I believe all children are entitled to having their needs met while in the classroom. With this belief I have seen many children get treated unfairly. Their needs are not met. The one that I see the most is children with differences. I think of one little girl in particular. She is a student in my class this year and as soon as she started school I knew she would need different individualized instruction. Her care is also different than the rest of the children. She takes a lot of extra guidance, patience, and she learns differently than the rest of the children in the class. She is currently being tested for autism. As a first year teacher I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to get her all of the services available. I began looking up ways to help her learn. I also kept daily notes on her to observe her movements.
I learned that she loves to learn through song. If there is music playing she will be right, there with you. She will also take magnets and make microphones to sing into. She has a hard time sitting on the carpet so she has been given many options. She has wiggle chairs, rocking chairs, big pillows, and squares. She is extremely sensory based. I have added sand, water, playdough, foam, and many more activities. She also struggled during nap. I noticed she liked when I applied pressure while rubbing her back. I communicated with her mom to see how she sleeps at home. Her mom said she sleeps with a weighted blanket at home so I advocated for her to be able to bring it to school. These are just some of the things I have done just to make sure her needs are met while she is in my classroom.
With the changes I noticed quickly that other staff members seemed annoyed by her. Some teachers don’t believe in meeting all children’s needs in the classroom. This is what I have seen. They push her away or tell her to come to me because “I am her person.” I was even told they can’t handle her and “she’s your child, deal with her.” I have come to the conclusion if this is happening in front of me, this has to be happening in more places. Something has to be done, we have to make a change. No matter how a child learns or develops, we as educators need to be there to support them.
Every child is capable of learning, and it is up to us as educators to ensure they are given the opportunity to do so. By watching the children and learning how they learn best we can better assist the children. We can also make them feel more comfortable. My next thought is we also need to collaborate with parents to reach all children. They know their children best. They can help us understand their children and the ways that they learn at home. It can also help us maintain consistency in the home, and in the classroom. By creating a room that the environment matches the children’s needs, and promotes diversity, and equity it will help ensure no child is left behind.