From California to South Korea

A preschool nation begins with capitalizing on daily life experiences and turning them into priceless learning experiences.

As an educator, cultural responsiveness and family are a highlight of my educational philosophy. In the classroom, I strive to create a family-friendly learning environment. The students learn about world cultures and acceptance from their peers and their home life.

One young lady had to leave unexpectedly to South Korea for the death of her grandmother. Despite living in an area where mosquito zappers are necessary she stood out in the classroom not only because she was the only Asian student in the class, but also because of her charismatic friendliness despite her language barrier. She communicated with her peers and teachers using hand gestures and would try to repeat what her peers would say. Her English was very limited, yet she loved going to school.

After I opened the email from her mom expressing the family’s loss, I immediately sprung into action to help her overcome her family’s grief. Each student wrote a letter to her sharing a picture. Some students drew pictures expressing they miss her while others expressed how they looked forward to playing with her when she returned. The letters were compiled in a manila envelope and sent across the globe. In the learning process, I highlighted the function of mail carriers (as the theme for the month was community helpers) and used a globe to lay out the path of the letters. By the end of the week, See her mother expressed how thankful she was for the letters from her peers. Every night until the day she returned, See Yoon was comforted by the letters from her classmates. Her mother expressed how her daughter missed school very much and that the letters made her daughter still feel a part of the classroom despite being thousands of miles away. The letters from her fellow preschoolers helped See Yoon cope with the sadness and grief around her.

This unfortunate event was turned into a learning experience for all the students. The students were able to exercise their sympathy to their friend as well as experience firsthand how their letter can reach another country. More importantly, See Yoon was comforted by her peers in her time of need.

A preschool nation offers opportunities for young children to build meaningful relationships that allow them to grow and develop into caring and confident citizens.