Nora Project Builds Friendships, Empathy

Nora Project Builds Friendships, Empathy
Posted on 05/21/2019
Students celebrate world premiere of Nora Project videos.

Fourth- and fifth-grade students at Meadowbrook School experienced the true meaning of friendship as they developed empathy and understanding for students with disabilities through a year of activities.

The students with disabilities spend time in typical classrooms as much as possible during their school day, but this year they had an opportunity to further expand their social circle. Following the model established by the national organization The Nora Project, typically developing students were introduced to students with disabilities from other classrooms. The classroom students spent time with their ‘Nora’ friends, learning about their disability, planning activities together and interviewing the students’ parents.

Fifth-grade teacher Jess Lifshitz and fourth-grade teacher Katy Wetter led the program, and coordinated classroom visits for the students with disabilities, some of whom traveled from other schools.

“They learned what it means to be a friend and how many ‘sames’ and ‘differences’ exist in all of us,” said Nora Geraghty, assistant director of student services who introduced the program.

The project culminated with Nora Night, when videos produced by each classroom featuring the students with disabilities are shown to parents and friends. Six students with disabilities were featured in separate videos on May 15.

“I don’t think I realized how much every child would gain from the project,” Ms. Lifshitz said. “Everybody learned so much about being a better friend and doing a better job thinking of others before themselves. It was beautiful to watch.”

She plans to continue the project next year with hopes of more classrooms joining the effort.


Pictured above: Nico Mueller is surrounded by her new fifth-grade friends: Natalie Wayne, Samantha Jacobs, Emma McGough, Olivia Izenstark, Jake Wetter and Noa Levin. 

 Jack Foster with his 'Nora' friends at Nora Night

Photo 2: Jack Foster is surrounded by his 'Nora' friends, from left, Noah Warner, Janey Seay, Payton Walker, and Sami Abrams and Jax Scibor, his kindergarten friend.

Watch the 'Nora Project' videos about each student with disabilities