There is just over one week left in the school year, and I cannot believe how fast it has flown by. Soon we will begin our Summer program, combining the fun and unique experiences that Summer brings and our commitment to school readiness and preparing children for school success. My students and I have worked hard and diligently during the past nine months, and we are looking forward to relaxing just a little, spending more time outdoors, and having new learning adventures as we get ready for Kindergarten.
Throughout the year we have been working on an ongoing project to make one of the students (we will call him Ben) feel welcome and accepted in our classroom. He was born deaf, but had the blessing of getting cochlear implants. These implants serve as the inner ear and allow him to receive sound. In turn, sound signals to reach his brain and let him hear
When Ben first joined my class, my other students became easily frustrated because they could not communicate with him very well. His hearing age is about two years behind his actual age (4) because he is learning how to comprehend sounds and differentiate between spoken words and noise. The other children and I began learning signs for simple words we use throughout the day. At first, I did not think that this would be an easy task for my students to take on, but they have surprised me and have surpassed my expectations. All fifteen children have learned 44 ASL signs. WOW!
Every day presents itself with many adventures and discoveries in my classroom, but perhaps one of my favorite moments is when a child runs up to me and asks how to sign a certain word or phrase because they want to tell Ben something. After we look up the word or phrase they want to communicate, they will run off and excitedly show/tell Ben, who in turn becomes overjoyed. Dr. Shinichi Suzuki once said, “Where love is deep, much can be accomplished.” I never imagined that my students would rally together like they have in order to make one student feel comfortable, welcome, and loved. Perhaps my favorite part of teaching Prekindergarten is watching my students help one another when learning a new concept. It truly is a blessing.
Mr. Daniel is the Kindergarten Prep Academy Teacher at #202 in Oklahoma City, OK. Children leave his class more than prepared for Kindergarten. The parents at his school are always impressed with his creativity, love for teaching, and tenacity in the classroom.