Welcome to a stream of ideas as I venture on a journey to develop young writers. This blog will be influenced by my current reading list, conferences, colleagues, your comments and of course the students I work with each day. The connection between all forms of early literacy will also frequent the blog and their importance in the writing process for young learners.
I've been in this, what feels like a tank of "think," for over two weeks now. I realize I am always thinking and processing, reflecting all those things. This is different though. It's like I can't turn it off. Writing it down doesn't even help, it looms, it weaves its way right back in, maybe even stronger. I'm usually pretty good at turning things off and detaching from my thoughts, a good and bad trait. These are strong though and on top of it people have questions about them. Which now has me even deeper inside myself processing my opinions and ideas. See, I'm in the planning stages of working on some posts about preschool writing, a topic I haven't written about a whole lot. I've done much more work writing about kindergarten and though the two are fairly similar to most people, I realize they are different animals altogether. Preschool is not a watered down version of kindergarten. It is something set apart and different from every other grade level. Unless you have walked into a preschool classroom recently (or ever frankly) you might not realize how different. What bothers me even more is there is a push, a heavy push, to make it more academic...I should say this differently. The problem with more academic is that it already is academic. Play is the work of preschoolers. There is a lot that can be intentionally woven in that looks more academic to someone that doesn't understand. Preschool teachers are geniuses when it comes to making play intentional, but we don't trust them. It scares me what may become of preschoolers and their foundations. How are we to create students who love learning if we start putting flash cards in their face to make words? (To be clear, flash cards are not the enemy, but they are not the answer either). How do we encourage a love of writing if we are pushing students into letter formation and getting a letter on the page before it carries meaning? Why not create meaning through talking, drawing, playing, experimenting, failing, struggling and coming around to success? Why don't we recognize these struggles and failures as learning? We only see it as "not good enough." I hope if you know a preschool teacher you will direct them to my posts in February at TWT. Mostly because I want to inspire them to stay strong and not give up on what they know is right. I want to give them a resource to ideas and developmental practices that create budding writers, not children who robotically put letters on paper to please the teacher's critics. Ah, that felt good, thanks for listening. Now off to work on this more as I organize my ideas and prepare for teaching some preschoolers to love words and writing. And here I didn't think I had a slice yet today. This one has become a whole bunch of segments ready to be peeled and separated! :)