Curriculum Corner with Miss Fleming
As we were playing outside during autumn and the wind would blow a huge gust of leaves, I would often hear the request from one of our eager Kindergarten students, "Miss Fleming, can we say Rain of Leaves by Aileen Fischer?" "Absolutely!" I would respond. Soon the whole class would be joined together in spontaneous recitation of a poem we had learned a few weeks before.
There are many practical reasons to teach poetry every week to Kindergarteners. The poems they learn and recite each week help them in this stage of learning to read. Poems act as a sort of word game, allowing the children to play with language in order to grow in their understanding of and comfort with it. In acting out motions while saying the poems, we are giving the students the opportunity to connect their whole bodies to the language they are speaking.
In addition to these practical purposes, there is another element to teaching poetry, which for me is the most compelling. Poetry puts words into children's minds and hearts that are beautiful and pleasant. We teach them the skills to be able to read, yet we also want them to find joy in language and literature. As it says in Philippians 4:8 " Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Poetry encourages the children to think and speak about about these things that are true, honorable, pure, and commendable.
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