Creating a Climate of Inclusion and Acceptance

Creating a Climate of Inclusion and Acceptance photo

In an effort to further build a community of inclusion and acceptance, TJL participated in “Start with Hello” week, beginning on Sept. 24. This program, created by Sandy Hook Promise, focuses on uniting people of all beliefs and backgrounds and creating climates of inclusion to prevent social isolation—and to ultimately protect children from gun violence.

“Awareness weeks such as “Start with Hello” are so important for our students,” said school Psychologist Michelle Meskin, “because it teaches them that no member of any community should ever feel isolated, alone or excluded.”

Throughout the week, students were encouraged to make efforts to say hello to someone new and to perform random acts of kindness. Additionally, students participated in some ice-breaker activities, such as “In My Shoes” and “Human Bingo.” Children learned how to realize when someone is reaching out for help, how to accept differences in their peers, and more. Students and staff truly gave their hearts to the weeks’ mission, and had discussions on how to reach beyond “Start With Hello Week” and to incorporate inclusiveness and acceptance into the school year, and the following years to come.

“My brother and I have a competition going to see who can say hello to the most new people each day,” said Emerson, a fourth-grader at Thomas J. Lahey. “It’s been so much fun, and it’s making so many people happy.”