Why are Literacy Centers vital in our lifetime?
For young children, the world is filled with wonder. Everywhere they look, there is something new to discover, and each discovery gives rise to new questions. Children use what teachers in Reggio Emilia, Italy, refer to as “one hundred languages” to share their wonder and their questions with us. In addition to the words of their language(s), young children use gestures, manipulation, drawing, sculpting, dance, pretend play, music, and even misbehavior to tell us what they know and what they wonder about. As they get older, spoken and written words become more important. The other “languages” feed into and support emergent literacy. An environment that enhances emergent literacy gives children a sense of trust and assurance even as it excites their wonder and invites them to explore. Whether it is in a home, a school, or a community setting such as a library or play space, an environment that supports emergent literacy is full of possibilities for imagining and opportunities for pretend play. It provides children with not only a wealth of spoken and written words but also many opportunities to engage in reading, writing, singing, and storytelling activities. It is on these convictions that the Sifunda Kunye Literacy Project was founded and now the Literacy Center, which is a space to make all these possibilities a reality!
By: M. Khumalo