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Shelley Gagne
Shelley Gagne
Clifton School Clifton School
Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB

Clifton school is a small school in a quiet, diverse neighbourhood. Last year my son started in the Nursery/Kindergarten class at Clifton school. There were no tears that first day and he walked in like a champ, or so we thought. As the week progressed we learned that every day he would go into the classroom and put his bag in his cubby and then proceed to sit in that cubby for the ENTIRE day. It was heartbreaking to think of him sitting there all alone, not joining in the activities with the other kids. But it turned out he wasn’t alone! He had the support of a whole school behind him. The teachers were amazing, checking in on him often but also giving him his space. The kids in his class looked out for him and would come over and try to include him in their play. Everyone, including teachers in other grades and even the principal, learned his name to make him feel welcome. This lasted for weeks!

Then one day, “Reading Buddies” came to his class. This is where kids from older grades come and read to the younger kids. My son’s “Reading Buddy” read him a story of a mouse’s first day of school. He was enthralled! That night he told me all about his “Reading Buddy” and the book he read to him. He was so excited! The next day, he went into that classroom, put his bag in his cubby and, for the first time, walked over and sat down on the mat for circle time with all the other kids. He has never looked back!

What struck me most about this experience was the sense of community we felt immediately at Clifton school. Everyone pulled together to help my son overcome his apprehension. But this was not an exception to the rule… every day the staff, the teachers, and the students at Clifton go out of their way to make everyone feel like part of their community. They are compassionate, supportive, and take pride in their work. Clifton may be a small school but it has a big heart!

I am writing this story to help this wonderful school expand their outdated library and in doing so, help future “Reading Buddies” to make a difference in another child’s life.


4e Manitoba

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