Yesterday, I was fortunate to be able to visit with my daughter’s kindergarten class. Haynes-Inman Education Center is a school for children with various special needs. The teachers there provide various therapies to help these children overcome some of their disabilities.
On Monday, they were having “Leaf Day” in her classroom. The teacher brings in leaves for the kids to play in. While this might sound trivial to some, these kids are not usually able to go outside and play in the leaves like typical kids do. Some kids have sensory issues where they are unable to handle a new feeling, for example, even the feeling of a dry leaf being crumbled in their hands. While this is not necessarily the case of this day, these types of interactions help these kids to better relate to their surroundings and this is just one example of how they help these kids to learn and explore their surroundings.
As I mentioned earlier, my daughter is one of the students seen in these pictures. Raising a child with special needs can be quite demanding. Before the kids were introduced to the leaves, I was able to sit and observe the daily happenings in the classroom; things I am not normally able to observe. I saw as the staff move swiftly from one child to another – one child needing medication at a specific time, another trying to transition after mom left, still another needing to eat breakfast. The entire time seeming to have an unending amount of patience. Even though it doesn’t show, I know it is hard to do…I have three children at home.
I think that is what makes this place, and others like it, so special and also why my daughter loves so much to go there. The teachers, assistants, and therapists all care deeply about the success of these children – even if that success is simply being able to choose between two objects on any given day or watching a child take his or her first steps on their own after years of therapy.
I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of these children as much as I enjoyed spending the time to take them, and as much as they enjoyed experiencing something new.