“You are kind,” “you are reliable,” and “you are a helpful friend,” were among the phrases used by fourth grade teacher Linda Baron at Middle Gate School as examples of what classmates might write to one another.
Each student took the time to create positive phrases for their classmates, written on small pieces of paper that were then laminated and pieced together like a quilt. The Complimentary Quilts 2013 project, which Ms Baron had done in the past, but not in recent years, is an idea she renewed in the wake of 12/14.
Walking toward her classroom and the sound of excited children’s voices returning from recess, she explained, “Everything has been funneling in,” regarding gifts, cards, toys, and more in support of the Sandy Hook and Newtown communities. She decided she wanted to do something “from the classroom out.”
In a brief letter to parents, she wrote, “Recently we have seen a lot of caring and acts of kindness … in class we have been talking about the good in others, what makes a hero.” She introduced the “caring and kindness concept” into her classroom, her letter states.
Pointing toward the finished quilts that each student would take home, she said part of the lesson was to understand “how to look for the good in others, and learn what a compliment feels like to give and to receive.”
Student Luke O’Connor decided to write to President Barack Obama, telling him about the quilts. He wanted the president to know that creating the quilts “made us happy and feel good about ourselves.”
As their friends left the room for lunch break, Luke stood side by side with Olivia Buchler as the two held up their finished quilts, smiling at the results.
The quilt project “showed students they were cared about,” Ms Baron said.
Her class will take the quilts home as “forever gifts.” Ms Baron said, “You never know how your life can be enriched by others; everyone has something to share.”
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