As a result of EEM placing Bibles in public schools in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, we had a follow-up visit to a kindergarten whose leaders had requested and completed the Bible-based character curriculum seminar. This kindergarten, with the help of character curriculum, is doing something revolutionary in their classrooms as they teach students to love and treat others with kindness, especially those with developmental delays.
Olga, the principal of the school, led us on a tour and introduced us to several teachers and students. More than 300 students performed a mesmerizing choreographed dance to several songs, the performance concluded with each of the young performers presenting us with hand-drawn pictures. Many of us were tearful as these children showed us much love and respect.
Following the performance, we shared refreshments with Olga and other school leaders. They impressed upon us their gratitude because the Character Curriculum Seminar reinforced the belief that character must be taught at a formative age. At this young age (kindergarten), the mind and heart can be so powerfully shaped and prepared for the future.
Leaders also spoke of the integration of a number of “Sunny Students”—students with developmental delays—into their schools. The successful integration of these developmentally delayed students has been greatly influenced by the Character Curriculum. Very few institutions have been able to do this successfully.
All the teachers have been amazed at how the other students have treated the Sunny Students with such acceptance and kindness, even looking out for their individual needs. This is not typical behavior among students in Ukraine’s schools. In response to our awe of the love being shown, Olga said, “How else can you teach mercy?”