In Harrison Hot Springs Elementary’s kindergarten classroom, students are thinking about what love is to them.
Teacher Dustin Neufeld writes it all down on the whiteboard.
“Dogs are like living love, I’m telling you,” he said, before turning to write down the next definition of love that’s shouted to him from across the room by the excited kids.
Neufeld’s class isn’t working on a craft for Valentine’s Day — instead, it’s this year’s project for Family Literacy Day (Jan. 24), organized by the Agassiz Library and the Agassiz-Harrison Early Years Committee.
“What is actually happening for Family Literacy Day is that the early years committee is doing a kids write their own book project,” Terrill Scott, supervisor at the library, explained.
“It’s a little bit trimmed down from what we do sometimes, but … still celebrates engaging the children” with words.
Each kindergarten student in Harrison Hot Springs Elementary, Kent Elementary, Sts’ailes Community School, Seabird Island Community School and Agassiz Christian School was given a page to fill out with their name, a picture and a sentence explaining what love is to them.
“The theme is love is, that we’re just sort of planting that with the kids and turn their little brains loose,” Scott explained.
When all the pages are filled out, they will be turned in a printed book. Copies will be held at the library, as well as at each school that participates.
This kind of project has been done before — Neufeld participated in a similar book-making venture when he taught at Coquihalla Elementary in Hope — but it’s the first time the project being used by the Early Years Committee for literacy day.
“It’s difficult, because we don’t know how to write yet,” Neufeld said about the project.
But “we keep reminding them that whole purpose of writing is to tell a story, the whole purpose of writing is that someone else is going to read it,” he added.
“It shows them that those letters that create words that create sentences on paper can become a book and can be something better and creative.”