Remembering 9/11 and Teaching Goodness

How do we deal with 9/11?  How do we honor and respect those who risked their lives?  How do we face a tragedy, and find goodness and strength?  Most importantly, how do we do this with young children?

The tragic events of 9/11 unfolded, and our country was united in brotherhood.  America had scores of heroes, and we helped one another with selfless acts of kindness.  Since then, my school has celebrated “Kindness, Peace, and Love Day” every September.  We come together to meet and honor heroes.  We talk about the hero in all of us, and the kindness in all of us.

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Last year Police Officer Rachel and Firefighter Lindsay joined us.  They told the children how helping one another and being kind makes them a hero.  They shook hands with each and every child.  We thanked them for all they do.

Imagine being a child on a playground with the entire school, looking at a big American flag and hearing a real police officer and real firefighter tell you that YOU can be a hero.

My class proudly holds the American flag.  The Pre-K class leads us in the Pledge of Allegiance, and we all sing “God Bless America”, loud and clear.  We have sung “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “Proud to Be An American”.  And, we sing a wonderful new patriotic song, “Red, White, and Blue”.

Music and singing is ingrained in children.  Patriotic songs lift the heart.  On Kindness, Peace, and Love Day, they are especially important.  It is how we honor our country, and it’s a tribute to the heroes of 9/11.

Do you know the pride of holding the American flag and singing patriotic songs, with heroes?  I do, and so do the children in my class.  It’s hard to sing the words when your heart gets tangled with your throat.

Firefighter Lindsay taught me how to fold the American flag last year, in front of all the children.  They were spellbound.  It looked like magic to transform the flag.  And, it was.  The children then went back to their class or stayed out on the playground.  Funny thing, Police Officer Rachel and Firefighter Lindsay stayed.  They didn’t want to go, nor let Kindness, Peace, and Love Day come to an end.  They felt such a part of this event.

Maybe if we stay we can keep it going.  Maybe if we stay more children will understand.  Maybe if we stay we can make a difference.

They stayed.  Children talked with them individually.  Everyone connected.  They made a difference.

Goodness is triumphant.  The events that happened after 9/11 have become the foundation for thanking our heroes, seeing the hero in all of us, and celebrating Kindness, Peace, and Love.

Jennie

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, Giving, Inspiration, Kindness, patriotism, Peace, Singing, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to Remembering 9/11 and Teaching Goodness

  1. beetleypete says:

    That’s a great photo of you with the policewoman and firefighter, Jennie.
    9/11 is a day the world will never forget. The day modern Americans realised that they were not untouchable, another Pearl Harbour. Let’s hope that the memory of the heroism and sacrifice that day will live on. So that future generations may realise that there is no greater love, than to give your life to help others.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. What a wonderful way to remember a day that changed our country. Thank you for sharing, Jennie. xo

  3. This is lovely, Jennie. I think the whole world would benefit from a Kindness, Peace, and Love Day. How wonderful that your kids commemorate 9/11 by embracing a better world. 🙂

  4. Dan Antion says:

    This is a nice program. It’s going to get harder as we’ve past the point where these kids were alive when it happens.

    • Jennie says:

      Yes, it is. Although, it’s up to the teacher to find a way to remember the event in an appropriate way for kids, no matter the age. If teachers can do this with Pearl Harbor (and they do), they can with 9/11. Best to you, Dan.

  5. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    This is another wonderful blog by Jennie.

  6. Darlene says:

    Another teachable moment that you handle splendidly. Bravo to you and teachers who inspire kindness.

  7. reocochran says:

    I like this as a way of celebrating heroes and commemorating 9/11. Very wonderful women who chose to come and spend time with your students, Jennie.
    Hope you have a lovely day tomorrow, may it be as meaningful as last year.. 🇺🇸

      • reocochran says:

        You’re very welcome, Jennie. 😊 💕
        On an aside, my Dad talked about his excitement in the 70’s to reach 2001. He got cancer in the Fall, 2000. He hung in there thru the holidays and early January, 2001 on a freezing cold day, my men in my life built a wheelchair ramp for my parents’ lake cottage. He came out with both his arms upon fists, like a winner. He passed away later that month (1/27/01). I sometimes thank God he wasn’t alive to see the horrible events of 2001, Jennie.
        By the way, he said “2001: A Space Odyssey” was his favorite movie and “Star Trek” his favorite TV series. “Our human progress was a big disappointment” he told me while I laid on his bed, trying to get him to take a nap his last month. ❤

      • Jennie says:

        What a wise and wonderful man your father was, Robin. Thank you for sharing this story. 🙂

  8. NJ says:

    Wonderful way of remembering the real heroes of the world 🙂 I think its good that we teach the new generation to respect the country they live in and feel patriotic 🙂

  9. L. Marie says:

    Love this, Jennie. I remember learning the Pledge of Allegiance in kindergarten. This is a good post to pass on to parents as well who aren’t sure how to help their children understand the significance of 9/11.

  10. Great, uplifting post on a very sad anniversary, Jennie.

  11. What an invaluable occasion and such an inspiring post, Jennie.

  12. So profoundly good, kind, and loving and teaches empathy the heroic actions of others, those that were lost and remembering them in this way. Beautiful. Another incredible post that teaches goodness by Jennie. Thank you. Karen

  13. I love the simplicity and power of your definition of a hero; being kind and helping others. Yes, America isn’t perfect, but we have many heroes in our midst. Lovely and profound lesson, Jennie.

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  15. Oh Jennie, I was touched to tears as I read this. It was SO nice to read that the core curriculum doesn’t totally obliterate the teaching of what really matters in life. Skills can always be remediated – it isn’t wise to wait until the little ones have grown into self-focused adults to do a little hero building. I love those two ladies for staying – and YOU for putting this all together each year.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    • Jennie says:

      My goodness, Madelyn. You have struck every chord and hit every nerve on school curriculum, and precisely why teaching ‘what matters in life’ far outweighs core curriculum. Thank you!

  16. Such a lovely post, Jennie. Well done. Your students are lucky to have you as their teacher.

  17. What wonderful heroes to give your students a much-needed view of kindness, peace, and love! So important these days, with so much negativity going around. Every time we can show these qualities to others spreads them. And kudos not only to Officer Rachel and Firefighter Lindsay, but to all those teachers who spend so much time with our kids. A huge thank you to them all!

  18. A wonderful post Jennie and so important for children to meet these amazing examples of people doing touch jobs with honour and courage.

  19. Goodness is triumphant, always. thank you!

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  21. What a wonderful thing it would be if every school, or better yet, every person could celebrate at least one Kindness, Peace, and Love Day each year. Thanks for being such a special teacher, Jennie!

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