This Dad Turned His Classroom Into A Playground For His Daughter

This Dad Turned His Classroom Into A Playground For His Daughter

Courtesy of Eric Mansfield/Instagram

In September, a Pennsylvania high school English teacher who already had two sons excitedly posed with his third for a social media post. Like most engaged fathers, Eric Mansfield decided that Monday was the perfect time to bond with his young one on what is typically his “boring” day at school.

But that had the opposite effect for two students who watched as Mansfield ― who already saw his teenage son each day at school as he headed there to teach English and math to seventh and eighth graders ― took his daughter, who was about 4 years old at the time, to lunch or to music class. “She was all smiles and jumping around as I sat there interacting with her,” he told The Huffington Post. “This was a different moment from the last time I took her out of class.”

The year before, however, the Pennsylvania teacher of 15 years felt helpless when one of his students asked to take a photograph for his Facebook page with what seemed like a lot of difficulty. “When she realized what I’d done, she became very upset,” Mansfield said. “She had a legitimate reason for feeling upset. She is disabled, and every day I have to alter her schedule to ensure she has more than one teacher available to assist her as much as possible.”

His solution was to give her her own space. He handed her the iPad and told her she could explore whatever she wants. “It was an amazing experience to watch her face light up when she realized I valued her as a child,” he said.

Courtesy of Eric Mansfield/Instagram

Mansfield hasn’t just helped his students to see each other for the child that they are, he wants them to recognize that parents matter just as much as the other adults in their lives.

“For me, this is about helping to shield children from negative expectations of the parent,” he said. “I want them to know that when parents make room for their own curiosity or enthusiasm, they defend it for children. It helps children to see that the world is full of infinite possibilities.”

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