Sandy Hook tragedy inspired lessons being utilized at Willow Creek to support social skills

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 11:01 PM CDT
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RIVERTON, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -

A curriculum that teaches empathy and social awareness was founded by family members of those lost in the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. Willow Creek Elementary School in Riverton is using the lessons this week.

“We are participating in ‘Start with Hello.’ It’s a program from Sandy Hook Promise that was created from those parents that had children that were victims of Sandy Hook. It really strikes a cord with me because I think it’s really important to make sure that kiddos feel like they are not isolated and alone. That’s one of the biggest contributing factors,” mentioned Aimee Fredrickson, the school’s social worker.

Throughout the week there are different dress up days that help the students to imagine what life is like for others, and to let them know they are seen and important. One of the days is camouflage day.

“During camo day they’re supposed to imagine what it feels like to be invisible and not seen. Part of our program is also to give them a conversation starter or a little bit of a challenge to do that day as well. So that day is to go around and to notice other kids that are feeling alone or might look alone, and then to go over and to say hello," noted Fredrickson.

Another aspect of the lessons is an art piece. The students interviewed their friends to learn how to start a conversation, then colored a picture of something that was important to their classmate. This is to teach the students how to interact with each other, and share something important with one another. This is the third year Willow Creek has participated in the ‘Start with Hello’ program.

Fredrickson said that any school can participate, it is a free program. They would just need to visit the website for more information.

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