This is our first participation in Magic Marker Monday! But first a little about the teacher who helped to create some of the artwork....
The public preschool program Jack was in last year was changed dramatically. We did not like the new set up for the preschool so we refused to send him there and instead opted to go with a private daycare/preschool this year. To say that I was anxious is quite an understatement. I should not have worried at all though. We are very blessed. Jack is very well loved at his new school. His teacher is eligible for an award and we have nominated her with the following letter (edited to take out location identifying details but her name really is Ms. Sunny).
Dear People who Give Awards to Preschool teachers:
It has been my great pleasure to know Sunny **** since the day my son started preschool at ***** in August of 2009. Ms. Sunny (as all the children call her) is everything a preschool teacher should be. She is kind, warm, loving, and playful and yet she guides her students firmly with well established and developmentally appropriate expectations. She is actually quite “Sunny” as funny as that may seem to say. In our family’s life, she has been a refreshing ray of sunshine and hope.
My son falls under that broad category of “special needs”. He is legally blind in his “good” eye, is speech delayed, and has both fine motor and gross motor delays. We were very anxious about him going to a new “school” this year. Over the summer, we had finally given him the first break he had ever had from therapy. The result was glorious. He was popping out of his shell and beginning to make real progress. With the start of a new school year, we were genuinely concerned whether all the pressure to fit into the new routine and do as all the other kids would cause him to retreat again. Enter Ms. Sunny.
We could not have found a better advocate for our son than Ms. Sunny. Ms. Sunny helped Jack to learn the structure and routine of her classroom as he could handle it. She did not expect him to know what to do from day one. She pointed out that none of the children were expected to know how to act or what to do and that they all had to adjust. She uses her knowledge of child development and a love for each child as an individual to guide her. There is no “one size fits all” to teaching children and Ms. Sunny knows it. The school district provided therapists arrived and began shaking their heads and saying, “We’ve got to stop letting him play in that little red car. He’s isolating himself socially and we’ve got to put an end to it or he’ll never make friends!” Ms. Sunny told them and us to let him be. You know what? She was right! He played in that little car for several days but, as she predicted, the more comfortable he got the more he ventured out and began to play with and alongside the other children.
When you walk into Ms. Sunny’s classroom, you do not find an environment of “tolerance and acceptance.” The children do not merely tolerate and accept Jack’s differences. Instead, with Ms. Sunny leading the way, they embrace Jack for his sameness. I wrote her an email once and told her that I knew that Jack was behind his classmates developmentally. Ms. Sunny quickly pointed out to me that all of the children in her classroom work on different things at different times. She said that as a pre-K teacher, she was on a mission to help the children to see learning as fun and to help them establish internal motivations for learning. She knew that she could not make goals too high or too low for each individual child. She sees to the “special needs” of each and every child in her classroom.
My son is thriving under Ms. Sunny’s guidance. He has begun speaking more and more everyday. He has even begun to try to talk to us about his school day. Ms. Sunny reports that he is becoming a more active participant in the classroom. None of this would have been possible without Ms. Sunny. Ms. Sunny looked past the label of “special needs”, found the little boy behind the label, and loves him everyday as she teaches him the alphabet, numbers, and the days of the week.
Jack brings alot of cute little things home from school and we have a few things that we do at home so I created this little art display area where we can proudly show off his latest creations. He's not a huge fan of crafts and art but I'm hoping that our little showcase and compliments will help him get more into it. I think it may be working a bit. He's awfully proud of that little ghost. :)
To see other's Magic Marker Monday posts and to link up yourself, click here.
Don't forget to check out the latest installment of Life is Therapy.