LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Although summer is fast approaching, students throughout the county are still squeezing in their final lessons of the year.
On Monday, Hershey Kindergarten teacher Connie Painter said her lesson didn't come from a textbook. It came from her heart.
"I have a student with Down syndrome, and have just been noticing, not problems, but just the children don't understand," said Painter.
Painter decided to contact the "Kids First" organization.
The group puts on puppet shows which focus on a variety of issues, like bullying.
On Monday, the show focused on Down Syndrome and teasing.
"I thought this was a great way to open up the dialogue that it's OK to talk about the differences and that really, everyone is just the same on the inside," said Painter.
"I hope they have a better understanding of what it would be like to be a kid in school with Down syndrome," said "Kids First" Coordinator Gail McCormick. "Most of all, to accept and understand a person that's different, whether it's a learning disability, or Cerebral Palsy, or ADHD."
McCormick said the program began locally in 1994. She said every year, the group performs about 100 shows, and every one of those shows is worth it.
"This is why 'Kids First' exists," said McCormick. "This is why we exist, to create an understanding and acceptance of individuals with special needs."
The group performs for students of all ages, and Painter said that's a good thing. She said children are never too young to learn to do the right thing.
"Their actions have an effect, and it could be a long term effect," said Painter. "So, if we start and lay a good, solid foundation now that it's not okay to start and that we're all the same, then maybe in future years, it will help them."
That's a lesson you can't learn from a textbook.
For more information about the "Kids First" puppet shows, call Oakland High School at (765) 771-6130 and ask for Gail McCormick.
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