Six-year-old Emerson is a fun, feisty, funny, slightly sassy, smiley, recently-promoted-from-kindergarten, girl who likes Trolls, swimming, reading, and riding horses, and also happens to have cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Emerson actively crushes assumptions about what a little girl in a wheelchair who is non-verbal is like. She even grabbed Senator Kamala Harris’s attention when Sen. Harris was fighting to save the ACA and Medi-Cal.
Photographs care of Dawn Hamilton, emmyisastar on IG, and EmmyIsAStar on FB
At CHIME Charter School, Emerson learns alongside her peers and performs at grade level in a fully-inclusive general education classroom. Her mother Dawn enrolled Emerson at CHIME because, as she says, “CHIME believed in her capabilities and presumed her competence.” The folks at CHIME understand that significant motor-skill challenges do not equate with intellectual deficiencies. This is not just good news for Emerson, though—it’s good news for all her classmates, too! Test scores and studies have shown that outcomes for all students are best when all students learn in an inclusive environment. Imagine if we all learned and played alongside people of different needs, learning abilities, and backgrounds from infancy on up!
CHIME Charter School’s instructional model demonstrates what we here at PLAE understand and champion as part of our design ethos, too: all kids—and indeed all of us adults—want to be understood, accepted, and loved.
Emerson is an ambassador of acceptance and empathy, and we salute her, her vocal and engaged family, and her teachers and administrators at CHIME Charter School. Want to metaphorically salute them, too? You can—just PLAE-it-forward! PLAE will donate 10% of each purchase made using checkout code GIVE322 to CHIME Charter School. Since codes never expire, you can give back every time your child needs new shoes for learning, playing, and having wild adventures. Shop now to earn a donation.