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Inclusion Column

Inclusion… An Unexpected Gift

By Mónica Acosta

Have you ever asked yourself what would be the best gift you could give your child? The most common route to go is with what we might call the obvious...the best education, many wonderful vacations, making sure they have all they need in regards to trends (technology, video games, the newest and most beautiful toys), and off course, love. It is amazing how, as parents, we go around trying so hard to make our children happy. But what does that really mean?

Not so long ago, I wondered that same thing. What would be the best gift I could ever give Matias? To my luck, if we can call it that, an amazing opportunity arose; ASFM had internally announced that they would become an “Inclusive School”. Off course, being part of the Student Support Team, I had the advantage of being introduced, before many others, to all the benefits it would bring to the school, as well as, to me as a professional.

For some reason, at that moment, I failed to look beyond the benefits it would bring to me, until it was confirmed that “Inclusion” would begin with my son’s generation in Nursery. It then struck me, this was a great opportunity. It was now clear, Matias had to be part of that class. Why, you might wonder? I knew who he was as a learner, both my husband and I, were clear that Matias, being the curious little darling he was, the academic curriculum would be something he would master with little effort, but we also knew that his world is so different than the world that was presented to us when we were four and five. Our children are more conscious and exposed to all kinds of information at such an unstoppable speed, thanks to technology. This would be a great opportunity for Matias to learn so much more about the world before tecnology got to him.

To me, everything now made sense, so I thought. Matias would be able to help others. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much this experience helped Matias and our entire family. I have never believed that things happen by chance, and I am now sure this was meant to be for so many reasons. Yes, I was able to see Matias grow to be such a wonderful human being in such a short amount of time, and not only Matias, but all of the wonderful children in that group. You can still feel the love and incredible bond all of them have. Matias learned that all of us are special and unique, he could tell me what each and everyone of his classmates was good at, as well as, what each loved and enjoyed. He would come home celebrating their individual successes and expressing to feel very proud of his friends, boy or girl, it made no difference. I am certain that Matias loved and was loved unconditionally in an “Inclusive Classroom”.

And me… I have no words to express how immensely blessed I feel to have been part of this inspiring endeavor. In such a short time, I have learned so much about life and the beauty that surrounds us, and how unaware we are that it exists. This experience has opened my eyes to what true love means. As a professional, it has been rejoicing to come to work everyday, knowing that we are now, really making a positive difference. And personally, being a foreigner, I have felt immensely supported and loved by the teachers and families of these marvelous children. In the hardest of times, they have not only been my dearest friends, but, have also become my family. The bonds and connections that have been made, I am confident, will never be broken. So yes, “Inclusion” is a gift, an unexpected, but wonderful gift!