Imagine moving to a new country. It is full of an unfamiliar culture, new people, places, and strange food. Now, you walk into a school. You may not have ever had any previous educational experiences before. You do not speak the language, know how to hold a pencil, or what is expected of you while in school. This is what my students experience when they first move to the United States. Although they face many challenges, my students are eager to learn and soak up as much information as possible.
My classroom is in a small school district with a high immigrant and refugee population in rural northeast Iowa.
My students are K-6 students from 5 different countries and speak 7 different languages. Many of my students have little, to no previous educational experiences. Some of their education was received in rural villages in Guatemala or refugee camps in Somalia. They are then immersed in the American school system. I help students gain their first experiences in English, as well as try to catch them up in content courses. My students come from different sections of the world but believe that their education is the answer to their future.
Newcomer students need to develop "playground" language before they begin to acquire the academic language needed to be successful in school. One way children do this is through play. Pretending is an important aspect of child development. Imaginative play helps children develop important skills that impact their social and emotional learning. Play allows children to use their creativity, as well as aid in cognitive brain function.
Items in this project will not only give my students a chance to use their imaginations but will also help them develop social language.
The dollhouse and barn will give my students the outlet needed to use their basic vocabulary in a fun, and playful way. The puppets will also allow them the opportunity to interact with language in a creative manner. This will help them in all aspects of their future school careers.
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