Fletcher Elementary School fourth-graders in Diane George's and Amanda Chitester's classes learned an important life lesson by holding a Thanksgiving dinner with Rebecca McGrath's special education classroom.
In addition to the Thanksgiving dinner, select fourth graders helped create, and paint, cutout pumpkins with McGrath's students. Most importantly, they also learned a valuable life lesson about special needs students.
"I really loved having dinner and helping create pumpkins with my friend Jazon," said Fletcher Elementary School fourth-grader Adley Warner. "I've learned that our friends are just like us. They go to the same school and like a lot of the same things. Everyone is special, no matter who you are."
Fletcher Elementary School fourthgraders Adriana Platt and Katherine Russ share their Thanksgiving dinner with fellow student Gavin Spitz.
Before visiting the classroom, the fourth-grade teachers discussed that everyone is different, but special. The pumpkin patch project is specifically chosen because, even in a group of pumpkins, every pumpkin is slightly different. They also helped students understand what special needs are, and how they could communicate nonverbally with their fellow students.
"Our classrooms are in close proximity, which gives us the opportunity to see each other frequently. Miss George's and Mrs. Chitester's class knows my students by name, and greets them with a friendly smile and hello. It has been a great experience for my students. I've seen them blossom around their new fourth-grade friends," said Mrs. McGrath.
"It is the best experience I could give my children, " said Miss George. "Mrs. McGrath and I talked about, and modeled ways to communicate with our new friends. It is a great way to build bridges in the school, and let the older kids take the younger kids under their wings. They experienced, that students with special needs, are no different than they are, in that they want to make new friends. At this time of the year it is nice to count our blessings and be thankful for what we have."