Documentation is a fantastic way to share learning and acts as a window for parents, staff and the school community. Full Day Kindergarten still holds many questions for lots of people;
Are the children just playing?
How is my child learning?
How will children in the Full Day Kindergarten Program be ready for grade 1?
These questions are just a few. Many parents just embarking with their child in phase 3 have very little understanding of what is happening in the classroom when parental involvement is limited. Newsletters are a wonderful tool to help answer some of those questions.
First step you need to make before moving forward with a newsletter is to get your camera ready, and get those “Image Release” forms signed!!
Here is an example of our very first newsletter created Sept 2010, phase one of our journey into Full Day Kindergarten.
“The Fire Truck”
As the children and staff of ***** embark on the new adventure of the Early Learning Program, we decided to capture and document how the concept of learning through play extends and uses the interest of the children to further learning and promote early learning concepts.
After carefully observing and interacting with the children in this program, an interest in fire fighters, fire trucks and fire safety emerged. This interest was demonstrated by the children through conversation, dramatic play and independent and group literacy experiences.
ELP staff began furthering this interest by adding more books related to fire trucks, and fire fighters to the shelves and asking questions such as, “What do fire fighters do for our community?”, “What color is a fire truck?”, “What do they use to put out the fire?”. During indoor and outdoor play, children and staff began role playing the various roles associated with fire fighters, as they wore fire hats and attempted to put out the fires around them.
To continue this growth and interest, children and staff together created our very own Fire Truck!
We discussed colors we would use in order to make our fire truck, how many wheels we would need to give it, how many windows and doors etc. to ensure we had the best fire truck for our little fire fighters!
After each child carefully signed their name to our fire truck, to ensure we take extra special care of it, we began to enjoy what we created and play!
Let us now take this moment to ask the children of our ELP program to add their thoughts using their words, and sharing with us what they have learned and enjoyed about the “Fire Truck” experiences.
“What was your favourite part of building-and playing in the fire truck?”
“Writing our names in it” and “playing in it”
“’Funnest’ thing was playing”
“’Funnest’ part was painting and going inside”
“Being in the box, the windows and doors”
“Building it was fun!”
“Fire fighters have tools to water fire…hoses…somebody sprayed me with the water”
“I like to build fire trucks”
“Liked painting it red”
We are looking forward to seeing where our play leads us next!
Mrs. Thornton and Mrs. Silva
Newsletter should contain:
* Images of the children at play and learning
* Quotes heard, and script discussed with children during and through reflection
* Documented resources, materials and observations of the learning
(Pictures previously contained in this original newsletter made in Sept. 2010 have been removed as “Image Release” forms did not cover this type of sharing- the internet pictures used above were found at;
Newsletters are not necessarily published to be sent home on a monthly basis, they capture a particular play interest, but also showcase other play inquiries and experiences happening within the classroom. When you feel you have explored every avenue of learning that represents that play interest, then it is time to share the learning!
How To Create A Newsletter
Many have asked how to create a newsletter such as this, is there a template?
No, there is no template, but it is very easy!
Thanks to a friend of mine, Amanda Flude, I used to work with at The Copper House who took the time to walk me through a few easy steps;
* Create a new Word Document
* Write down what you would like to share with parents, keeping your audience in mind
* At any point you would like go to “Insert”
* Choose “Picture from File”
* Choose each picture you would like to use to represent the learning
* You can right click with mouse and choose “format” to choose how you would like it to embed in text (*I usually choose “Tight to text” or “Behind Text”
…and thats that!
*one more word of advise now in 3rd year, please keep a check list of the children (after all there are 28 + children in each class!) you have chosen to share in the Newsletters since parents will be looking to see their little one’s face appearing as a learner in your classroom!
Its a lot of fun, and allows you to be as creative as you would like!