Dogwood Elementary School
A Primary Years Program Candidate School
Dogwood Mission: Our mission is to develop a globally minded community enriched by differences, engaged in inquiry, and empowered to take action to impact the world.
Philosophy- What do we believe about language learning?
At Dogwood Elementary School we believe that language is fundamental to communication and learning. Our belief is grounded in the idea that every teacher is a language teacher and learner. Language is integrated across the curriculum and fosters a globally minded community that is enriched by differences, engaged in inquiry, and empowered to take action that impacts the world.
At Dogwood, we create a safe environment where we take risks, connect our diverse backgrounds, and support the development of all components of language. We use language to communicate in
verbal and non-verbal forms in order for students to be cognitively flexible, open-minded, and creative problem solvers.
We value how language experiences create an awareness that embraces respect for individual and global cultures. We value the development of the mother tongue for students, teachers, and the greater community. We encourage our community to use their mother tongue and culture to enhance learning experiences and development. This allows access and equity for all students and deepens our understanding of alternative perspectives.
Purpose- Why do we value language learning?
At Dogwood Elementary we understand and embrace everyone’s cultural and linguistic backgrounds to enhance language learning. Our school population encompasses 34 different languages and 61% of our students receive ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) support.
Language learning is used to enrich, engage, and empower the Dogwood community.
- Language learning focuses on gaining proficiency in English through listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
- Language learning encourages continued development of mother tongues.
- Language learning encourages students to understand different perspectives and provide opportunities for enjoyment and intellectual stimulation.
- Language learning strengthens our cultural understanding and our partnership with families.
Practices- How do we teach language?
At Dogwood, we recognize that language is a significant aspect of learning. It allows students to engage academically and socially in school and communicate their understanding of the world. As we all are language teachers, we are committed to offering opportunities for learning through the four domains of language: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
Language is central to all learning; teachers facilitate communication through morning meeting, opportunities for academic and social discourse, writing, reading, and math workshops, and experiential learning opportunities. Through strategy instruction and engaging literacy practices we develop confident and independent readers, writers, and communicators. Therefore, all instruction at Dogwood is deeply rooted in language development.
At Dogwood, students receive instruction primarily in English and take part in Spanish instruction. English language learners are supported through immersion as well as through specific instruction with an ESOL teacher. All teachers support academic and social discourse in students’ mother tongues.
Through communication with parents, Dogwood will continue the development of the mother tongue as it is a crucial component to language acquisition. We encourage families to talk and read in their mother tongue, and promote multilingualism.
Continuous learning is important for staff and teachers. Through school, team, and individual professional development we promote best practices for language learning based on the needs of our school community.
In efforts to reflect the evolving language needs of our school, the Dogwood Language Policy will be reviewed at least every two years by the PYP Implementation Team. All updates will be made public to our community including families, students, and staff.