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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Not just a documentary

Author: TheatreNerd from United States
29 January 2005

What everyone needs to remember is that there was so much more to his life than what was seen on film. The town this documentary takes place in is very small and he was the first of many students to try this new approach to education. With that being said, I know Peter. I was in fifth grade when this was filmed and i went to that school. Not only that, he lived in my neighborhood. To me and to the rest of the students at GLE, seeing peter overcome such obstacles was an everyday occurrence. I haven't seen the movie graduating peter, but i did see the actual ceremony. For the record, Peter ended up excelling so well that he actually graduated a year after I did.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

What a documentary should be like

Author: ron-121
27 May 2004

Educating Peter is the Academy Award winning documentary of the experiences of a grade school child with a special handicap . Not many documentaries focus on what it is like to live with Down's Syndrome , and these filmmakers do a commendable job .

Worth noting is the reaction Peter has to his classmates , as well as his classmates interaction with him . The trials , tribulations and yes , dare I say it , funny moments . An endearing scene was when Peter drop kicks little Kenny Kerr right in the face during a gym class , and regrets what he did , exclaiming in his heartfelt way ( with a little encouragement from his teacher ) , " sorry " . Magical .

I highly recommend this to anyone .

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Well deserved of an Oscar

Author: K C from United States
4 June 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's a difficult topic shown without restraint. A boy with Down Syndrome is placed into a standard education class with other students who understandably are not trained in the ways of dealing with people with special needs. It is eye-opening to see his peers, themselves just boys and girls, with great patience and understanding.

I think the sequel, Graduating Peter [2001] is a well made companion to Peter's young life. In a selfish way I would hope to see how Peter is continuing on his life, in a future installment.

The two films are both endearing and honest, sometimes brutally as another reviewer mentioned, when Peter kicks a boy in the face, for example, then realizes what he's done is wrong and befriends that same boy. I found them to be inspiring in many ways.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Inclusion in our classrooms

Author: dabudooya from United States
8 February 2008

The filmmakers of this movie did a great job in showing the amount of time and attention that is attributed to students who are mentally challenged and the real cost it is to the other children. I liked this movie because it is not sugar coated, as many are, in dealing with special needs children. Peter is allowed to hit and scream and act up. while the teacher has to stop what she is doing to calm him down. The injured child is supposed to learn something from this experience. I believe it is tolerance. I have worked in Special Education for many years and taken care of and loved some of these special kids. I had an aunt that passed away a short time ago at the age of 80, who had the mind of a 4 year old. She was one of the greatest people I have ever known. She would always say, "I'm as happy as I want to be". I believe, as many teachers do, that inclusion is non-productive for these children and children who are not special. The idea being that having these kids in the classroom is disruptive and frustrating. The documentary shows that in an unfiltered view. As if, you were sitting with them in the classroom. Whether you believe in inclusion or not, everyone should see this film. I have been promoting it for years. Even before it got it's Oscar. There is a huge difference between the physically challenged and the mentally challenged and the ones that are both. You can not create a classroom conducive to learning academics, when the lessons being learned are. that people are different and sometimes very difficult. Sharing the arts with them and free time could be better used for that purpose. I believe the film demonstrates all these points and more. I don't think that was their intention but, I do think it does open your eyes to what you would not see otherwise. But, you must see it to form your own opinions. If you have children in the public school system or not, whether you are a teacher or a parent, whether you have children disabled or not, you should see this documentary. I highly recommend it. This is my opinion.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Peter serves as inspiration for us all

Author: Christopher Fontana ( from New York, NY
7 February 1999

"Educating Peter" is an enlightening and informative look into the life of a child affected by Downs Syndrome.

It's fun to watch as Peter adapts to his new school and learns to interact with other children, and it seems as though they learn as much from him as he does from them. His zany misadventures with his classmates serve as moments of laughter because all of us wish, at times, we could be as care-free as Peter.

This Academy Award winning documentary should be seen by everyone; it is unforgettable and Peter will provide a topic of discussion for a long time to come.

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Integration of an autistic boy at school

Author: Thomas ( from Berlin, Germany
25 April 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Educating Peter" is a half-minute documentary movie from almost 25 years ago starring Peter Gwazdauskas, a boy who suffers from Down Syndrome. People made the decision to take him out of an education with other student who also have Down Syndrome and instead make an attempt to integrate him in a school where you and I went to and this is all this 29-minute documentary is about. I must say its biggest strength is probably that it feels really authentic. Of course, Peter isn't acting, but I also never felt that any of the scenes (or at least not the majority) were scripted and the people were told what to do and what to say. This one won Thomas C. Goodwin and Geraldine Wurzburg an Academy Award. If you enjoyed it, check out the sequel "Graduating Peter" or Wurzburg's "Autism is a World". As for "Educating Peter", I give it a thumbs-up. This is one of the best documentaries from the early 1990s and I personally felt it looked very retro, certainly older than it actually is.

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all disabilities need to get understood

Author: Lee Eisenberg ( from Portland, Oregon, USA
30 January 2016

Geraldine Wurzburg's Oscar-winning "Educating Peter" focuses on a boy afflicted with Down's syndrome, and how he tries to overcome it in his school. Despite Peter's occasional outbursts, his teacher and classmates do what they can to help him. It's safe to say that while a lot of people see the Oscar-winning feature films, not enough people see the documentaries (and they're the important nominees). "Educating Peter" is an example of a documentary that everyone should see. It reminds us that despite our differences, deep down we're all human. Indeed, people with Down's will likely suffer a lot of bullying. Whatever can get done to raise awareness about this needs to get done. This documentary is a good starting place.

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This should be a cautionary tale

Author: Science-rules from United States
23 September 2015

I would be furious if my child's education was so disrupted.

Why is Peter's education more important than the rest of the class combined?

We would never tolerate any of the other children smacking another with their lunch box. Why does he get to do that?

If this system is like many others the students in that class will get to enjoy Peter's presence for many years.

How was it decided that the reduction in quality of their lives and their productivity is acceptable?

In an era of shrinking resources, the money spent to deal with this child detracts from what is available for the others.

Imagine how much any of the other kids could accomplish if they had a dedicated handler and this kind of support.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"Let's go, Peter, let's go!"

Author: evening1 from United States
10 May 2014

This brief film takes a look at one of the 60,000 children with Down Syndrome who attend mainstream classes at elementary schools throughout United States.

Bespectacled, stocky Peter, whose tongue often protrudes, clearly has intelligence. He can say parts of the Pledge of Allegiance, seems to understand what is said to him, and knows people's names.

Early in his third-grade year, at a school somewhere in the South, he is quite disruptive and I couldn't see how his presence was fair to his classmates. It also seemed unfair for Peter to be receiving so much negative attention. I wondered why his parents, who are quoted and filmed briefly, wanted to put him through all this.

But educational theory would predict that Peter would learn a lot more in an environment that is advanced for him, and he has a right to learn with more normal peers thanks to federal legislation. So the other kids in class must pause from their activities when Peter grabs a violin or pushes a boy who's putting a game away.

His teacher focuses on helping Peter to maintain attention, not necessarily keep up academically. Over time she's able to shift that emphasis as Peter's behavior gradually improves.

Has Peter's presence held his classmates back? We don't find out, and that's a pretty egregious omission. However, it is suggested that his peers have become more nurturing and empathic. One boy who Peter had garroted says Peter is now one of his best friends.

"He changed because we changed," says an articulate girl in the class. "We changed our minds about him. He changed because we helped him."

"They have learned to accept another child who's not exactly like them," says the teacher, adding that if she could teach Peter in 4th grade, she would jump at the chance.

I watched "Educating Peter" with my 11-year-old son, who remained interested throughout. When I asked if he'd have liked to have Peter in his class, he said yes. But when I asked him to tell me why, he was mum.

My hunch is that my son, who sometimes gets bored in class, would have empathy for Peter and view him as an interesting distraction.

I'm glad I saw this because it definitely gets one thinking.

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