Many people choose to send their children to the
St. Louis Arc’s Childgarden Early Childhood Center because they value the inclusive education that is provided. However, some people may be unclear of the real impact that inclusive schools have on all children.
I would like to share a touching story with you from the Bluebirds classroom that highlights the natural benefits of inclusive education for all children.
In the last couple of months, the Bluebirds class has been studying butterflies. The children brought in several caterpillars and watched as they formed their chrysalises and eventually became butterflies. One little butterfly had difficulty flying, as one of his wings was smaller than the other. The teachers used this time as a teachable moment and initiated a discussion about the butterfly. Ryan, who is 5 years old, summed it up nicely, “This butterfly is just like our classroom. She will be OK. She’s just going to learn how to fly slower and may need a little help with eating, drinking and playing with the other butterflies.” The children also decided that the butterfly may need a therapist to help it learn how to fly!
This particular butterfly never flew away. It currently lives in the classroom and will fly from child to child or hang out in its house. The children interact with it daily. There are so many things that we can learn from our children!
I know how we all value inclusion and the benefits that it brings to all children. This is just a wonderful reminder that a classroom with one child who has a disability, truly affects the thinking, level of respect and empathy, on a very genuine level, of everyone in the class! How awesome to think about the impact of having a child spend the first 5 years of his/her life, when 90% of their brain is developing,
in an inclusive environment with rich experiences!
Please visit the Childgarden website to learn more.
Thank you to our Childgarden Center Director, Debbie Schmitz for sharing this inspiring story.