Kindergarten students at St. Kateri School celebrated World Down Syndrome Day.

“We have students who have Down syndrome in our school and so what we do is we celebrate our differences and we celebrate what makes each one of us unique,” said Ida Poulin, St. Kateri School principal.

Five-year-old Jordan Grace, a kindergarten student at the school, has Down syndrome.

“So she has a different ability and I think it’s important to have inclusion in the classrooms, in the park, everywhere in the world, in the workforce, everywhere and it starts as children,” said Maria Jordan Mackeigan, Jordan Grace’s mother.

Jordan Grace

Jordan Grace is not only well known in her class, but throughout the entire school.

“She’s full of life and she just welcomes everybody. She doesn’t have any judgment for anybody no matter what race or what religion you are she doesn’t care, she just cares that you’re a person who accepts her,” said Mackeigan.

Mackeigan fought back tears as she talked about how difficult it was initially sending her daughter to school.

“It was extremely difficult. As a parent when you’re told that your child will not be able to dress herself or feed herself it brings you into some kind of darkness so when they accepted her and welcomed her, my heart has been settled you know because they love her just the way she is.”

“She’s treated with respect, she’s included in all the daily activities, she’s treated like everybody else,” Mackeigan added.

“That makes me feel wonderful, it makes me feel that we’re doing the right thing,” said Poulin.

St. Kateri School

She said students at St. Kateri are taught through differentiated instruction to ensure inclusivity.

“The children are with us for a very long period of the day so this is their second home and they need to feel safe and cared for and they need to feel their differences, their uniqueness is a positive thing,” she said.

“We want to ensure that each of our children succeeds and will be successful.”

Kindergarten teacher Sabatini Moses said Jordan Grace is making a difference at the school.

“She teaches everyone a little bit of a lesson on empathy and kindness and love and friendship too.”

“She just reminds us that we need to slow down and smile and stop and smell the roses, and just enjoy life,” Moses added.