”Oh my gosh!”, said a very concerned teacher in Dallas, Texas. “Why are you crying?” she asked the sobbing five-year-old kindergarten student as she hugged him and rubbed his back ever-so-gently.
His little shoulders shook. The music stopped. All of the other students looked on with concern. The stage was set for alarm. But it was not to be. What he said next sent shockwaves throughout the entire school. “That song… that song… that.. that song we just sang - Señor Burro I Love You,” said the sobbing kindergarten student (describing of one of Jemima’s Playhouse’s signature songs), “was so beautiful, it made me cry!” And then he smiled through his tears.
This caused a collective sigh to go out: The kindergarten student’s tears were tears of joy! This was quickly followed by a profound realization here was no need for alarm. No reason for concern.
A spontaneous outburst of nervous laughter erupted throughout the entire school. It was almost eerie. All of the teachers were shocked. Usually, crying signaled a severe problem. A cause for alarm; and for collective remedial action. But here they were - in unfamiliar territory. They simply could not believe that a student could feel such emotions from an experience. This made them look at Jemima’s Playhouse in a totally different light.
Mr. Tyrone of Jemima’s Playhouse sought to add some context. “We see 20,000 students a week in Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas,” he explained. “We always felt great confidence in the uniqueness of our proprietary characters, our lesson plans and our proprietary songs; but this is the first time in our experience to see a student cry tears of joy!”
Clearly, this was a watershed moment for Jemima’s Playhouse. It was a moment which revealed the impact of its “Cultural Appreciation” method. Jemima’s Playhouse’s goal is for the music and stories to touch the students so much that they are entertained while they are learning. Through the tears of joy of just one student, Jemima’s Playhouse’s has been able to meet – and exceed – its goal!