The ELC Exhibition as an experience


“The true work of art is not the object that sits in a museum nor the performance captured on film or disc.  Rather, it is the experience occasioned by the production or the experience of appreciating objects and performances.”

Philip Jackson, John Dewey and the Lessons of Art, p. 5

For the children as artists, the two forms of experiences mentioned above are seen as one – the experience of creating their works, and the experience of feeling good about their creations.  For the adults, the ELC Exhibition offered an experience, a transformative encounter that helped to modify our habitual ways of thinking, feeling and perceiving through appreciating the creations and performances of the children. In celebration of this experience in its entirety, the children and parents constructed a page for the portfolio on what touched their hearts in relation to the Exhibition experience; and to end, a delightful fulfilling experience of a potluck luncheon.



Common, community, communication


‘There is more than a verbal tie between the words common, community, and communication. [People] live in a community in virtue of the things which they have in common; and communication is the way in which they come to possess things in common’. John Dewey (Democracy and Education, 1916, p. 5)

These words have become more alive and been given value through our experience in working towards our ELC Exhibition. Our ELC community and the wider community at large, has been brought together through this shared experience.

As a way to ‘possess things in common’, i.e. to become a shared experience, we have documented – a form of communication – the support and participation of our ELC parental community.

Common, Community, Communication from YIS ELC on Vimeo.

How many more sleeps?


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The children took home the ELC Exhibition flyer earlier on in the week. We were curious to know the discussions the children may have had with their families with the flyer as a provocation.

My mom and dad find me…
My dad couldn’t find me…
My daddy and mommy find my eyes but (at first) they didn’t know my eyes, but they find me…
My mom find me and Akihiko, Jina , Aoi and Masaichi…easy to find…and also Kaito
Mommy didn’t find me but Lola did find me, but I helped mommy, I told her where it is, I told her which place in front of Yamashita Park.
Mommy and everybody come out and (see) Exhibition today
My mommy is going to see me at the Exhibition and she finds my eyes and my eyes were in the middle…

How many more sleeps until our Exhibition? (the question was asked on Wednesday)
Seven more sleeps!

We are very much looking forward to our Exhibition!

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.