Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 in Early Education Classrooms

Today I want to talk about 9/11 in early ed. settings.  Do you address it with your kids?  My guys are still fairly young and (in my opinion) are not really equipped to grapple with such a complex, terrifying event that is essentially a completely abstract concept for them.  

It's hard to completely ignore, though, even if you wanted to.  The elementary school I work at had the older students interrupt classes over the loudspeaker at the time the first tower was struck for a brief reflection/moment of silence.  My solution of late has been to talk about the day from its service aspect.  9/11, of course, was declared a National Day of Service several years ago.  On the 10th anniversary of the attacks, President Obama stated, "even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11."  I love that quote and believe in the sentiment behind it wholeheartedly.  Who among us old enough to remember that day doesn't remember the lines of people at blood banks, the shopkeepers donating food and necessities to first responders, that incredible spirit of togetherness that briefly united us all?  

So the kids and I talked about what service means, about how we can help others, about how others help us.  Then we worked on making cards for service men and women overseas.  The words they dictated or wrote were so amazing.  One child drew a house and wrote, "You keep me safe at home. I love you, soldiers." Another boy COVERED his card in googly eyes and asked me to write "a lot of eyes so you can find your way home!"   What beautiful little souls.  Kids are so naturally generous and caring and this group seems particularly motivated to help their neighbors- I'm genuinely looking forward to more projects like this over the upcoming year.  And hopefully, they'll carry the spirit of service with them into their adulthood!

Scrappy Teacher says, "googly eyes = love in the right hands!"

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