A Day With Gloria

Gloria had quite the day today.  Sometimes life can start out just terrible, and take many turns along the way.  After today, Gloria knows that all too well.

Children were in the Big Room doing music and movement.  I was in the classroom setting up for the day.  I noticed Gloria was not on the couch.  Perhaps she had gone home with a child the night before.  That often happens.  Nope.  I checked everywhere in the classroom.  No Gloria.  Then I had to stop my search and set up.  I needed some “brass” vessels for our open air Indian market, so I opened the door to the pretend kitchen in our dramatic play area.

There was Gloria – face down on a cookie sheet.  Who would do such a thing?

I left the kitchen door open.  When children returned to the classroom, they saw my face.  Shock was written all over.  I told them that something terrible had happened to Gloria, and they needed to go and find her – and fix it.

They scrambled.  They found her.  They hugged her, told her how sorry they were, got her an ice pack, and brought her to Morning Meeting.  Someone suggested Gloria should be Helper of the Day.  That means leading the group in singing the days of the week, recognizing calendar  numbers, and identifying the weather, among many other jobs.

Now, that was a great suggestion!

But Gloria was not thrilled.  She was hesitant.  We kept asking her why, and she told us:

“I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know the numbers because I can’t see from the couch, and…. you don’t invite me to Morning Meeting.”

Oh, boy!

Could things be any worse?  A wise person once said, “Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.”

We rallied behind Gloria.  Everyone helped her with numbers, reading the days of the week, and singing.  She was slow to respond, but she accepted the children’s help.  The children were saying in the best way they could, “We’re sorry, Gloria.”, and  “We love you, Gloria.”, and “How can we make it better, Gloria?”

Someone asked about Gloria’s journal.  We hadn’t read it in a while.  So, we decided to read the journal along with Gloria.

I had no idea that Gloria wore a snowsuit and went sledding!  Wait…she played the piano?  And she ‘camped out’ at bedtime?

And she had a pancake breakfast?  And rode in the cart at the grocery store? And went to ski lessons?

We read page after page of Gloria’s journal.  Together.  Memories and stories can heal wounds.  Gloria felt good.  The children felt even better.

The rest of the day was busy, and Gloria was included.  Later in the afternoon we had a visit from a baby bunny.  Everyone was eager to see the bunny. Children made sure Gloria got to see, too.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five 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 was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in behavior, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Gloria, Kindness, Love, preschool, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to A Day With Gloria

  1. ksbeth says:

    I love every word of this

  2. OMG, someone was going to bake up a batch of ‘Gloria Cookies’???
    Teacher to the rescue and classmates eager to ‘make it up to her’ all day…Happy Friday, Jennie.

  3. Oh, Jennie. You bring back memories of so many of my fun times when I was teaching. That is just the kind of thing I used to do, pretending our puppets or other stuffed characters had real feelings. Children respond so easily and wholeheartedly to this third-person kind of interaction. They know it’s just pretend, and yet they know that on some level the feelings and the moral teachings are real. What a great way to get through to the kids. Thanks for sharing this post.

  4. I’m heading to bed right now with sweet dreams of children making Gloria feel better. What a lesson that is. I wonder how she got there? Loved reading this.

    • Jennie says:

      I wonder how she got there, too. It certainly opened the door for an important lesson. The parent of the child who took Gloria sledding told me in frustration that when they were sledding, “People just didn’t understand. I had to keep explaining Gloria.” Isn’t that wonderful? Many thanks, Marlene. Hope you had sweet dreams.

  5. I am so glad that children are given this opportunity to develop compassion for others. This is a critical personality characteristic we all need to develop, and I think many of us develop it in different ways. I know that my own challenges have helped me to develop it, but this is such a better way for children to learn. Thank you kindly, Jennie. I would like to give you a Teacher of the Year award if I had one to give. You are such an inspiration for me, and I know that others feel the same way. Thank heavens that there are still teachers like this left in this world.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you so much, Anne! Yes, these are the most important things for children to learn. I think compassion and empathy are life skills, and at the preschool level they’re far more important than learning how to count or write. Gloria is an amazing teacher.

      • I can so relate to this. I have a number of stuffed teachers as well. Most of mine are named Ann and Andy, and one pair, particularly precious, was made for me for my graduation from college (yes, it is true) by “Little Grandma,” a grandma who was made tiny via experiments in Germany during the Nazi era, and she was a German too! Her daughter’s husband built all tiny furniture for her so she was always able to create wonderful things. So nice to remember people from so long ago in my life, and what wonderful gifts they gave in the way of knowledge and good memories.

      • Jennie says:

        Thank you, Anne. What a story! Memories are precious.

  6. Ritu says:

    This is so lovely. Way to go Jennie and Gloria getting the empathy going in children ❤️

  7. beetleypete says:

    Did anyone confess to popping Gloria into the oven? 🙂
    This was an object lesson in ‘inclusion’ indeed. Marvellous to see.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  8. Opher says:

    Fabulous Jennie!!

  9. Dan Antion says:

    What a sweet story. These children learned so many good things.

  10. What a cool story. Gloria is one lucky lady. My kindergarten granddaughter would love you as a teacher. Your students in MA are lucky!

  11. So how did she end up face down on a cookie sheet? Lovely post, Jennie.

  12. Oh dear, poor Gloria. I am glad the children all rallied around to remedy the situation.

  13. Luanne says:

    Hahaha so cute! Never solved the mystery?

  14. Darlene says:

    What a great teaching opportunity with real life lessons. So glad Gloria and the kids are OK.

  15. toritto says:

    Nice Jennie. Really nice. Regards

  16. L. Marie says:

    A beautiful post! How wonderfully empathetic the children were to Gloria. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

  17. CarolCooks2 says:

    How lovely, Jennie such lucky children to have such a wonderful teacher who has opened their eyes to life with Gloria 🙂

  18. Sarah says:

    Just love the last pic and the whole post, Jennie! Memories and stories have healing powers indeed!

  19. Norah says:

    What a wonderful way to teach children about inclusion and caring for each other.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s