Kindergarten and first grade English Language Learners at Shaker Road and Forest Park Elementary Schools gained important insight and understanding to living in a democratic country back in early February following the presidential election.
Our students learned about the democratic process, about the new United States President Joseph Biden, and that President Biden now lives in the White House, in Washington, DC, with his wife, and his two dogs. Students looked at a map and saw how far it is to travel from Albany to Washington, D.C.
The students also participated in a virtual tour of the White House during class. In efforts to connect their student learning to their own lives, South Colonie ENL teacher Ms. Ilyse Levine asked the students to write letters to President Biden asking questions and sharing their own personal thoughts and ideas.
Early this week, the students received an unexpected surprise when they received a response letter from President Biden.
“It’s important for our youngest students to begin their understanding of the ways our democracy works. These children will not be able to vote for many years, but I wanted to show them that they can express their questions, ideas, and hopes to elected officials, which is a way to have a voice in the democratic process,” said Levine. “The letters were so cute and the students had fun writing and thinking of things to ask the President. The students and I were thrilled to receive a response. This provides such an important lesson for our students.”
In the response letter from President Biden, he encouraged our students to remain curious, creative, and fearless and to keep challenging themselves. “Even at your young ages, you have the power to impact the future generations to come,” he wrote.