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 chichi-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.
I had a group of all new E2 children to introduce using glue with either their fingers or a stick. It was an activity that the teachers thought necessary for the children to learn how to use glue skillfully.
One child was especially very proud of what he had done with his pieces of paper and glue. He wanted to show his creation to the other teachers. He does not yet speak English so much, but he was communicating the joy of his experience and accomplishment with all his body and facial expressions.
Because gluing and creating collages have not been in the realm of his choices, I invited him again to the Atelier on the following day. I offered him different shapes and textures of paper which he could make into a collage, this time, through his own personal choice and design. He remembered to use glue with care and he was very thoughtful gluing each piece of paper. He stayed focused until he finished his collage.
I envision he will experience many more new things and will learn with each and every experience. I hope there will that joy he experienced the other day and that he will continue to find many different ways to express himself.
After the mid-semester break, we have welcomed some new friends into our ELC. The addition of new friends into our ELC community provided an opportune time for the children to revisit the idea of friends and the question: “What is a friend?”
At the very beginning of the school year, a friend was very much related to family members. Over our months together, we have observed how the children have matured in their relationships with each other and deepened their understanding of what it means to be a friend.
The concept of ‘TOGETHER’ is highlighted in the children’s descriptions.
You can play together
We can share toys or book or origami
Friends are very good at sharing things
We need to be good to our friends
What does it mean to be good to our friends?
We talk together
Friends hug and kiss
Share the bikes together
You can ride a bike together
You can share scooters
You can draw together
We can play outside together
Respect your friends, that means being kind
“This is for the Atelier.” On the first day back from our October break, one E2 child brought me a box and opened it in front of me. There were camellia fruits and seeds inside. Her mother explained to me that she found them in her neighborhood and collected them because she really wanted to take them to the Atelier. These autumn gifts from nature are beautiful. It was also a precious moment for me to know how she noticed and thought about nature around her. And her mother listening to her child, respecting her, and sharing in the joy of collecting the precious treasures. The box, to me, was filled with compassion and the beautiful relationship between child, mother and nature.
Later, in the Atelier, we looked at the shape of the camellia fruits closely and discovered that it spins like an acorn top, which she made with her grandfather and shared with all of us at the ELC before. The value of the simplicity and beauty of nature is so gently nurtured by the family. I sense that the child is learning to appreciate and understand this value in a most natural way.
We hope everyone enjoyed the mid-semester holiday. After each holiday, the children are always eager to communicate with us how they spend their time with their families. Their drawings reveal what they remember most from their experience, please enjoy viewing the children’s reflections.
Holiday drawings from YIS ELC on Vimeo.
It was a very special leaf a child found outside in our playground. It was lacy and delicate, and she called it a skeleton leaf. As one acorn, one flower, one roly poly can delight children, she really treasured this beautiful skeleton leaf all day. She placed it in front of her eye and looked through it. She made its shadow with sunlight on the ground. She tried to look at the pattern of its veins against a teacher’s black T-shirt.
Her close friend found another lacy leaf and kept it with her as well.
These two good friends were also busy making campfire on this particular day. On top of the collected sticks, they beautifully arranged some green leaves and pink flowers. Then one child approached them and she scattered some leaves on the campfire arrangement. They were not happy about it. “No, we are decorating the campfire.” Then the three children carefully removed the scattered leaves and rearranged the leaves and flowers to make it beautiful again.
Teachers are getting to know the children more and more each day, their likes and dislikes, their dispositions and how they interact with each other in the world around them. It appears to me that the two girls notice and see subtle beauty in nature. How wonderful it is to have a friend who one can share, see and sense beauty in similar ways.
Ms Mason, our music teacher set up a music space in the piazza last week. This space has a selection of instruments with an emphasis on ‘light and dark’ sounds. We have pictures of the different instruments with their names up on the wall. There is also dancing scarfs and puppets for the children to use to make a show. We discussed the ‘rules’ of this space – only five children at a time with the instruments and gentle playing. The E1 children have visited this space and they are freely exploring all the materials.
Visiting the Music Space from YIS ELC on Vimeo.