Every year, Gloria comes into the classroom and becomes a beloved friend, someone who understands children. She represents everything that is kind… yet different, and that is the pathway to acceptance. Gloria is diversity, and the catalyst to acceptance. She has been part of my classroom for many years, and every year she is loved (understatement.) Her adventures with children include mountain climbing, attending graduations, trick-or-treating, the Red Sox parade in Boston, Christmas and Thanksgiving with families, and so much more. Bottom line, Gloria cements love and kindness.
Here is my newsletter to families:
Introducing Gloria, our Aqua Room Friend
October 4th, 2022
Gloria was introduced to your children this week. She came to Morning Meeting, reluctantly, because she is very shy. After all, some people have called her a witch, so it is no wonder she needed coaxing to meet the Aqua Roomers. Gloria is old, has wrinkly skin and gray hair, and is very fond of black. Actually, black is her favorite color, along with a pointy hat and pointy shoes. Gloria is our classroom puppet, yet she is very real to all the children. She represents all the things that children feel. Because she is different, she helps children develop an understanding of others.
When she arrived, your children didn’t know what to think. No one said a word, and there were many wide eyes. When we talked about Gloria, children wondered if she was a witch. That was the perfect door to open! Gloria herself jumped in to talk (finally), and she told them how people had called her a witch. “Well, I’m not a witch. I just like black. It’s my favorite color. My skin is wrinkly, and my hair is gray and sticky-uppy-outy.” Then children started to look to Gloria directly, eye to eye, and Gloria responded in kind. No child looked at a teacher; each one looked directly at Gloria. One child waved and said, “Hi Gloria.” Another child said, “Gloria, you need to meet Sparkles! Sparkles is our hamster. Then she introduced herself. Gloria wanted to learn the names of your children, and asked each child if she could shake their hand. Well, children stayed by her side after the handshake. Everyone surrounded the teacher chair, and the conversations kept going. There were many spontaneous hugs. Gloria has photos in her journal over many years. She has been everywhere! She hasn’t shown us her blankie (peace quilt) yet.
This was powerful. What transpired in our classroom in less than thirty minutes is what can sometimes take years for people to learn; caring and acceptance. Gloria is different, yet she has the same feelings that we all do. She is a good friend. Your children were able to look beyond her appearance and see her for what she truly is.
A child rushed over to tell a teacher, “Gloria fell on the floor!” We checked her out (she was ok), gave her extra hugs, and she was on her way. Children were helping Gloria. She is being looked after. She is a new friend.
The next day we met Gloria’s family- Rainbow, Brownie, and Oscar. Each of her family members has a special story. Ask your child to tell you.
All of this has happened in just two days. Gloria will quickly become a close member of the Aqua Room. She will be the one who understands, or perhaps the one who has problems. She will be fun, sometimes silly, and may look to your children for a hug. If you want to know more about Gloria, she has a journal of her weekends with Aqua Roomers. Please tell her hello when you’re in the classroom.
Jennie, Heidi, and Naomi