MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Now we're going to return to the series we're bringing you all summer long. This August will mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech. In recognition, we've been asking you for some of your dreams, big hopes, small wishes, visions you have for the future of the country or yourself.
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MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: I have a dream...
TERRI CLIFFORD: As a kindergarten teacher in a Texas public school, my dream is for our country to begin to value our youngest members of society.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Because everyone deserves a beautiful destiny. It's a right bound by heart and soul, written in blood by every human being with an admiral heart.
MARTIN: Today we hear from Terri Clifford. She's a kindergarten teacher in Texas who wants more educators and parents to realize just how much young children learn when they have the time and space to just play. It's something she saw firsthand on a recent field trip.
CLIFFORD: After we were done with the field trip, it was at a botanical garden. And we went to their playground, and about 30 minutes into the playing on the playground, we noticed that the kids had kind of set up their own economy. There was this little archway underneath one of the slides and walkways, and they had set it up. They were making tacos. One of the children were retrieving these big leaves that had fallen off the trees, that were on the ground. They were filling the leaves with mulch.
There were some kids who were advertising. There were some kids who were rounding up other materials to make other foods to sell. And it was quite a little economy they had going. And they were working out their problems, and they were all helping each other and working together. And other kindergarten teachers - and we just went, this is it, this is exactly what they need, random materials and time. It was a beautiful thing.
MARTIN: That was Texas kindergarten teacher Terri Clifford sharing her dream. Now we'd like to hear yours. You can tweet us @TellMeMoreNPR, along with your local member station, using the hashtag #MyDream, or send over a longer audio or video piece to TellMeMore@npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.