An Unforgettable Day - Tar River Elementary School
We think every Letterland Day or Parade is special but recently we were lucky enough to be able to help make one unforgettable for everyone involved.
Read on to find out more about an event that put a smile on the face of everyone at Letterland HQ!
In mid-October, a teacher at Tar River Elementary School, North Carolina, sent us this lovely testimonial:
"My students are severe special needs children ages 5-10 in a Title I (low income) school. They have disabilities such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Angelman's Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, and many other unique disabilities that inhibit their ability to learn with the general population. Many of my students are nonverbal, meaning they are unable to speak. We use the Kindergarten Letterland program in my classroom currently and it has been life changing for my students. I have had a child who has never said a word before in his life, say the sounds for Bouncy Ben and Annie Apple. This program has brought tears to my eyes as a teacher as well as my students' parents eyes because it gives our children the ability to connect with learning. Letterland encourages my special needs students to WANT to learn because they feel as though they can connect to the characters. They feel as though they are a PART of Letterland and these characters are their friends and understand them. Our school is planning our first ever Letterland parade for October 30th and I have never seen my students so excited for an event before."
- Bethany Martin, Special Education Teacher
Everyone at Letterland HQ was so moved that we immediately set about finding a way to get a few of the Letterlanders to this special parade. Luckily, our brilliant US Sales Rep, Cat, and US Training Coordinator, Stacie, were able help.
On October 30th, Annie Apple and Bouncy Ben attended Tar River's Letterland Parade - much to the delight of students, teachers, parents and us!
In the month leading up to the parade, each student had to choose a Letterlander, explore their letter sound/associated words, learn all about their character, and create their own costume for the parade (as independently as they could).
The special education teachers had planned to have a parade through the school hallways and hoped that they would at least have one regular education teacher in every hall who would volunteer to hold up a Letterland card for the kids to practice with. As it turns out, EVERY grade level and teacher signed up and had their class participate in the parade! Tar River Elementary School had 4 hallways full of children cheering the special educations students on. Every teacher dressed up as a character so that our students practiced each letter that day and, after students said the name of the character and did the sound/motion, they were able to take a sweet treat!
We were especially delighted to hear that the non-verbal student, who spoke his first ever sound while learning about Bouncy Ben, dressed up as Bouncy Ben at the parade, and was delighted to meet his most loved Letterlander in person!
Here's what Bethany had to say about the day:
"Our Letterland parade day was the most special day we've had this entire school year so far. It meant so much to not only the children but our entire school as a whole. Our school embraced our special needs children and participated in the parade. This gave us a huge sense of inclusiveness and acceptance. Having the Letterlanders at our parade made it ten times more special! Our kids felt like they were really in Letterland and spent the day with their "friends" from Letterland! Letterland has made such an impact on our students in many ways. This showed true as we explored everything they've learned in our parade!"
"Our school district superintendent and several other district representatives came to our parade to support our sweet kids that day. It was the best day of my teaching career thus far!"
A HUGE thank you to all of the brilliant teachers at Tar River Elementary School for putting on such a wonderful day and allowing us to share the story. And an additional thank you to Cat and Stacie for accompanying Annie Apple and Bouncy Ben to the parade!