MANCHESTER – No child ever wants to feel left out. The students at Ridgeway received a gift that not only put the biggest smiles on their faces, but made them feel included in the world.
At Ridgeway Elementary School, the kindergartens were all gifted dolls that looked exactly them.
When Crystal Policastro acquired a $233 grant from Donors Choose, she knew exactly what she was putting that money towards. Policastro and her co-teacher Francine Allman teach a total of 18 children. Some of her students have hearing aids, glasses and wheelchairs, and the grant allowed her to purchase dolls that have all these adaptive accessories.
“Some of my students have disabilities and wear adaptive accessories that help them hear and see. Unfortunately, the dolls and materials we have in school don’t look like them. Getting hearing aids, glasses and a wheelchair will help students feel included and improve their self-image about their handicaps. Kindergarten students are at a crucial time where they learn through play. We have various play centers including a dramatic play center. The one piece that it is missing is realistic dolls and accessories that look like them. I am hoping that the children that are playing with them will learn that everyone is different and that is okay,” Policatro stated.
With her vision coming to life, Policastro and Allman are overwhelmed with joy and love with how much this project means to them and their students.
“From year to year, we get students who don’t all look alike and need different things to help them be successful in school and in life. As soon as these play materials were introduced to my students one said, ‘This doll looks just like me!’ At that moment I knew that this was such an impactful project. I am so thankful for your generosity and supporting such a special project that is close to my heart,”