These good boys did not know they would inspire a recent class of junior kindergarten girls for journal writing, but they were happy to help! Dr. Ring's dogs' fun caper illustrates Hutchison's approach to early literacy and engaged learning.
“We sow somthing moov awtsid,” wrote four-year-old Elle, and indeed, she had! It was a crisp day in February and Tanya Crump’s junior kindergarten class stood at the window, enthralled by Bo and Charlie’s spontaneous excursion to campus. The teachers immediately spotted a journaling opportunity too good to pass up for their young emerging writers.
“We encourage their curiosity, that makes for a more meaningful and engaging learning experience,” said Elizabeth Jordan, Head of Early Childhood. In JK, the girls practice emergent writing and use journals to share their thoughts. “While we practice writing the letters correctly, we definitely use phonetic, emergent spelling in the journals. We are asking them to write what they hear,” Jordan said.
The girls work on early literacy throughout the year, a deliberate process that includes the “conventions of print” such as capital letters at the beginning, finger spacing between words, and proper punctuation at the end of a sentence. “As they continue to develop their phonemic awareness, they are more easily able to hear and write the beginning, the middle, and the end of a word,” Jordan said.
Did Bo and Charlie know that the girls had been working on their writing skills and decide to test the girls’ phonemic awareness? That remains a mystery, but we can confirm that the Head of School’s friendly canines, ubiquitous fixtures on Hutchison’s campus, provided the young writers some memorable journal entries.
“Our early childhood teachers embrace the teachable moments that land in our lap, like Bo and Charlie escaping. We know that when you are more curious and interested in the concept being taught, it will obviously be a more meaningful and engaging learning experience,” said Jordan. “That’s why we ask questions to figure out what interests the girls and try to plan our classroom environment to foster those interests.”
Watch the video below for samples of the girls' writing and what Dr. Ring said about the adventure and how our girls learned from it.