ELC Exhibition


The children have been working on their personal projects within our ‘How we express ourselves’ unit of inquiry over time. They have been working on their projects, building on their preferred symbolic and poetic languages without any preempted notion of creating for the sake of an exhibition. Rather, they have explored their expressive language organically with much joy and freedom. Thus when the children learned of the idea of holding an ELC Exhibition – to share their projects with other people and to have them come and see their works in a different space to the ELC and to the British House, they were all so very pleased and excited.

We shared the photo of the Kenmin Hall space for their Exhibition:

Can we change it to the ELC Building? (instead of Kenmin Hall)
Whoo, it is so beautiful
But where is it?
Teacher: In front of Yamashita Park
Wow, it is beautiful
I like this place because it is huge
That is a hall
How long is the walk?
Teacher: Maybe about thirty minutes
That is too long for my arms and my legs
I could run
We will run!

Please enjoy the preview of our Exhibition!

Exhibit trailer from YIS ELC on Vimeo.

Elementary Art Exhibition as a provocation


We had the delightful opportunity to visit the Elementary Art Exhibition at the British House. The teachers chose not to disclose too much about the visit as we wished to listen and to observe how the children would encounter this experience. As we visited the room with the displays of the artwork, our ELC children were awed by the varied creations of the elementary students. How did the children enter into this space? What seemed to have caught their eye? What did they connect with most? What is an exhibition?

Here are the children’s voices:

It is beautiful!

Where is my brother’s?

Where is my friend’s (creation)?

My sister’s?

An exhibition is art?

I go with my mommy, exhibition is for everybody

Maybe when the ELC is all full of art we put some here

I would like to put my pussy cat in the clay up,

I would feel happy because I like people looking at my work and we can look at our work, too

This visit to the Elementary Art Exhibition has sparked interest for the children to also display their work, somewhere different to the ELC.

Photos 2-SD (480p) from YIS ELC on Vimeo.




Our ELC Community with and through our parents


We have experienced many presentations with and through our parents throughout the first semester and now in our second semester this week, we experienced three. To all these experiences, we wish to extend our deep gratitude and are constantly reminded of the collaborative spirit of our ELC community, how giving and generous our community is of their time and knowledge towards enhancing the learning of our children.

Cultural Experiences February, 9, 10 & 11 2-SD (480p) from YIS ELC on Vimeo.

RE-invention Day


What is RE-invention Day?

“Re-invention means making new things from old things, recycling…” (Oliver)

For the past eight years, the ELC has held RE-invention Day. This is a special day of celebration and collaboration involving the children, parents and teachers. Together we reflect on the issues of environmental impact and sustainable development from a creative perspective, rather than an alarmed one. Through our actions we wish to raise awareness and promote the idea that waste materials can be RE-invented to create new and precious objects. Re-invention Day is held to support and nurture the concept of RE-cycling, RE-ducing and RE-using within our community.

This year, inspired by the covering of the Special Box with washi (Japanese paper) by Ms Jacquie, we wondered how an old box can be given a new identity by covering it with bits of used paper.

Re-invention from YIS ELC on Vimeo.

The Special Box


The ‘Special Box’ is a possession of the E2 class, a box which the children take turns taking it home to fill with treasures from home to show and share with the class during the week. One day, Ms Jacquie visited the ELC during our Special Box session and she asked the children if they would like her to cover the box. The children thought that this would be a good idea. Last week, Ms Jacquie came to show us how the box can be covered. The following slideshow shows some images from this experience. The covering of the box has inspired us to cover old boxes for our up-coming RE-invention Day on February 3rd, a day when we think about re-cycling, re-using and re-ducing waste items to turn them into beautiful creations.

Covering the Special Box with Ms. Jacquie from YIS ELC on Vimeo.

Pattern Blocks


Pattern blocks are a type of mathematical manipulatives that allow children to see how shapes can be decomposed into other shapes. As the various shapes fit so nicely together in different ways, the blocks seem to be appealing for the children to not only create patterns, but also designs and pictures, stimulating an occasion for building narratives around their constructions.

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During Free Exploration, the blocks are often used by the E1 children as ‘food’ such as chocolates or pizzas baked and served to the teachers and friends. We wondered how the children’s explorations with the blocks can be elevated and decided to pair up an E1 child with an E2 child to explore the blocks together and to co-construct a design/story.

Here are the narratives born from the constructions:

“A Christmas Tree”

“Mt. Fuji and Penguin-san”

“A Castle”

“A Den” – “A Castle’s Garden” – There are some weeds, a tunnel and then some flowers, a castle.

“Obake” (A Ghost)

“Strawberry Sandwich”

“I make me”

“Nagare-boshi” (A shooting star)

“Youkai Watchi”

“It is a pathway, you go all the way around to get to the castle”

Please enjoy the slideshow below which shares the many varied and creative explorations, decomposing mathematical shapes to compose images and stories.


Pattern Blocks-Medium from YIS ELC on Vimeo.

How we express ourselves


Our second semester brings forth an exciting inquiry on the transdisciplinary theme of How We Express Ourselves, delving into questions and meanings on the metaphor of ‘the hundred languages of children’ as defined by the Reggio educators and philosophy. At our ELC we attempt to create many contexts to demonstrate the pleasure and necessity of communication through multiple languages, ‘a hundred languages’ of children, a powerful message and metaphor, and a declaration, which gives value to all modes of communication equally. In our work with the children, the children teach us that the expressive languages (and not necessarily limited to the verbal language) are really an everyday thing. When we speak of expressive languages, we are specifically thinking of symbolic, graphic and poetic representations, such as painting, drawing, dancing, singing, constructing, modelling and sculpting clay, creating collages, and many more. We observe the children shifting into and out of different spaces of communicative strategies and events, weaving together emotions and empathy, heightening sensitivity for ‘languages’ with intellectual curiosity.

As such, it can seem somewhat ironic that a single unit of inquiry with limited time be devoted to our everyday experiences. We have consciously listened to the children’s many ways of expression from the beginning of the school year. Thus, this semester, we are curious and wonder if there may be a more specific language which each child is interested and attracted to delver deeper into. We have framed the inquiry with an initial question: “What is it like?” to elicit the children’s thoughts, theories and ideas to begin our dialogue. As we embark upon this project with some uncertainty, one aspect which we are certain about is that it will generate more questions, not necessarily to answer, but to listen as an invitation and occasion for growth for adults as well as for the children. The slideshow below shares some of the ‘languages’ explored by the children.  The photos are taken by Ms Jacqueline Pender.

Expressive Languages from YIS ELC on Vimeo.

The Spirit of Tea


“If tea, like the moon at its clearest, could promote a beautiful state of mind in people throughout the world, it would surely make a great contribution to world peace.” (Sen Shositsu XV, in the “Spirit of Tea”)

Such was the experience the children and the host shared through the Way of Tea. The culture of tea is a culture of hospitality, not only in Japan, but in many different cultures. Tea is a means for establishing and maintaining good relations among each other, being in the moment together of welcoming and accepting. The tea spirit, through the Way of Tea, as it is appreciated in Japan, is thought to be not only confined to the tearoom. It is thought of as a spirit essential for people living together in the world of nature with many other living beings. As the children sipped their tea from the delicate tea cups, they could not help but smile. What a wonderful culture, bringing smiles upon faces, to continue living in the moment together with mutual recognition of and respect for others. The message of the host written on the scroll in the alcove was ‘kokoro’, meaning ‘heart’. How often are we able to listen to our hearts, to listen to the heart of others, our environment? How are we able to possess a gentle heart that can help to sprout a harmonious heart?


Way of Tea -Large from YIS ELC on Vimeo.

How our choices and actions affect others


After our friends went home, we discussed how nice it was for our Baby Home friends to bring a present for us.  In an attempt to help the children understand that they can make choices to make a difference in the lives of others, we asked the class if they would all like to make a Christmas present for the children from the home, that may bring joy to them at Christmas time.  This suggestion was met with much enthusiasm and excitement and the children had many ideas about what to give. Here are their ideas:

Jesse: Christmas tree and wreath

Natalie: Give a TV for Christmas

Masaichi: DVD

Luca: TV

Chloe: Give them a special book

Saleh:  Santa

Oliver: Racing car

Kaito, Shoma, Lerah, Martina, Ashley, Yuri, Jina: Christmas tree

Erica: Elsa

Aoi: Drawing

Akihiko: Letter, origami

Scarlett: A Frozen plate

Danny: A picture of Santa on a roof

Rain: Balloons

As a group we decided that our gift to the children at the home would be a Christmas Tree with decorations made from clay, incorporating all the ideas of each of the children such as a racing car, Santa, TV, DVD, balloons, a book, a wreath, Frozen.

The teachers bought a live Christmas Tree and then the children worked with their parents to make the decorations with clay on our Craft Luncheon Day.  This was a delightful and rewarding experience for the children, parents and teachers.  We all enjoyed working together as a group to make our collaborative present for the children at the home.  We were very touched that the children were able to spend so much time and thought creating the decorations knowing that they were not going to keep them, but that they were making them as a gift for the children at the home.

We will walk over to deliver the gifts to the children’s home in the coming week, keeping our promise to see each again.

Please enjoy viewing the slideshow from our morning:

ELC Craft-Luncheon from YIS ELC on Vimeo.



A morning with our friends from the Baby Home


Fifteen years ago, we established a connection with The Lady of Lourdes Baby Home
(Seibo Aijien) in Yamate. The Home is for children ages 2-18 years of age, with 24
children between the ages of 3 and 6. These children all have at least one parent,
but for various reasons cannot live with their parents. We invited three of the younger children to visit the ELC on November 28th.

Within this meaningful context the inquiries of the children are inter-connected and lent themselves to both our Who We Are and Sharing the Planet Units of Inquiry.
The children considered the circumstances of their own home situations, being part of a family group, compared with the children from the home who are not able to live with their parents. Before they came to visit Mrs. Cancemi explained to the class that the children living in the home did not live with their parents but lived in a big house with adults to look after them.
One child offers: “That is their family”
The children thought of ways they could welcome our friends:
“We can play with them, share our toys”
“Maybe we can play with all the kids upstairs with Ms Bridge and we can play with all the kids outside and we also can be nice with them”
“We have to be nice to babies”
“Be kind”
“Give a hug to keep them warm”

Our three friends, together with two of their teachers arrive at the ELC. They came with gifts for us, three beautiful handmade wreaths! Eating fruit snack together seemed to ease the tension and shyness. Danny and Masaichi offered to take one of the children to the atelier, and Scarlett, Erica, Natalie and Akihiko showed our home corner and building room to the two other children. Then we all played outside, until it was time to say goodbye. Danny presented the children and their teachers with his homemade biscuits he made with his mom. Scarlett, Chloe, Martina and Oliver gave their cards to our friends which they made in the morning. The morning passed by all too quickly, but we promised each other that we will see each other again, soon.