Family Literacy Day is celebrated on January 25th each year with the purpose of raising awareness about the importance of literacy and how to embrace literacy as a family through reading and literacy-related activities. I thought I might take a moment to focus on literacy and family connections this month since February holds a plenitude of celebrations of love and family, literacy and history, tradition and religion.
When I was 11 years old, I found a poetry book at the library called Hold Fast to Dreams. I read every poem in this book, over and over, and kept renewing it until, at the end of the school year, the librarian let me keep it because I loved it so much. I was quite drawn to the poetry of Langston Hughes. He was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. Since February also marks Black History Month, and we’re talking about literacy, I thought I would share one of his poems. This is my favourite poem!
I Dream A World
By Langston Hughes
I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom's way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world!
I was a child when I first read that poem. More than 30 years later, it still has the same effect as it did the first time I read it. Its message is powerful and impactful! I’m sure we call all look back and reminisce on literature we loved, the moments we loved literature, how we loved to engage in or with literature, and who we loved literature with.
What does How Does Learning Happen: Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years suggest about literacy?
“Opportunities for children to explore language and literacy through play contribute to their development of strong language and cognitive abilities in both the short and the long term. Programs can best support emerging literacy skills by providing open-ended materials that foster imagination and symbolic play, including signs, symbols, and props that support print awareness in authentic contexts; by encouraging children to engage in play with words and sounds in song and rhyme; and by offering numerous opportunities for children to share books and stories.”
It also suggests educators; “Support children’s language and literacy development throughout the environment (e.g., recall and retell past events; revisit documentation with children; place familiar print materials and books in different areas to spark ideas for play and exploration – for example, cookbooks in the kitchen area, architectural photos as a resource for construction projects; encourage children and families to create their own books and stories to share with each other).”
Visit http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/ExcerptsFromELECT.pdf to find out more information about the Communication Language and Literacy domain. These skills, indicators and suggested interactions are what we as educators use to identify children’s emerging skills and plan for to further support children’s development. (Infant-pages 20-21, Toddler-page 32, Preschool/Kindergarten-pages 42-45, School Age-pages 57-58)
Reading together is one of the most valuable interactions parents can have with their children daily. Not only does reading together support children’s communication, language and literacy development, it’s an opportunity to bond, show attention and affection, ask questions, consider concepts from varying perspectives, support emotional regulation, and develop cognitive skills. Everyone has their own special reading routines, but a story before bed is always a delight! I’ve shared below a few favourite stories that my daughter and I have loved to read together.
I’d love to see you all, parents and educators alike, respond back to this blog by commenting on the Facebook post and share your favourite stories and the experiences that go along with them! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and, with your consent, I’ll post a collaborative share of those responses!
When I Was Little; A Four-Year Old’s Memoir of Her Youth by Jamie Lee Curtis
This is a beautifully illustrated story about a young girl sharing her life experience and comparing what it was like to be “little” compared to now being “big” at 4 years old. Actually, all of Jamie Lee Curtis’ children’s books are amazing! Each has beautiful rhythm and illustrations, impactful messages, and leave you with thoughts to reflect on which feed great conversation and engagement with your child.
Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash by Sarah Weeks
This book is vibrant and hilarious with a great rhyming scheme! I made paper copies of each of the items that Mrs. McNosh hangs up in the story, and let my daughter hang them with clothes pegs on a line of twine as we read along. Super fun and silly!
Stephanie’s Ponytail by Robert Munsch
This is another book that will have you and your child laughing together. Kids love Robert Munsch books because they are funny, have great rhythm, and a hint of adult humour! There are always parts in the books where you are drawn to emphasize… “It’s MY ponytail, and I LIKE it!” I also loved that this book sends the message that it’s okay to dare to be original and to be proud of one’s personal identity, despite the opinions of others. My daughter and I had the good fortune to receive tickets to see Robert Munsch live on stage engaging the audience with his signature story-telling! We also visited Toronto’s Solar Stage Theatre on occasion, which often put on a medley of short plays based on his books…fun and engaging to say the least! Robert Munsch has written numerous stories that are adored by all…it’s rather hard to choose a favourite!
Just a few additional notes from the office:
If you are requiring full-day care on the strike days, please ensure you contact me in advance to register your child.
If you haven’t already, please ensure you review your child’s Vital Information Report and update any information that requires updating
PA day February 14th – please inform the educators in your child’s room, in advance, if you require care
We will be opening a third preschool room in response to the care needs of the community… feel free to spread the word to friends and neighbours looking for care for children 2.5-4 years old! I anticipate the room will be operating in March.
Communication will continue to be sent periodically to parent emails… please regularly check your junk mail if you have not been receiving email communication in your inbox.
Thank you to all the parents and community members that have responded to our requests for donations over the last few months…we are ever so grateful for the supplies, books, strollers, infant equipment, recycled materials, clothing, and even laptops that have been donated to the centre!