Every Friday, Josie knows that Layla will come to the kindergarten classroom to take her to Mass. She gets a hug, and then with a big smile, she takes Layla’s hand.
The two sit together in church, where Layla guides Josie in what behavior is expected and appropriate. The older scholars provide a reassuring presence for the littlest children new to the school, and they work together on various projects throughout the school year. The relationship benefits both scholars, Principal Terese Shimshock says. The older scholars get leadership experience, and the kindergartners get an immediate mentor and built-in friend.
“Josie always comes to me right away,” Layla said. “She likes to sit by me.”
Josie looks up to Layla and soaks up everything she teaches her. “She teaches me dance moves and how to be on my tippy toes,” Josie said. “She is kind and gives me hugs when I am sad. She doesn’t live with me, though. She lives with someone else.”
She had one more thing to add: “I like best how she loves me, and I love her.”