Childs School is committed to developing internationally minded lifelong learners who collaborate in order to understand, celebrate and impact our interconnected global community.An enriched environment is created through challenging curriculum, intercultural lines of inquiry and authentic assessment focused on the whole child. To that end, our language instruction provides a foundation for our entire curriculum and learning. Through language, we are able to access information, increase knowledge and awareness, foster communication, develop social skills, appreciate cultures, and reflect on who we are. Authentic experiences in reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing and visual representation are integrated within lessons and across the curriculum. All staff members are teachers of language and all students are language learners.
Language is essential in the development of international mindedness. Our goal is to foster a respectful learning environment that values individual and cultural differences. Each student’s mother tongue is valued and support is provided for the language of instruction to ensure equal access to academic and social opportunities. Students study a language other than the language of instruction in order to develop an appreciation of languages, cultures and differing perspectives. Language is a vital link between home and school. Both the staff and the community play a significant role in the development of our children’s language and learning. The language diversity of our community is promoted and supported in school and at home. Effective language learning enables students to become fully functioning members of the global community.
- Staff provides authentic challenges to encourage students to reach their highest potential.
- The school environment is print rich, multi-sensory and encourages language development. Students have access to a variety of texts and classrooms have labels/signs and anchor charts.
- Language learning activities include listening, speaking, reading, writing, presenting and viewing and these are embedded into daily instruction. Language instruction is based on a balanced literacy approach which incorporates essential skill and strategy development, literature study, and opportunities for authentic reading and writing.
- Literature is the heart of the reading program at Childs School. The media specialist works with the staff, students and community to provide a wide range of materials to support our literacy program and Units of Inquiry.
- Skills in phonological and phonemic awareness, word recognition, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension are taught through modeling, direct and indirect instruction.
- Different genres are explored through literature circles, read-aloud, and independent reading. Mini-lessons focus on specific reading comprehension strategies and text analysis of different genres.
- Teachers use literacy to explore issues of diversity and fairness. Readers and writers use literature to analyze, critique, and understand their social world. In the classrooms, students read and respond to books with social justice themes.
- Students and staff use language as a vehicle for engaging in inquiry based learning.
- Students participate in collaborative conversations that deepen their learning.
- Student choice is encouraged when choosing ways of learning and communicating.
- Students have opportunities to publish their work digitally and through displays, and presentations.
- Reading and writing is encouraged in the home through the Childs School website, newsletters, parent conferences, and reading logs.
- Different languages are represented, discussed and celebrated, particularly the students’ mother tongues.
- Students use language to reflect on their learning and self.
- Students and staff are given opportunities to express opinions and feelings and are expected to use language responsibly and respectfully.
- Technology is used to reinforce and enrich learning and expression.
- Data from formative and summative assessments, portfolios, and individual conferring sessions is used to inform instruction.
- All students in grades K-6 receive weekly instruction in Spanish. The goal of this program is to learn Spanish to communicate needs and feelings in a variety of ways.
- Students are given opportunities to access books in Spanish, make cultural connections and become familiar with other cultures.
- Spanish vocabulary is displayed throughout the building.
Mother Tongue Support:
- The Monroe County School Corporation’s Office of English Language Learning facilitates the integration of newly arriving students and families.
- Students are evaluated using the WIDA assessment to determine the level of language acquisition and the type of instructional support needed as well as possible modifications and accommodations.
- Teachers receive training in SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) which is a framework for teaching academic content and language skills for English Learners with all students’ language needs in mind.
- Realistic expectations are set based on the student’s ILP (Individual Learning Plan) The linguistic and cultural background of the students is honored (labeling commonly used items in the classroom with both languages, having books available in the child’s home language, providing translations of communication made to parents, school announcements in home languages).
- Multi-sensory experiences (labs, demonstrations, graphic organizers, manipulatives, visuals, body-movement and gestures) are used to access the student’s content knowledge.
- Teachers continue to teach higher level thinking skills while using language that is appropriate to the child’s level of acquisition.
- Classrooms are equipped with multi-lingual dictionaries as well as strategies for negotiating understanding (such as rephrasing ideas and checking for understanding)
- Songs, chants, story retellings, role plays, and acting out of stories are used to practice new vocabulary and language structures.
- Student progress on the language access continuum is assessed through frequent formative assessments.
Language and the Learner Profile:
Students and staff use language to:
- express caring and empathy (caring)
- respect the differences and similarities in languages, dialects and personal communication skills (open-minded)
- balance listening and speaking when communicating with others (balanced)
- be willing to read, write and speak in a variety of situations and creative ways (risk-taker)
- develop an awareness that language is powerful and should be used responsibility and respectfully (principled)
- acquire knowledge and develop a curiosity about the world (inquirer)
- express ideas, thoughts and feelings (thinker)
- acquire vocabulary and understanding (knowledgeable)
- become competent users of oral and written language in a variety of situations and a variety of ways (communicators)
- reflect on language experiences and development (reflective)