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'Someone is on their side.' Why these kindergartners start each day with a handshake


Ashley Taylor loves her "littles."

She's been teaching for 18 years, and her "littles" are her kindergartners at Keene Elementary School in North Texas, about 30 miles south of Fort Worth.

But the heartwarming video from her classroom this week isn't just about a teacher's love for her students.

It shows her class's morning routine. Each student takes a turn being the "greeter," and they do something small that Taylor hopes makes a powerful difference in her "littles"' development.

They look each other in the eye, give each other a firm handshake and a smile, and say "hello." Sometimes they even get in there for a hug.

"When I see the direction the world is heading, it reminds me what I am doing WILL make a difference!" Taylor wrote in a caption when she posted the video on Facebook.

The video shows Asher Bales greeting his classmates, one-by-one at the door Monday. Taylor said Asher has overcome health issues and a lot of verbal barriers this school year, but now he owns the morning routine and has more confidence in himself.

The morning routine teaches Asher and the rest of the class not only manners, but that "someone is on their side."

Taylor also thinks about it on another level — a very real-life level.

"The school shootings have been a real eye opener," Taylor told McClatchy. "Maybe if some of those kids had felt like someone was on their side, things would have happened differently. I understand there are lots of factors that play into those situations. But what if, you know?"

She believes each of her "littles" deserves a classroom where they know they are accepted and have friends.

"Sadly, lots of kids (of all ages) come to school looking for that positive interaction that they may not have experienced at home," Taylor said. "Life can be hard for kids but it shouldn’t be at school!"

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