lesson. The quilt event will be on June 29th. I will certainly do a blog post! Best to you!

  14. srbottch says:

    Jennie, you ate a child in a grown-up body. Everyone of us has to have some ONE person at sometime in our life to show the way., the path through all the cloudiness of life. You’re that ONE person in those kids’ lives at this particular moment. There will be others but right now, it’s you. For me, many times it was my father. They will never forget you and the guidance you’re giving.

    • Jennie says:

      I think I really am a child in a grown up body, Steve. And, that certainly helps make a connection with children. Thank you for your very kind words. This year I was invited to four high school graduations of former students. Four! The connections are still there. 😊

  15. Norah says:

    This is gorgeous, Jennie. I love hearing about your children, Gloria, and the wonderful things you do to encourage the development of the whole child. Lucky are the children, and their parents, who are welcomed into your classroom. I love reading your heartwarming posts.

  16. Di says:

    I’m always utterly captivated by what you have to share with us, Jennie. I’m learning alongside these wonderful students of yours…
    Thank you ever so much for you and your beautiful blog 💐💕

  17. ren says:

    How can you be a child again, when the child within you has never left?

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