Expressive Language & Written Language
Expressive and Written Language is fostered in SEE Every Child as children use their own voices, written words, or illustrations to describe experiences, tell stories, and communicate information. The following strategies support children’s understanding of written symbols and print in the environment, and support them to generate their own writing as they learn about content, communicate to others, and develop their identities as authors.
Journaling is an ongoing practice in SEE classrooms. Providing each child with their own journal offers a recurring structure for drawing, dictating, and writing stories about themselves or stories they invent, things that happened in their lives, or ideas they want to share.
Class books can be created based on storybooks, class walks or outings, children’s lives and interests, etc.
Storytelling and Story Acting
Storytelling and Story Acting, a practice inspired by the work of Vivian Gussin Paley (Cooper, 2011; Paley, 1997), involves children dictating stories completely of their choosing, and then acting out these stories together as a class. This practice has numerous benefits, including supporting narrative and vocabulary development, teaching concepts of print, bringing children’s funds of knowledge into the classroom, and fostering a sense of community and belonging.
Environmental Print, such as picture schedules, labels, signs, charts, and daily morning messages are all important models of print that are of interest to children and accessible to them in the classroom environment. Involve children in creating and reading these many rich sources of print that holds meaning they care about.
In the classroom Message Center, children write small messages to each other and to family and friends. A miniature post-office encourages children to send messages, and to apply their developing expertise as new writers to a motivating, authentic, and playful endeavor.