Gloria joined the classroom today, and oh what a homecoming it was. It’s doubtful Santa Claus would receive such a welcome. After all these years we are still amazed at the difference Gloria makes and how children are drawn to her. It started many years ago…
You see, Gloria is different. She is very shy and loves to wear black. She’s not pretty on the outside, but she’s beautiful on the inside. In order for children to learn about the world, they needed to learn about the people in the world. And that meant introducing them to diversity… to Gloria.
Children don’t even see that she’s a puppet. The word witch is never spoken. It isn’t even a thought in their heads. They see her ‘insides’; that she needs help singing the ABC’s, that she loves Maine, and likes to be read to. That’s what children really see.
When Gloria arrived today, we introduced her at Morning Meeting. She was shy and did not speak. She looked all around, and we realized she didn’t recognize the classroom, as we have moved. That took some explaining! Then, Gloria looked at the children. She knew her Aqua Room friends from last year. One by one, they came up to hug Gloria. The hugs were more like the jaws of life… it had been a long time since they had seen her. McKinley cried. We did, too. Delaney buried her head into Gloria. On and on.
New children were watching all of this unfold. You could have heard a pin drop. Each child had an opportunity to greet Gloria. Some children waved, others smiled, some came to greet her, and Amelia immediately said, “Gloria, I like you.”
After Morning Meeting, children began their activities. Many children decided to hang out with Gloria. They read books to her, made her a bed on the couch, and just wanted to be with her.
Heidi decided to make Gloria her own nap mat for rest time. McKinley reminded me to show Gloria any picture from Charlotte’s Web after chapter reading.
I remembered. Welcome to the new school year, Gloria!