Butterfly Day was created in memory of Kenadi Jean Weis who suffered a brain injury at birth and lived 5 ½ years faced with many challenges. Although she was non-verbal and confined to a wheelchair she was an inspiration to many people, including ourselves.
Her Pre-K Teacher at Mt. View Elementary, Miss Betty, ensured a truly inclusive environment, designed for children of all abilities to be as involved and independent as possible. Every school day Miss Betty introduced Kenadi to new friends who realized that she liked reading books, painting pictures and swinging at recess… just like them.
The Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation hosts this event to teach children the importance of embracing their own differences and accepting the differences of others.
The morning begins with an introduction about the day, a guest appearance by Children’s Book Author Margie Harding and a kid’s action song led by Foundation Member, Tessa Braddy. The children then journey through a classroom rotation of several activities including a butterfly snack-craft project displaying the individuality and splendor of each one of them; two Caillou videos with discussion about being a good friend; reading the books ‘We Are All Alike… We Are All Different’ reinforcing multicultural and anti-bias learning and appreciation, and ‘Only One You’ about the deep love shared between a parent and their child along with painting fish rocks.
Gross motor activities Pillow Case Soccer, Foggy Glasses, Hula Hoop Bubbles and Seated Parachute Popcorn are enacted displaying a fun way of how someone with different abilities might participate in routine play.
Speech and Occupational Therapists demonstrate the use of devices to aid children who might use switch toys or a Dynavox to communicate, having them ask for a tootsie roll with the piece of equipment, and having them use their non-dominant hand to cut out a picture with a pair of scissors.
Dr. Seuss is quoted as saying, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Our foundation looks forward to spending time with the Kindergarteners and helping them realize that being You is wonderful and that we are all special in our own way.
It is our hope for this day that the Kindergartners learn through play the challenges that some children may face and absorb how to be understanding and compassionate towards them.
Kenadi was just a sweet little girl who wanted to be included and loved. Inclusion is the first and foremost philosophy that says that everyone belongs. Every child has value and has something to contribute. After all, isn’t this what we all want?
If you would like to become more involved with the many opportunities at the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation please email firstname.lastname@example.org.