Sadly, schools aren’t always the friendly and welcoming environment they should be. But at least one teacher is making an effort to make her students feel safe and connected to one another in her classroom.
Ashley Coston Taylor, a kindergarten teacher of 18 years from Texas, has her students, who she calls her “Littles,” begin every day with a handshake. Every morning, a designated “greeter” will stand outside the classroom and offer handshakes and hugs to all of his or her classmates before they start the day.
“This is something we do every morning to start our day off on the right foot! Every child in my class does this,” explains Taylor. “It’s amazing to see my Littles can do something now that they will use the rest of their life and hopefully make them better people for it!”
Earlier this month, Taylor posted a video on Facebook of her students’ morning ritual. On that particular day, Asher Bales was the chosen greeter. Taylor says the morning handshake routine has helped Asher improve his communication skills and self-confidence over the course of the year. He now looks forward to greeting his classmates every morning.
When I see the direction the world is heading, it reminds me that what I am doing WILL make a difference!#lovemylittles#bestwaytostartaday#nevertooyoungformanners
Posted by Ashley Coston Taylor on Monday, May 21, 2018
“When I see the direction the world is heading, it reminds me what I am doing WILL make a difference!” Taylor wrote in her Facebook post, which has already been viewed over 20,000 times.
Taylor says that with everything happening in the world, most notably the recent string of school shootings, she wants her students to feel like they’re entering a classroom where they will be accepted and have “someone on their side.” She hopes the routine can make a small but positive difference in the lives of her young students.
“Sadly, lots of kids (of all ages) come to school looking for that positive interaction that they may not have experienced at home,” says Taylor. “Life can be hard for kids but it shouldn’t be at school!”