Gloria is an important member of the Aqua Room… well, that’s an understatement. Every year she is ‘the one’. Somehow she brings more kindness and understanding to children than anyone does. She’s been around for over twenty years. Today was her first day in the classroom this year. Oh, my!
The backstory is a great one. Years ago teachers were mindful about diversity and inclusion in the classroom. Every teacher had a ‘persona doll’ (Asian, African American, Spanish) to help teach children. Well, there were few people of diversity in our community. I knew teaching diversity really meant teaching acceptance. What people would children see who were different, maybe even a little scary? Old people! If they used a cane, or were unattractive, that was diversity in their world.
Enter Gloria, someone who is very different. She is old, not pretty, and even looks like a witch. Of course she is not a witch. Don’t we often judge people on how they look? She just likes to wear black. She is very shy, incredibly kind, and the best friend ever. Over the years she has been invited to high school graduations, the Red Sox championship parade, vacations in Maine, Trick-Or-Treating… you get the picture.
Today Gloria met the children. You could have heard a pin drop. I had to encourage Gloria, she was so shy. Once the children learned about Gloria (she had been in a different school where children called her a witch), they understood. This was big. This is how children develop empathy. Thank you, Gloria.
Every child had an opportunity to meet Gloria. Sometimes Gloria asked a lot of questions, sometimes she laughed, sometimes she spontaneously kissed a hand. Every child felt special. Every child wanted to greet Gloria.
As the day went on, children were in and out with Gloria as they played. Aubrey loves to carry her pillow and blanket as she plays. It is her comfort. Today she asked Gloria to take care of her pillow and blanket while she played. Wow!
Thank you, Gloria. You made Aubrey feel loved and comfortable. You have made many children feel the same way over the years. You are the best Aqua Roomer.
Today was only ‘day one’ with Gloria. She will be with us for the school year. We are excited. Gloria is, too.