In one Minnetonka, Minnesota, kindergarten classroom, the children chose “loving” as their one-word resolution for 2022. And as a now-viral photo snapped during a lesson on Martin Luther King Jr. shows, the students are living that message of love in the best way they know how.
“We were watching a video — "My First Biography Scholastic Read-Aloud" — about Martin Luther King Jr. It was read aloud on Youtube by Ms. Clark’s Reading Corner with added footage of MLK,” Gatewood Elementary School kindergarten teacher Katie Schmidt told TODAY. “Earlier in the week we had a discussion about what they already knew about MLK and we read a book, so they knew a little about him.”
The story, Schmidt said, was “simply written and very age-appropriate.” The students took the lesson to heart.
As they watched the footage of Martin Luther King Jr., a Black child and a white child embraced. Special education paraprofessional Line Kuether caught the moment on camera.
“It was such a profound moment that brought tears to our eyes,” said Schmidt. “We felt it should be captured. It was so beautiful and our staff is so committed to embracing diversity that we shared it with our staff. From there, our principal saw its beauty, then the district and now apparently, the world.”
The photo has been shared on Facebook more than 80,000 times.
The teachers told TODAY that social-emotional learning is a top priority in their classroom. In addition to being loving toward one another, the school as a whole focuses on kindness.
As the teachers provide lessons to the children, the kids are also teaching the adults at Gatewood Elementary.
“The two of us [were] reminded of the empathy children have and how they are capable of sharing innocence and friendship,” Schmidt said.