At St. John's, children choose a symbol that will represent them throughout the entire time at school.
For most, these symbols are chosen at the beginning of their first year in the Brown Room! Each child's symbol becomes an extremely important part of their school identity. Our alumni family can more than likely confirm that the children's connection to their St. John's symbol often lasts well past their three years spent here with us.
Children and teachers use symbols as a way to communicate with each other. While the children are not yet "reading" or "writing" in the traditional sense, we are aware that emergent literacy concepts include children's interpretation of images as a form of reading. The symbols are found throughout the school and children have already started to identify different spaces in the environment where they can recognize symbols displayed. Not only do children recognize their own, but they also quickly make the connection between each child and their symbol image (teachers too!). Symbols not only support the development of each individuals sense of place throughout the school, but also provide a tool for the children to display ownership over their work. Children value the symbols as a comprehendible way to communicate with one another and as a way to foster autonomy, identity, and pride within the school environment.
A group conversation
Last week, we started to have group conversations about symbols - what they are and where we might find them at school. The following document is our first conversation about "choosing symbols" :
Graham recalls his big sister Sylvie's school symbol - a turtle! Sylvie is a St. John's alum, now in 1st grade.
Searching for symbols...
After an introductory conversation to about the concept of a symbol, we went on a search in different spaces around school to see if we could find any.
Small Group Exploration Opportunities
Beginning at the end of last week and continuing this week, children have worked in small groups (3 children) or pairs to spend time exploring and choosing their symbols. Children are offered multiple opportunities to explore the large variety of symbol choices available to them. They experiment with the different images by stamping them onto paper and reflecting on the ones that stand out as "favorites".
Some children choose their symbol quickly, and others ask for more time for testing and revisiting.
We anticipate that by the end of next week, each child will have chosen their St. John's symbol!
As children continue to select their school symbols, we encourage you to take a moment during the drop-off period to read some of the documentation in the classroom.
If you are able, please take advantage of this time in the mornings to involve your child in the exploration of the classroom and to ask about their symbol. Maybe they can help you locate it in different spaces around the classroom or hallways!