Contributed by Preschool Learning Architect Liz Aull
One of the guiding principles at the Mount Vernon School is the idea that relationships are foundational to learning. While that happens every day in the Preschool, one new relationship that has been forged this year is between the children and Conchetta Davis, a first-year Prekindergarten 4 Extended Play teacher. Known within the Preschool as beloved Ms. Chetta, she took the time recently to share something really special about herself with the children.
Ms. Chetta has low vision. Although low vision does not affect her work life, it does help her with a special superpower. In addition to being an Extended Play teacher, Ms. Chetta is a talented artist.
To commemorate Blindness Awareness month in October, as well as White Cane Awareness day on October 15, Ms. Chetta visited classrooms to explain what low vision means, as well as to share her artwork with children.
“Low vision means that I need some things to help me get around,” she shared. “Sometimes I use a monocular lens to help me see things. Other times I use a magnifying glass.” Ms. Chetta also showed the children the white cane she uses to help her navigate unfamiliar territory. The children were able to explore the monocular lens and magnifying glass for hands-on experience.
One of the ways Ms. Chetta creates art is by using her white cane to paint! After showing one of her paintings to the preschoolers, she shared that much of her artwork has a multi-sensory aspect. “Some of my friends who have low vision can’t see my paintings. I add glitter and other items that they can touch so that they can experience the artwork too.” The children were excited to have the opportunity to touch her work.
The best part of her presentation was actually getting to paint! Ms. Chetta set up a canvas and bowls of paint on the floor. Children got to use her white cane to create a collaborative painting and added a 3D element with the help of glitter.
Since the Preschool takes seriously the idea that empathy influences learning, we were thrilled to welcome Ms. Chetta and her artwork into our classrooms. Thanks to her, everyone has a better understanding of what low vision is, and how it does not define all aspects of her life. We are also so excited to learn about and share Ms. Chetta’s artistic superpower!