For several children at Hunter-McGrath Family Child Care in Santa Monica, they may still be learning their ABCs, but they're already accomplished poets!
Students at this LAUP preschool recently wrote poems that have been included in the 2010 Early Childhood Assessments Catalog published by Pearson Clinical Assessment in Bloomington, Minn.
This year's theme for this catalog, which is distributed nationwide, is learning through nature. In all, seven children's poems with nature-related themes were published in their entirety, said Michelle Breitsprecher, Pearson's Catalog Manager. She said the company learned about the children's poems after reading about them in a recent issue of this "What's Up @ LAUP" newsletter.
"These poems are authentic — you can tell they were created by young children and that a lot of thought had gone into them," Breitsprecher said. "It was what we were looking for. We wanted a child's point of view of what they see in nature. It brought authenticity to our catalog."
The seven poems were used on section divider pages in the catalog. Furthermore, all poems were included in a poster insert.
Hunter-McGrath Family Child Care uses the Reggio Emilia approach, which incorporates nature and poetry into the curriculum. In fact, the facility has worked closely with the Children's Nature Institute to create opportunities for their children to explore their local canyon.
Afterwards, the children dictated poetry that expressed their close relationships to the natural world. The children's poetry, art and photography recently became an exhibit for the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, which now travels to various U.S. locations.
"I think the poems were exceptional for such young children," said Patricia Hunter-McGrath, Director/Atelierista of the site. "The children were very excited to see their poems published. We are very proud of them."
In return for publishing the children's poems, Pearson made a donation that will be used to help subsidize tuition for needy families, Hunter-McGrath said.
"Overall, this was a great experience for all of us," she noted.