A Newsletter that Gives Children a Voice
It is nearly the end of the school day in the Miquon Kindergarten. Kindergartners and teachers come together on the rug one last time. This is the time of the day when Kindergartners reflect upon all that happened during their day. We process the activities as a group. Taking turns, the children share what they did or what happened during the course of the day, and the conversation pours out. Their information includes everything from Choice time activities, explorations and games they played, who they played with and what new games they invented, who celebrated a birthday, who learned to climb a tree today, who lost a tooth and other personal successes, and of course the many curricular details encountered throughout the day. By Friday, we have a full picture of what happened in the Kindergarten all week, mostly from the children’s perspective. On occasion the teachers share a piece of information for the newsletter, too.
The important contemplative, reflective time at the end of each day reinforces and solidifies the new knowledge they have gained.
In creating the Kindergarten newsletter, we are giving each child a voice as they practice their storytelling and assigning of value to the day’s activities. Moreover, the newsletter process affords children the important contemplative, reflective time at the end of each day — which serves to reinforce and solidify the new knowledge they have gained.
With a week’s worth of information (dictated from the children to the teachers), the Kindergarten newsletter is typed, printed, and then it goes back to the children for illustrating on Monday morning. The children select one or two entries from each day to illustrate and take turns creating drawings that match the text. By Monday afternoon, the Kindergarten Newsletter is completed with the text and illustrations. It is copied and pinned to the children’s backpacks, ready to go home with all the news from the previous week.
The newsletter highlights the parts of the day and the activities that matter most to the children. Play is the work of a Kindergartner, and each week, and their newsletter clearly reflects this truth.
Time and time again, we hear tales of the early literacy and numeracy work that comes out of building, innovating, imagining, dreaming, and solving problems.
When the children speak about their day, they are developing their voice. In sharing their information, they are also sharing their own unique, individual perspectives with one another. They are practicing using expressive and receptive language, and processing another person’s perspective — even when it is learning about a new game, or a new place to look for frogs. They may learn that another group of children is having fun and they want to join that group, increasing their social connections.
Not just a meaningful learning tool for Kindergartners, the newsletter is also an important vehicle for the children (and the teachers) to share classroom information with families.
Parents learn about what is going on in school — what their children are studying, what they are playing and who they are playing with. The newsletter comes home in printed form with the intentional purpose for parents to use it as a conversation starter with their children. Sharing the piece in a personal, face-to-face conversation demonstrates that the parent values the experiences that matter most to the child. Asking children to add more details to specific news items creates an atmosphere that is so much more conducive to dialogue than the standard, “What did you do today?” In this way, we hope to involve parents with all the learning that happens in the Miquon Kindergarten.