My students are sweet and eager kindergarteners. Those that are more advanced help those that are struggling, some due to learning deficits. I am truly amazed at how willing the advanced students are to help.
Meeting my students and seeing their smiling faces you would not realize the level of poverty that they face every day.
For many, the breakfast, lunch and snack they get at school are the most substantial meals they will have all day. They do not complain about clothes that do not quite fit or are not quite clean. Some go home to the same place every day, while some have to adapt to staying with an aunt one week, a friend the week after that, and so on. But they do not complain about what they lack.
Some have parents that give support and some, unfortunately, do not. Regardless of the support at home the effort and eagerness in my class is inspiring.
My students so enjoy learning, but too often that learning stops at the end of the school day. Most are in situations where food and shelter supplant the ability to provide them with educational materials at home. When I first began working with children in poverty I did not fully understand why many of my kindergarteners would “steal” crayons and other supplies from the class. I have come to realize that they took these things because they do not have anything at home. For most, they live with a single mother and have siblings, so the priority with scarce money is not crayons. For some of these parents, there is the desire to continue the learning at home, but that desire cannot overcome their financial reality. Sadly, for others, there is simply no notion of spending money on crayons, letters, writing and drawing paper. These Transitional Backpacks will give my students the ability to continue what we do in class after they go home. It will give them the ability to continue to find the joy that I see in their eyes when they color a picture, write their own name, or write their numbers 1 through 10. Having their own things at home seems like a little gift, but my students will appreciate it more than one might expect.
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