Inclusivity and inspiration at Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah pre-schools

December 18, 2018 by Lisa Frenkel
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A heartwarming video prepared by kinder teachers for their class end of year concert in one of the Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah kinder classrooms has been viewed thousands of times and received a flood of reactions (and tears!) after it was posted on Facebook.

YBR Gurewicz Early Learning Centre (GELC) was blessed to have 4 year old Mendy Cooper as a student this year.

He has Angelman Syndrome – a rare genetic syndrome causing severe developmental delay, which makes speech and movement extremely challenging – however, the kinder teachers were pleasantly surprised at the ease with which Mendy’s fellow students accepted and welcomed him.

The class kinder teachers commented that, “Although Mendy wasn’t able to do a lot of things that they could, he was just perfect to them.” She wanted to “Demonstrate what real inclusivity looks like” for the audience of parents and relatives at their kinder concert and set about putting together a video of highlights throughout the year depicting Mendy laughing, playing and interacting with his friends and classmates, with background vocals beautifully sung by Mendy’s older brothers.

“We derived so much nachas (joy) from seeing all his peers being so caring, understanding and accepting, that we wanted all their parents to see and be proud and schep nachas too…[through the video] we were able to capture little moments of complete inclusivity throughout the year and put them together.”

Having Mendy as part of their kinder class was truly a blessing for his peers as it allowed them to learn how to extend kindness and care unconditionally to others. Throughout the year, parents and children commented on the value of Mendy being part of their lives. The video has since been viewed by other kinder and school classes to allow them to “see how special and kind kids can be”.

The love and compassion shown by the dedicated staff and students at Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah Pre-Schools (Gurewicz Early Learning Centre) shines brightly in this video. Menucha Cooper, Mendy’s mum, commented that she was overwhelmed and touched by the video and was “beyond inspired and speechless”.

The video has sparked a multitude of heartfelt comments ranging from: “beautiful”, “filled my heart with so much joy”, “this is something else – incredible”, “wow”, to “what an amazing kinder”, “the morahs and classmates’ love for Mendy is palpable”. The video concludes with a short message to Mendy – “Thank you Mendy for bringing out the best in all of us. We love you”.

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