Gloria – Today

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.


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, Diversity, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Gloria, Inspiration, Kindness, preschool, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to Gloria – Today

  1. Carla says:

    Gloria is so lucky to have so many people who love her and for her to love back. What a great way to teach acceptance, Jennie.

  2. I always love ‘Gloria’ posts!
    Gloria has certainly ‘weathered well’…she could also be the poster person for those of us ladies of a certain age…Just sayin’…
    much love to her

  3. Darlene says:

    Yay! Gloria. So glad to see she is back in the classroom. She has made a huge difference to many children over the years.

  4. beth says:

    good to see gloria again!she is so always well-loved

  5. Welcome back, Gloria!! It’s good to become reaquainted with you.

  6. Ritu says:

    So, so beautiful 😍

    • Jennie says:

      She is the best!! I am always teary when she makes her first visit. 🥰

    • Jennie says:

      Ritu, on a side note…it is interesting that children from India are often not ‘touchy feely’. And that’s okay. One of my new students is from India, and this is how I broke the barrier of connecting – “The Jennie hug”. He turns around and I hug him from behind. This has been huge for this child.

      • Ritu says:

        That is so strange, because a hug is a huge part of our Punjabi culture, but some groups of people are much more reserved, and, I guess, there is that ingrained thought of respect, and not touching things that aren’t theirs… interesting!

      • Jennie says:

        That’s really interesting, Ritu.

  7. Jim Borden says:

    nice to see Gloria back in the classroom. too bad she wasn’t on the Kelly Clarkson show!

  8. How very clever. I can see how this would work, especially the way you present it.

  9. Wonderful idea and Gloria looks happy being cuddled.

  10. petespringerauthor says:

    Like others here, I love everything about Gloria. I LOVE your thought process about using her as a means of teaching your students to accept others who are different.

    I’ve had a crazy busy week, and my usually reliable computer has been giving me grief (freezing up when I type). I’m finally going to sit down and begin working on my Jennie article today (if the technology gods allow.)😢

  11. beetleypete says:

    20 years, wow! Gloria is just wonderful, and her posts always make my weary old heart feel glad.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  12. Hi Jennie, I really love Gloria. Introducing her to your class is such a lovely idea.

  13. Thank you, Gloria and Jennie for all you do to reach out as you teach love to our little ones… 💞

  14. Great to see another group of children fall in love with Gloria. Thanks, Jennie.

  15. quiall says:

    I think the one thing children need in order to understand is an introduction. They will judge based on their character and they are too young to have learned to hate.

  16. willedare says:

    The educational process is amazing and mysterious and heartful when led by a teacher like you, Jennie. Hurrah for you and Gloria!

  17. Dan Antion says:

    It’s always good to see Gloria in the classroom. I love hearing about the ways she helps the children learn more about accepting others (among the other lessons she’s involved with).

  18. Kudos to you and Gloria for teaching compassion and inclusion.

  19. dgkaye says:

    Gloria is wonderful for teaching kindness and acceptance. ❤

  20. Elizabeth says:

    I think kids naturally are curious rather than judgemental about difference. We silence them too often (it’s rude to ask that man why he only has one leg) and they shut up. Of course we are usually wondering the same thing!

  21. Kally says:

    Awww… This is so wonderful.

  22. Wonderful having Gloria back at school, Jennie! But the impression of a witch is obvious, if she appears for the first time just before Halloween. Lol xx Michael

    • Jennie says:

      I try to introduce her early October so she doesn’t come around Halloween. I was a little late this year. Fortunately the children didn’t make a Halloween connection. Best to you, Michael.

  23. How wonderful to have Gloria back in the classroom! I’m glad she and children hit it right off.

  24. BramAsuqo says:

    Magical 🥰

  25. Pingback: Gloria – Today – Kuchimittai

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