English as a Second Language (ESL) Program was launched during the summer
holidays. Sixteen students, some returning and some new, participated in the three and a half week
program organized by the head of the ESL department, Sharon VanDerKolk. She was joined by
five other staff and three student mentors who lived and worked with the ESL students. |
Quite different from usual school with its fast pace, shorter classes and high student/teacher interaction, the program took over the Media Center, using the auditorium for skits from Greek myths to the Underground Railroad, the conference room for reading and grammar and the journalism room to produce their own newsheets. Late afternoon music and shouting from the gym marked the day's class work as done.
With the feel of summer camp, the entire group lived at Edgehill. Evenings were devoted to games and leisure, and throughout it all, English was spoken.
On the last night the students made a special presentation to their teachers and mentors, a heart- warming thank you. The new students all passed their English entry tests and are now regular students at Woodstock.
The ESL Summer Program gives new students a headstart. The school prefers to accept ESL students in grades 5, 6 and 7 so that by high school they are proficient in English.
Maxim's story (box) was written for Phoenix Times, an ESL newsheet. Maxim is in grade 9 and plans to graduate from Woodstock.