Creating a Writing Workshop for Children – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Creating a Writing Workshop for Children

During the past academic year, Coordinator of the Writing Colleagues Program Heidi Beach ’02 has been teaching an informal fiction workshop for children. This coming fall, Beach and former writing colleague Caitlin Caron ’08, MAT ’10 will open the workshop up to all local 4th, 5th, and 6th graders.

“This workshop is founded on the belief that children have a natural curiosity and creativity that needs to be fostered, and writing is a great way to explore and expand what they know about themselves and the world around them,” explains Beach, whose vision for this program is that it will “ensure as an opportunity for local children with a desire to write creatively, as well as for MAT students who want experience teaching an enrichment-based writing program.”

The workshop includes fun activities that teach fiction basics, such as how to hook readers, develop fascinating characters, and create compelling situations. Students will also interview and research, revise and rework portfolios of writing, submit work to children’s publications, contribute to an anthology of the group’s best work, and publicly read their favorite work to a group of friends and family.

“We look forward to working with the young writers in our community,” says Beach.

Caron’s involvement as a writing colleague at HWS and as a nanny in Geneva over four summers piqued her interest in both child development and how people learn. “I’m getting my MAT in secondary English, but I’ve spent more time seeing how very young children learn and develop. Those experiences have definitely played a role in what I want to do with my future as an educator,” she says. 

“Children have such a unique and uninhibited way of expressing themselves. Too often, kids associate writing with schoolwork – something that is a chore – and this workshop gives them the opportunity to see how fun it is when you can let your mind wander and be really creative and original without worrying about what grade you might get.”

Caron plans to pursue a career that involves students and writing, but is still unsure about what level or in what context.  “I think that why I am so interested in this fiction writing workshop is the fact that it is an enrichment program, so there’s a level of exploration and excitement about it,” she explains. “I’m excited to see what they come up with for various stories we write during the workshop.”

Caron majored in English at HWS and minored in the Writing Colleagues Program. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and was involved in the Teaching Program. Beach graduated from HWS with a degree in Writing and Rhetoric and a minor in Women’s Studies. She completed Honors, studied abroad in Rome and in Bath, England, and was a member of Koshare.

In the photo above are Heidi Beach and Caitlin Caron (l to r).