Despite the rain, the children enjoyed a Teddy Bears Picnic inside around the tree with picnic mats in the piazza, as if we were outside. So many cuddly soft toys visited the ELC on this day, the faces on each one of the stuffed toys and on the children brightened up the day.
On the Teddy Bear’s picnic day, I had special visitors with the children in the Atelier. There were 2 dolphins and one koala. It was interesting to see how their much loved stuffed toys motivated the children to create a place for those animals. “Let’s use this!” “How about this one?” “We need other sea animals.” “I’ll make an octopus with clay!” They shared ideas and worked cooperatively using the materials in the Atelier.
The wooden big tray was filled with many things, sea shells, bamboo tunnels, stones, bubbles, shiny water and some sea creatures. Two dolphins were cuddling there and the koala was resting happily on a tree by the ocean that morning.
We have established and developed our relationship with the park keepers at Harbor View Park for over ten years. Twice within the school year, once in October/November and again in June, we are invited to plant flowers in the flower tubs set aside for only our children. We are so grateful to our friends from the park who give so much respect to our ELC children to take action within the public grounds of the park and participate as a member of the local community. We wish to nurture an understanding within the children to recognize themselves as protagonists with responsibilities who can take action to help support their immediate community and environment with care.
The video documents our morning planting with the park keepers.
“I had a great time in the Atelier!” It is always a joy for me to hear such a comment from the children. This week, these words from one child reached deeper inside of me. When I heard this expression, I recalled how the child used to be. He had been reluctant to spend time in the Atelier but now he seems to be motivated by his own sense of curiosity. On that particular day, he created a threshold decoration to welcome the new incoming ELC children for next year. The materials we used for welcoming the Baby Home friend were still available in the Atelier and he selected the materials one by one, thinking carefully and trying various ways to create a design.
“I had a great time in the Atelier!” I felt his sense of satisfaction from his words and from the expression on his face. As we witness every child’s development through the school year, it was a delightful moment for me to see his growth through his experience in the Atelier.
On Thursday, our Baby Home friend visited the ELC. In preparation for welcoming our friend, we were able to incorporate all of the children’s ideas, beginning with the E1 children’s lantern creations and the E2 children’s shiny installations to hang on the trees. We also baked vanilla cupcakes the day before to add to our surprise party. During morning free exploration on the day of the visit, the children took turns hanging their installations in the garden, and a table was set with a tablecloth for the platter of fruits and cupcake. When our friend arrived, we welcomed him into the classroom and the children greeted him with a soft ‘surprise’ so as not to frighten him. We then invited him to the garden to begin our celebration. It was a beautiful morning, seeing our children extending their thoughts and gestures so warmly, and in return, seeing the smile on our Baby Home friend.
On the last day of this week, the ELC moms helped celebrate Mrs. Cancemi’s birthday with the children giving her their loving hugs, flowers, gifts and cakes.
In the afternoon, the children surprised Mrs. Cancemi with a video message on what they love about her.
From all of us in the ELC, thank you for celebrating with us.
And thank you Mrs. Cancemi for making the ELC such a wonderful place. Happy birthday!
Mr. Konno is our ELC Security Guard who greets the children and parents every morning with a kind smile and keeps us all safe. With many thanks to Bev’s thoughtfulness in organizing the mothers to contribute towards purchasing a thank you gift for Mr. Konno, the moms thought it may be a good idea if the children came up with an idea as to how to present the gift.
“We should all give it together!” A suggestion was made to the children if they thought it may be a nice idea to invite him into the ELC. “Yes, we should do that! He is always just outside. Let’s invite him in, we will sit in the Piazza, like we do for Mariko-san and Kosugi-san (our two cleaning staff the children know so well).
On Wednesday afternoon, which coincided with Mr. Konno’s last day of duty at the ELC and YIS, we invited him inside the ELC.
Some children came up to say “thank you”, “good bye” and “I love you”
The Piazza was filled with so much warmth and love, we thought we detected a tear in Mr. Konno’s kind eyes…
One E1 child enthusiastically suggested to hang/put lights on the trees in our playground to welcome our Baby Home friend. The teachers thought that making lanterns with cellophane papers would be a beautiful way to connect their learning and experiences thus far with our unit of inquiry on light. Also by using empty milk cartons, the children can experience how used materials, which could be thrown away, have the possibility to transform into something beautiful.
Each child designed shapes which the light can shine through his/her lantern. They chose colored cellophane papers to cover their shapes, and they decorated the other sides of lanterns with colorful tissue papers which were also cut into the shapes they designed,such as a heart, circle, flower and eggs.
I feel that these beautiful lanterns represent their kind, warm, and caring hearts.We are all excited to hang them outside on the trees to welcome our friend next week!
Visiting the Harbor View Park to view and smell the roses this week, we saw some children from a Japanese preschool also visiting the park. This sparked a question in one of our children who said: “I wonder how our Baby Home friends are?” At our morning meeting the following day, we discussed the idea about inviting our Baby Home friends to the ELC again.
“Yes, let’s surprise them, a party outside with lights on the trees!”
“And this time, they should stay longer…”
While the E2 children were visiting Kindergarten, the E1 children had an opportunity to discuss further and explain their ideas through drawing:
“We can say hello”
“And say Happy Birthday”
“And we can say I love you”
“And we can sing to them, welcome to the ELC!”
“We can put a present to them”
“I will draw the present”
Please enjoy viewing their ideas through their drawings: