Teaching kids to explore - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Teaching kids to explore


MADISON (WKOW) -- All children have their own way of learning the three R's in school. The old adage 'practice makes perfect' really seems to be the trick.

It also helps when you have a motivated teacher who has the patience and passion to help children learn. Tonight, we meet Erin Williams, Someone You Should Know.

Erin student teaches a Kindergarten class at Midvale Elementary in Madison and she's certainly has found her passion.

"I think they solidified some of the reason why I wanted to become a teacher."

Kindergarten teacher Patrick Jost says "to me when you do early elementary you kinda have to have a real big heart and really open to the kids and Erin has that."

Erin wants her students to think beyond the classroom walls, and learn there is a big world out there to explore, so she came up with an idea of writing letters to pen pals. Erin paired her kindergartners with seniors at the Gardens Retirement Community.

But the lesson goes much deeper for Erin.

"I don't have any grandparents so it was kind of a way for me to get into the community with a more senior type group and for the kids to get that kind of exposure."

It didn't stop there: after exchanging a few letters, the kids went on a field trip, just a few miles away to meet their pen pals.

In the end, Erin's writing lesson went far beyond just five and six-year-olds learning how to write the ABCs.

"I'd like to be a kindergartner going to visit them too, but I think one of the most important things is we're just giving ourselves and we're giving our time just to go see somebody we don't even know except by handwriting."

When asked what he sees for Erin's future, Patrick Jost says "it's bright. I think she has the vision to be a teacher nowadays ... and I hope she'd stay in the Madison district, but if she moves on, whoever gets her is going to have a really good young teacher."

Erin graduated a couple of weeks ago and is now searching for a teaching job.

Send your story ideas to dhenry@wkowtv.com

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