Story of the Month: Penny
Harriet, The Apple of Our Eye
Every child is a different kind of flower, and all together they make this world a beautiful garden.
Back in the fall of 2013, we welcomed a new preschool-aged child to our orphanage school program in Guangdong. We named her Harriet, and this is the first photo we were given of her. We were told her special need was “mental and development delays.”
We were also give a long list of all of the things Harriet was unable to do.
Unable to follow instructions.
Unable to participate in class.
Unable to play well with others.
Unable to speak or communicate needs.
Unable to stand by herself.
We were told that Harriet just wanted to be alone and that she definitely didn’t want to be with others.
But we also knew that we had some truly amazing teacers at this school, who are kind and patient and who knew that certain flowers take longer to bloom than others.
It’s pretty clear from this class photo soon after she joined our school that she wasn’t thinking being included was much fun. (Harriet is in pink on the far left).
But our teachers just kept being patient. They allowed Harriet to play on her own at school, so she could learn how interesting books and puzzles can be.
They also discovered that there was one part of the day that Harriet always loved – SNACKTIME! And so they began working with her to clap her hands when it was time to eat, which helped her to learn that gestures can get your needs across when your words can’t.
What a difference an entire year of being nurtured in the classroom makes! Harriet’s newest school reports show the remarkable progress she is making. Her teachers now describe her as an active and curious little girl, who loves finger painting and artwork.
No longer withdrawn, she is now a busy little bee who takes part in all the classroom activities. While she still has developmental delays and isn’t yet speaking, the teachers tell us that the other children like being with her very much. We are told she loves going “here and there,” and can follow all of the teachers’ instructions.
We are so happy she is now completely comfortable both in our classroom and with being with friends.
Harriet - you are the apple of our eye, and we are so thankful we get to play a part in your life!
We are still in need of two additional sponsors for her monthly education costs, so if you’d like to be a part of Team Harriet, visit her sponsorship page here!