This is one of my favourite comics - it’s an amusing way to highlight the importance of building environments for all our kiddos.
The other day at work we practiced a bus evacuation drill, as we do at the beginning of every school year. The buses arrived early and were ready to start loading students...and unloading students in a mock evacuation. However, the only buses that showed up assumed all of our students could walk up stairs and onto a bus. Working at an accessible school where we have a diverse student population, I was shocked that the 72 person accessible bus did not arrive. I am not sure why a barrier bus arrived- did the school forget to say something or did the bus company forget to send one- I am not sure. However, no accessible bus arrived and not all of our students could participate in a mandatory school drill . Super frustrating!
Rather than harping on this mishap, we were able to include all our students at different points of the drill. Was it the same experience or even comparable, absolutely not, but in the moment we just wanted all of our students to feel a part of this experience - even if we had to plan on the fly.
What was super rewarding about this experience was the conversation it led to in a grade 3 classroom. One particular student talked about how she felt being 'forgotten'. However it was her her comments that opened the door for an amazing conversation on building community that respects and reflects all members- with eight year olds. This group talked about what they could do to build a room that allows each student to be a part of the class. They discussed everything from playing tag to accessing pencils & books to pulling in resources that share information on the different cultures in the class. It was amazing! Even more amazing, the class has dedicated itself as a group to building their inclusive classroom vision through collaboration, discussion, and connections with all members. It is so amazing!
At the end of the day, you just never know who is going to require some sort of additional support. So why not offer it.... especially when you have the supports available!
Remember difference is normal- we have to start thinking openly!