Sports Day was filled with good spirit and fun! The following video and slideshow communicates more than words can ever convey…thank you for joining us and cheering on for The Hina Dolls!
In Japan May 5th celebrates children day or ‘Kodomono-hi’ in Japanese with a wish that children grow in good health, living each day with strength and courage. Banners in the shape of a carp (a type of fish) called ‘Koinobori’ are hoisted high above rooftops which appear to be swimming in the sky. In Japanese folklore, the carp is a symbol of determination and vigor, overcoming all obstacles to swim upstream. Samurai warrior figurines and samurai helmets called kabuto are also displayed in homes to inspire strength and bravery. The ELC traditionally hoists four koinobori each year. This year, with the help of our four Japanese moms, two new koinobori were created, totaling six koinobori for the children to enjoy and to admire. We are very grateful to Ayako, Kumi, Mariko and Miyuki for helping us learn and appreciate this Japanese holiday through a very creative experience.
One E2 child has been interested in making crowns. She showed me her first original crown in January. She skillfully made a loop shape by connecting two long and skinny strips of paper, and decorated it with colored cellophane papers. Her crown shined with the reflection of the light on the cellophane paper and looked beautiful.
She has continued to design crowns in unique and creative ways. She also created crowns for each of her family members. This time she used skinny strips of black paper and decorated with pink dried flowers. She took great detail to decorate the inside area of the crown with dried flowers, as opposed to decorating the outer part of the crown.
Recently, she has created a crown using another different design. As materials in the Atelier change, she thinks and makes use of these materials in a creative way.
She has become more active and expressive verbally this year and she has been forming her new ideas and expressing them through her creations. I wonder how she would create a crown if I provide wire or other materials and not paper? I’d like to offer her such a provocation when the opportunity rises.
Elementary Sports Day will be held on Friday April 29. We held our first discussion on this upcoming event at our Morning Meeting. The children shared many ideas what Sports Day may be or look like as for our E1 children, it will be their very first experience:
Sports Day is we can do sports thing, soccer sometimes
Like… throwing something or putting something inside, throwing like a ball and somebody catch
Sports Day when you run
Sports Day means kicking soccer balls
Sports Day is having fun and we also do dishes and cones and having fun with Mr Claydon
What is Sports Day is like soccer, like badminton
Sports Day is running and jumping
Sports Day is when you play games
When the children realized that ELC will be participating with Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2, they were very excited as some of our ELC children have siblings in these grades. After much thought about how our moms and dads will be able to find us within such a large group, the children came up with the idea to stay ‘as a group’, and that we can wear white T-shirts with our names on them – and a name for our ELC group? – The Hina Dolls! Our Hina Doll Story from our Assembly last week still remains close to their hearts…
Our Assembly was a beautiful culmination of our learning on our inquiry into ‘How stories can be told’.
There is poetry in the contrast of words they put together, songs in each letter of their names and a dance as we make our way from word to word. How do we capture and nurture this natural habit in children to recite and to perform stories and poems? How do we communicate and extend their potential to construct lines and verses of such creative agency? We hope the slideshow below communicates, not necessarily answers to these questions, but opportunities for more dialogue in our continuous work with young children.
We took advantage of the warm spring weather to enjoy eating lunch outside under the cherry blossoms. While there were still only a few blossoms out, the children, nevertheless, enjoyed a picnic lunch under the trees with their friends.
In Japan, people celebrate the flowering cherry blossoms by going outdoors, holding picnics under the trees (Ohanami). In ancient times, there was a tradition among aristocrats to write poetry and sing songs under the blossoms. This was a lovely way to end our quarter semester before the beginning our spring holidays.
Our second session of Student-Parent Interaction Day was held on March 15 and 16. On these two days, the children constructed a page for their portfolio together with a parent. Before the day, in order to elicit the children’s reflections on their learning, we posed a question to the children: ‘What do you like about the ELC?’ It was illuminating to listen to all their different ideas, ranging from favorite spaces, what they like to do, to how and who they like to spend their time at the ELC.
The idea of involving the parents to construct a page for the portfolio came from one of the parents last year. We very much like this idea of co-constructing the portfolio with the parents’ participation. This experience also provides a new and different way on how the child can share his/her joys of learning, and for the parents to learn more about their child in a creative and aesthetic way.
The flow of time was ever so peaceful and beautiful.
Our inquiry into the alphabetic code has taken on an aesthetic pathway with playfulness- that is, the children discover lines and curves which form the symbolic letters as ‘beautiful’ and ‘fun’; lines and curves which they discover in nature and through other materials, rather than forming them with a stroke of a pencil. To be exact, a curve is a ‘curved line’, one that is made in a single stroke, but which gives different emotions of flexibility and playfulness, as opposed to a ‘straight line’. However, a horizontal straight line can also suggest a feeling of rest or repose, and a diagonal straight line suggests a feeling of movement and direction. Please enjoy viewing and feeling the emotions of the lines and curves through the children’s creations.
I’ve noticed a change occurring in one E1 child’s recent creations. Her paintings often appear to be more abstract and she tends to be quiet about her creations, and so it was a surprise for me to see her create something more concrete.
“I’m going to make a bus!” She announced with a clear voice on this particular day. She took paper and a pencil and began to work on her bus.
“The wheels on the bus goes round and round, round and round…” She was singing. Then I understood that she was thinking of the day one of our ELC moms shared a story by singing songs. She explained that Eva’s family is on the bus and the bus takes them to their home, which she also created.
When she finished her bus and the house, she faced a problem. She struggled to keep the bus and the house upright. One E2 child was listening to our conversation. “I always have a great idea!” and she shared it, which was putting another thick paper behind the bus to hold it up. She liked the idea and tried it and it worked!
Later, at our morning meeting time, she shared her creation of bus to the other children. If I offered her an opportunity of sharing to others a few months ago, she would have definitely shaken her head. Now, I could see her growth in confidence and her willingness to communicate and experience new things through her creations with others.
Every E2 child has had a turn taking the ‘Treasure Box’ home to share and talk about their treasures from home. The children suggest an idea about teachers taking a turn to take the Box home to share their treasures with the children. How do we decide which teacher takes the Box home first? This question instigates the idea of measuring the teachers’ height, as the E2 children had decided upon a fair system of taking turns according to height.
The children help the teachers line up in order of height and take a photo of the teachers.
Looking at the photo of the teachers lined up by height, there were some contradictions as to which teacher is tall or small.
Who do you think is tall?
Ms Yuka, no Mrs Cancemi
A suggestion: I have an idea to solve this, how about we put the teachers on one color, how about we guess who is biggest on colors, maybe we could measure them on the rainbow, you can measure with your finger, with a stick
With a long stick!
You can be on the floor like this and then we can measure, like paper
How about we put bits of string that is black and then we can glue another one on and we can measure
I like that idea!
We now have more ideas how best to measure the teachers:
Drawing (tracing) the teachers lying down
Measure with a long stick
Measure with a string
After we have tried all three methods, we will then analyze our results.