The early childhood language and literacy curriculum builds upon existing skills to create a community of active and interested communicators. Teachers model language though talking and listening, repeating, rephrasing, pointing to pictures while reading and using props as visual or kinesthetic aids to help build children’s vocabularies and listening comprehension. Reading aloud rhyming poems and stories with predictable patterns help children develop their ability to hear the differences between letter sounds.
Pre-writing opportunities are abundant as children engage in activities such as painting, drawing and sculpting. When a teacher records children’s words about their artwork, their responses to a question, or reads a menu in the kitchen area, children become aware of the purpose of print. Children often transition to making their own “words” by a scribble, stream of letters or even inventive spelling. Exposing young children to all aspects of language helps lay the foundation for the future reading and writing readiness.
In the elementary and middle school grades, Lesley Ellis builds on the groundwork laid in the early childhood years to help children grow into powerful communicators – confident readers, agile writers and self-assured speakers.
Students are involved in an array of reading and writing activities throughout the day. Some of these activities are connected to ongoing classroom themes and others are designed to help develop proficiency in specific skill areas. Activities during the day might include writing workshops, journaling and small reading groups. Literacy is also integrated into many other aspects of the school day including meetings, art, science, math and social studies.
Lesley Ellis students are also encouraged to take part in our multitude of public speaking activities, from poetry reading to plays to school assemblies. These opportunities culminate in the speeches given by our graduating students, which are perhaps the most persuasive – and moving – evidence of the effectiveness of the Lesley Ellis language and literacy curriculum.