“Ms. Yuka, Come!” One child called me and took me to the flowerpots of tulips which the children planted before the holidays. There was one tulip bud peeking out from the soil. It has been growing ever so silently over the winter break. He wanted to show me what he found. I felt sorry that I wasn’t able to make more time for his discovery that day.
On the following day, I invited him to the Atelier, and placing the flowerpot on the table, we shared our excitement and wonder of how the tulip will continue to grow. Even before my suggestion to show his thoughts by drawing, he pointed to the small painting corner and said, “I want to do that!” Then he painted three tulips of red, green and yellow. “Any color is good. I’ll like it anyway…Maybe it’s going to be rainbow color?” It appears to me that his colorful frame he painted around his tulips also expresses his excitement and joy for our tulips.
This week we invited our ELC parents to come and watch the children during their PE lesson with Mr Claydon. This was an opportunity to see the E1 and E2 children ‘in action’ up in the auditorium. The children showed their throwing skills with the bean bags as they threw high and low, under and over. It was an active and fun experience for the children and we are sure the parents were excited to see the children in action.
PE Action Portfolio from lara magtalas on Vimeo.
We have come back to the ELC after our three week winter break. The children always like to share their many experiences how they spend time away from school with their friends and teachers. Often when we use the word ‘holiday’ we have discovered that for some children, this word means ‘going somewhere on an airplane’ as opposed to time spent being at home as well. The teachers discussed how we could possibly phrase a question that would elicit many different kinds of responses, and so we asked: “We have been away from school for some time, and now that we are back, can you share with us how you spent time during this ‘winter break’ from school, what was something special you remember from your time away from school?” Please enjoy the slideshow below the children’s reflections over the ‘winter break’.
Winter Break from YIS ELC on Vimeo.
We brought back lots of Marigolds to the ELC which we pulled out from the flowerpots at the park with the park keepers. A child had an idea to arrange these flowers to make a design on a wooden board. Other children also liked this idea. Some children worked together while others worked individually.
Among them, one E1 child was taking each Marigold with special care and placing it along the edge of a board. She always enjoys exploring with different materials but tends to be a little careless with the use of materials. Because I know she has been learning to be more respectful of how to use and create with the materials, observing her process of making a design with those flowers deeply impressed me. She carefully laid all the flowers facing the same way on the board with the stems pointing out. Her creation shows us how much time she devoted to arranging the flowers, her careful attention to each flower.
We have established a long term relationship with the park keepers at Harbor View Park by way of planting flowers in the plant pots which are permanently located near the bridge area of the park. We are looking at this experience within the transdisciplinary theme of ‘Who we are’ especially through the lines of ‘Myself as part of a group’, the group meaning a part of the ‘community’. It is a valuable opportunity for our children to participate in a role within the larger community, to have the responsibility to take care of something that is outside of the ELC and belonging to the larger local community. It is equally rewarding to receive the trust and respect from the park keepers to be entrusted with this opportunity for the children each year. This experience also lends itself to the natural process of making connections to our Sharing the Planet transdisciplinary theme, of making our environment beautiful, just like at the ELC – the work and learning happening through the Garden Group and the Playcourt Group.
Planting At The Park from lara magtalas on Vimeo.
Children are naturally drawn to nature and their delight in this encounter is very evident. Autumn is a season to be celebrated and explored as the leaves on the trees change colour and fall and the days draw in and get colder. Here at ELC we have been collecting leaves and flowers, twigs and sticks, acorns and fruit.
.These collections have been used in many ways as the children express their wonder in what Autumn has brought for us.
“Nature is as important to children as food and sleep ……. in nature a child finds freedom ………. and genuine creativity.”
Richard Louv, ‘Last Child in the Woods’
Celebrating the beauty of Autumn from YIS ELC on Vimeo.
The ELC has had a long lasting relationship with the Lady of Lourdes Baby Home. Every year we invite the youngest children from this Home, who are not yet attending school, to come and play with us at the ELC. This year eight friends visited our ELC in mid-November to spend the morning with us. We thought deeply about what gift we could make for our friends at this time of year and after much discussion, the ELC children decided upon baking cookies and making cards as gifts for our friends this year. On Thursday, moms and dads, children and teachers, came together to create these gifts combined with a potluck luncheon to share. Such an air of happiness and joy filled our ELC with thoughts of our Baby Home friends, bringing us all the more closely together as a caring community.
Baby Home from lara magtalas on Vimeo.
Both the Playcourt Group and the Garden Group have continued on in their enquiries over the last few weeks.
The Playcourt children worked with the Janitors to add a rope ladder and a canvas bridge to the existing play structures. Now we have a pirate boat. After initial exploration of the new apparatus by all the children the Playcourt group met again to discuss ‘Tensions’ that arose and have worked out some basic ‘rules’ for smooth use of the Pirate Boat.
The Garden Group had a very interesting discussion about the strawberry plants that had died.The children decided they still wanted to try to grow other ‘food’. A list was made. Where could we buy these plants? On Tuesday a small group of children and teachers walked down to the local garden centre to buy vegetable plants and herbs.
Sharing the planet – small group work continues from YIS ELC on Vimeo.
Shichi-go-san (7-5-3) is a celebration and festival day in Japan to mark the growth of children as they turn three, five and seven.
Parents celebrate shichi-go-san with the boys wearing hakama pants and haori jackets while girls wear kimono as they visit the shrine.
After visiting the shrine, the children receive chitose-ame or thousand years candy symbolising longevity.
We celebrated shichi-go-san in the ELC by dressing up some of the children who took the roles of a seven year old, a five year old and some three year olds. All the ELC children received a stick of candy to symbolise long life.
The kimonos, haori and hakama are displayed in the Piazza and all the children are welcome to try them on.
7-5-3 from YIS ELC on Vimeo.
The children were busy with preparations for welcoming the Baby Home children on the morning of their visit. Making cards for our friends was one of the ideas the children had in their discussions. I invited a group of children from both E1 and E2, who were eager to make cards for our Baby Home friends, to the Atelier. We again talked about the nine children who we were expecting to come to the ELC. It was probably not easy for them to think about someone who they have not yet met, but it was another good opportunity to sincerely think about our Baby Home friends and to deepen their feelings toward them.
The children explained about their drawing on their cards.
“They are holding hands. This is me and two baby home children.”
“This is a flower.”
“This is me and these are baby home children. There are nine.”
“It’s a book without letters. This is the baby home boy. I want to tell them that I got flu shot because I think they don’t know that.
They took time and created beautiful cards. We all hoped our friends would like them.