Kinder Crew // Making Learning Authentic and Relevant Even in the Youngest Years

At Detroit Prep, we pride ourselves on being an EL School. As an EL school, we work to make sure our students master rigorous academic content, develop strong character and create high-quality work. Though we follow the EL Curriculum for English Language Arts (ELA) instruction, we constantly strive to make our students’ learning experiences more relevant and authentic to their lives here in Detroit.

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The first ELA curriculum module for Kindergarten centers on making students experts on Toys and Play. This year the Kindergarten team decided to make the task of becoming a Toys and Play Expert more authentic by involving our students in a service learning project. We introduced students to the idea of donating toys to children who might not have access to them in our launch week via sharing videos and texts. Then in our second unit of the module, we got our students in touch with a real live expert - the volunteer coordinator at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. She generously gave her time and let us interview her via Skype about what toys the patients at the hospital need, how they like to play with them, et cetera. After our interview, we decided to host a toy drive for the hospital in the month of October.

We will be collecting donations of toys at our school then making tags for them; the tags will let our students showcase the drawing and labelling skills they have been working to master in the first weeks of Kindergarten. Involving community partners and creating an authentic purpose for learning gives students a drive to acquire new skills and brings joy to the classroom even at the youngest age!