In Creative Writing, our aim is to show the children that writing is a form of making meaning. In other words, writing is not just about good grammar or syntax (although these are important and must always be addressed); it is also a means for the writer (in this case, the child) to convey meaning to the reader (i.e. you!). To reach this goal, the teacher engages the children in discussions about the topic each week, before highlighting key vocabulary and stylistic devices, as well as providing a focal point (such as a story, craft or video) around which the children’s imaginations and writing can evolve and develop. For instance, in Week 3 of this term, the children made a Duck puppet out of a brown paper bag. They then wrote a short narrative about the Duck. The overall topic for this term is All about the Pond, and the children are being guided to tackle writing in a number of different genres in many sub-topics. Some of these genres, with examples, are as follows:
Descriptive: “This is my pond….”
Narrative: “Once upon a time, there was a duck called…”Creative Writing1
Poetic Verse: “Dragonflies and Snails”
Factual: “Raccoons are…”
A Postcard / Letter: “Dear…”
Writing has the benefit of enhancing fine-motor skills of strength and dexterity, plus draw on linguistic resources of vocabulary and thought to frame text that is meaningful and coherent. One of the methods that the teacher is using is “shared writing”. In shared writing, children dictate the story and the teacher writes it down. Then, the teacher reads the story back to the child. Shared writing is an excellent way of Creative writing2demonstrating the links between oral and written language. Vukelich & Christie (2009) say that it helps children realize that what they say can be written in print and that print can be read as oral language. In this way, writing is a full language experience. We are really excited at the possibilities that this programme holds for our children in the Head Starts I and II years. Importantly, we want them to know that writing is a skill that can last them a lifetime, and it is not just about getting good grades or a tick on the page.