Do we need poetry in schools anymore; is it important to learning for young children?
Yes we do. It promotes literacy, builds emotional expression and helps communities bond.
Poetry read aloud becomes a magical rhythmic sound and sensation for the very young, even if they don’t understand the words. Babies as well. Poetry can produce curiosity in children, even boys, and make them want to create their own. The movement of poems and rhyme can activate feelings and actually move the hearts and souls.
Children, who suffer difficulties to express painful feelings and experiences, can use creative writing or language to help them work through problems and find a voice.
Poetry builds resilience in children (and adults) and fosters Social and Emotional Learning. One sentence in a poem can help us see life in an entirely different and new way. It can give understanding and strengthen insight.
Schools tend to focus on brain alone but as Yeats said: –
“It is blood, imagination, intellect running together…It bids us to touch and taste and hear and see the world, and shrink from all that is of the brain only.” It encourages us to talk about hard and possibly scary subjects such as death or opposites such as great joy.
Jeanette Winterson, a poet and writer, says:
“…When people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn’t be read in school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language – and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers — a language powerful enough to say how it is. It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place.”
Don’t analyse poetry, enjoy it in your own way and enjoy poetry with children.