One Principal’s Love for Literature and Values

Oct 10

Carol Hahn is the principal of West Friendship Elementary in West Friendship, Maryland. Her love of literature combined with her passion about the values that Core Essentials teaches has given her the platform to be a featured guest blogger here and allows us to brag on how she and so many are making values visible! Take it away Carol…

From the time we are toddlers, we are learning our core values.  We learn them from our parents and siblings by what they say and do.  Toddlers may not have great vocabularies, but they have the power of observation.  They also have the love of hearing a grandparent tell a story or have a bedtime book shared by a parent.  So many children’s books teach a lesson or examine a critical trait of the main character. Aesop’s Fables were used to relay the values of a culture to its next generation.  Now rooted in our American culture, are the Greek fables, “The Hare and the Tortoise” or “The Goose with the Golden Eggs”.  Through these stories a moral or lesson was illustrated.  These messages continue today in children’s cartoons and videos.  Who doesn’t love the friendship between Donkey and Shrek?


Thinking back to the stories that I loved as a child, I thought what a great way to share with the students in school examples of our monthly Core Essential!  By sharing stories that provided an example of the monthly Core Essential, we are able to have a literature-based illustration of the trait and build classroom libraries.  Each month as we share the value, we talk about the meaning and examples from our lives.  A story is shared with the class and we discuss why this book is a good example.  We use good reading strategies while reading aloud and engage their brains on multiple levels.  Our youngest learners will often use a story to make a point when we have discussions at a later time.  A copy of the book and a letter written by the principal is left with the class.  As we do our walk through of classes, we see the books in our children’s hands and they are revisiting the story and the Core Essential.

Through the sharing or literature, we are continuing a tradition that is as old as the first story.  Once told around a campfire by a village elder, we now have print and digital stories to continue illustrating the traits that are essential to a healthy and happy life.

Written By: Carol Hahn

Below you will find an example of the letter mentioned within this blog post that is left behind for the classroom teacher, along with their newest addition to their classroom library each month. Core Essentials provides a book bundle of quality literature in our store. It not only features a book per value/month but also in depth lesson plans written by Core Essentials to accompany each title. Check it out!

Dear Teachers and Students,
We hope you enjoyed your books about last month’s focus – respect.  In “Dude, That’s Rude!” you were given 10 Steps to Amazing Manners Anywhere, Anytime or in “The Crayon Box That Talked” you learned what amazing things can happen when all the crayons recognized each other’s contributions.  Both books provided examples of showing respect.  Remember respect means showing others that they are important by what you say or do.  Respect is one of key values at West Friendship and that is why we have it as part of our motto each day.
Now that October is here and the days are getting shorter, the leaves are beginning to change colors.  Have you noticed that leaves are different colors?  Each tree makes a contribution to our Autumn splendor by sharing its own color – the maples are red and orange, the oaks are yellow and red, the Sweet Gum trees are fiery red, and the pines stay green.  This burst of color reminds us that Fall is here and that each leaf makes a contribution to the beauty that we see.  It also lets us see the impact that individuality can make.  Our core focus this month is on individualityIndividuality is discovering who you’re meant to be so that you can make a difference.  Each of us makes unique contributions to our families, our schools, and our groups.  Just as leaves on the tree may appear similar, they make a difference through their unique contributions.  You are a person, but you are different than everyone else and make a difference by what you say and do.
Individuality is a theme in many children’s books.  You all love “Chrysanthemum” and “Stellaluna,” but there are other stories we want to share.  Our kindergarten and first grade will have “Just the Way You Are” by Marcus Pfister added to your collections.  It is a story about animals wishing they had different characteristics then they do, but it their individuality that makes them special.  Our second through fifth grade will have “The Blue Ribbon Day” by Katie Couric added to their collections.  The mother in this story gives this advice, “Everybody’s a star, a brilliant creation, the trouble is finding the right constellation.” 
Remember each of you are very valuable individuals and make a difference by what you do.  We are proud of you and glad you are part of the West Friendship family tree!
Sincerely, Mrs. Hahn and Mrs. Carlyle