Bringing Inclusivity to the Classroom
We owe teachers a lot.
This pandemic has made us all appreciate the hard work of teachers, day in and day out. When school went online in the spring of 2020, it caused a lot of us to realize how valuable it is having qualified, trained teachers to lead our students.
Class subjects, social skills, and problem-solving are all valuable lessons kids learn at school. But for six-year-old Jayden, school was not possible.
While there are resources, educators, and learning strategies for students with disabilities in the United States, the reality is different on the island of Grenada. Limited training and guidance leaves many teachers feeling helpless as they struggle to provide meaningful instruction. And their students often feel left out, misunderstood, or simply don't attend school. This was the situation Jayden found himself in.
“In that moment, I saw how much Jayden needed to know the love and forgiveness offered through Jesus,” Keisha shared.
Jayden has ADHD. This makes it challenging for him to stay seated or follow instructions. Frustrated teachers would hit him to control his behavior—it was the only method they knew.
Eventually, both public and private schools kicked him out. Jayden's mom couldn't find a school that would enroll him. She didn't know how to help Jayden learn at home while she went to work.
It is common in Grenada for teachers to discipline students using physical punishment, and that's what Jayden was expecting when he met Keisha. When Keisha Phillip, Kingdom Workers Grenada Program Coordinator, began working with Jayden, she could tell how anxious he was. After making just one mistake he fearfully asked her, "Are you going to hit me?"
No, she told him. She would never do that.
"In that moment, I saw how much Jayden needed to know the love and forgiveness offered through Jesus," Keisha shared.
After receiving HANDLE (Holistic Approach to Neurodevelopmental Learning and Efficiency) training through Kingdom Workers, Keisha created a personalized learning plan for him, using Bible stories to illustrate the lessons.
Jayden works on an art project with Keisha to learn colors and numbers. Activities like this, taken from his personalized learning plan, help Jayden focus and make learning fun.
This style of teaching was vastly different than the instruction Jayden had received while in school. Jayden's past experiences left him feeling alone and unlovable. Being introduced to Keisha and Kingdom Workers felt like a lifeline for him.
After working with Keisha for several weeks, things began to change for Jayden, "There were teachers who noticed a significant change," said Keisha. "He could settle down and accept and understand instruction better."
Jayden's mother was delighted by the change in her child. "I am very thankful for the program," she said. "They welcomed my son. I saw great improvements in his behavior, and I believe he is ready to be part of a larger group."
Right now, school has already started in Grenada. Jayden's hope is to join them soon, but there are many more children like him who are not as fortunate.
Keisha, far left, trained more volunteers to lead upcoming support groups for parents and teachers.
If life is to change for students and children with disabilities, it needs to start with teachers and parents. That's why Kingdom Workers volunteers hold online training and support groups for parents and teachers of children with disabilities.
These conversations combine a Bible study with group discussion. Participants learn how to communicate, educate, and improve relationships with their children. Eight parents attended the first session, and Jayden's mother was one of them.
Since that first group session, attendance has more than doubled from just eight parents to 20. And the teacher support group had over 50 teachers attend the first session.
There is still progress to be made, but it is clear that there is an interest in providing better instruction to children like Jayden. We pray that interest grows and that we can impact the lives of parents, teachers, and children on the island of Grenada.
This work is possible thanks to you.
You can help show more children like Jayden that they can learn just like other kids. That they have a future in Jesus. Will you help by making a gift today?
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