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Springfield College Education Professor Leads Literacy Workshop

Posted July 20, 2012

Jen Stratton

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Springfield College Education Assistant Professor Jennifer Stratton recently traveled to Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa, to lead a two-day literacy development workshop focused on how to support early literacy development among young children.

Stratton joined Louise Wilson from the Medical Knowledge Institute to present the members of the Clover Mama Afrika group with 40 Springfield College backpacks filled with books and other literacy items. The packs were made possible by donations from a variety of individuals leading up to the trip. Stratton was able to fill each Springfield College backpack with approximately 20 multicultural children’s books, sidewalk chalk, and magnet doddle boards. Upon her arrival in South Africa, Stratton was able to purchase additional multiple language books for the Clover Mamas.

Jen Stratton

“The generosity and support from family, friends, church, and others was overwhelming in a good way at times,” said Stratton. “I am amazed how many people recognize the power of literacy, and the importance of sharing it with others, even if they live across the globe.”

This special literacy project was created by Stratton, who based the program on the idea of creating a culture of literacy around every child by engaging in intentional literacy moments each day. The training focused in this project shows caregivers how to create meaningful moments of literacy each day through reading, writing, talking, and singing with a child on a daily basis. The training also discusses the stages of literacy development, how literacy moments impact brain development, and the role of reading and writing in literacy development.

Stratton and Wilson led the Clover Mamas through multiple literacy exercises to teach them techniques in literacy education. Clover Mama Afrika is a caretaker group based in South Africa that focuses on empowering community caregivers with viable skills, which they in turn pass on to others in order to earn sustainable income for their community.

“At Springfield College, we stress that great ideas are born here,” said Stratton. “I don’t think if I was teaching at any other campus, I would have been as inspired to promote change through the creation of an early literacy project for local and global communities.”

The Springfield College Department of Education offers teaching licensure programs in early childhood education, elementary education, and secondary education. The Department also offers a unique dual teaching licensure degree in elementary education and special education, as well as graduate programs in these fields of study.

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