As we look back on this academic year, we realized how much the children have grown and developed. We would like to thank all of our parents for your support.
Wishing everyone a wonderful summer!
EPIC ARTS visited YIS and our children had a chance to work with them this week. The workshop was designed to encourage the children to be risk-takers and express themselves through movements. We were divided into two groups. The children very much enjoyed their experience with EPIC ARTS performers. For many of our children, this was their first interactive encounter with people with disability. Our ELC children were totally accepting of the visitors, their interaction was full of joy and completely nonjudgemental. The children were respectful, open-minded and eager to participate. They learned many animal signs such as rabbit, elephant, dog, cat, snake and chicken. We have seen these sign language being incorporated in the children’s play afterwards.
‘Every child wants to watch or touch or listen to water. Water provides opportunity for endless play and experimentation. Children enjoy the feel of it and the way it flows and splashes. The properties of water are endlessly fascinating.’ Natural Playscapes, Creating Outdoor Play Environments for the Soul’
We have had a wonderful week out in the garden with the introduction of water into the environment. Every child seems to have been engaged. Some children enjoyed scoping and pouring the water as they stood at the water table, others liked filling and refilling small containers, some took the sponges and washed the bikes, others watered the garden. A group uses the plastic pipes and gutters and formed a water course.
The children have been so interested in water that we are staying outside longer and have even had our snack outside so we can continue with our inquiry. As summer days continue we are all very interested to see our water work will progress.
According to the Preschools and Infant-Toddler centres of Municipality of Reggio Emilia, Children are active protagonists of their growth and development processes. We, at the ELC, hold the same belief in our children’s abilities and rights to take charge of their own learning.
We have observed in the past few weeks an extraordinary energy and drive for learning. We have seen the children taking such active role in their own quest for knowledge and new experiences both indoors and outdoors. They are experiencing an explosion of life in the garden now that the weather is warmer. There are many new discoveries, shared excitement, exploration and inquiries happening everyday.
A group of children were curious about some cabbages we harvested last week. They wondered what’s inside these cabbages. We made predictions and decided to peel off each layer one at a time. We found a slug and a few other tiny insects.
A child found several rollie-pollies and decided to create a house for them. He carefully added dirt and leaves to make sure the rollie-pollies are in an environment that is similar to their natural habitat. A week later, he returned to the garden do the same thing but this time he enlisted his friends to join in his exploration into finding rollie-pollies and making a suitable environment for them.
Here are some of the snippets from the children’s chatter about their discoveries in the garden.
We saw a real butterfly.
I found many rollie-pollies.
I’ve got a poisonous bug.
I eat parsley.
That’s a flying ant.
Hm…this smells nice.
Spider! Look! Move, it’s here.
We are planting.
What will you discover when you are out on a walk, at a park or just outside in your own garden?
Our new inquiry in to WHERE WE ARE IN PLACE AND TIME: An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories and discoveries has begun.
Some of the questions and provocations that will drive this inquiry are:
What is change? What does ‘change’ mean to you? How do you feel when the changes occur? What have you learned about yourself that you could not do or did not know before and now you know or can do it? Can you think of something that helps you change your feelings? Sometimes you are feeling sad or angry what helps you to change that feeling?
The E2 children have made two visits to Kindergarten and have started to think about the change that will take place soon in their lives. This will also make a difference to the E1 children who will stay on at the ELC and become our older E2’s.
In small groups we asked the children, ‘What is change?’ A discussion followed and the children went on by draw their thinking. Their responses were many and varied. There will be threads of thinking we may want to follow.
“Lizards can change into different colours.”
“Money, change, when you run out of money and you get some more.”
“Caterpillar change to butterfly, she eat and she grow up and she go into butterfly.”
Change your shoes, change your jacket, change your backpack.”
“When I was first I could not change my shoes because we were so little, now I can change.”
“Change means something different.”
“When you change something with someone you can be their friend.”
“If something is not working you can change it.”
“You can change houses – switch houses – I changed houses.”
“Change is like when change country…..or when you change schools.”
Sport in general is a healthy vehicle to promote both mental and physical health. Sports help develop self esteem, teamwork and leadership skills. It is a natural stress reliever and, most importantly, it is FUN!!!
The ELC children have been discussing and choosing a team name. Many suggestions and ideas were floating around as to what we should call ourselves: ELC flowers, ELC magic millions, ELC popcorn, ELC bunnies and ELC friends just to name a few. After a few discussions, we have narrowed it down to two: ELC friends and ELC magic.
A way in which everyone can participate as well as make the process fair for all is to have a vote. This is a great opportunity for the children to learn about societal decision-making. The children were invited to add a mark of their choice to indicate which name they prefer.
It was an important learning experience for the children to understand how their participation through voting helped them as a group to make a decision. It was also important for the children to understand that the result may or may not reflect what they wish and to learn to willingly accept a group decision that was made fairly.
The children also decided on what type of magic powers they are going to have on Sports Day.
Rylie: I have magic hands. It makes me fly.
Syamil: Magic hands catch the fish.
Kiwa: Magic wings I can fly.
Lena: Magic rainbow.
Noah: Magic hands to make a house.
Emma: Magic fingers help everybody.
Josie: Magic fingers to help everyone and stitch.
Kashvi: Magic whole body can fly.
Ellis: Magical hands – they can do everything in the world. Also have wings and fly.
Zein: Magic eyes, the light can come to you. The light goes into my body and I can glow.
Giuliana: Magic hands that turn into a butterfly.
Joshua: Magic head it can jump.
Anna: Magic fingers to go shhhh.
Sunny: Magic eyes go like this (jiggle around).
Hanna: Magic hands (can open and shut really fast).
Sebastian: Magic eyes can fly.
JJ: Magic muscles. I can hold anything.
So: Magical eyes run fast and fly.
Lea: Magic eyes jump high.
Emma Y: Magic running feet fast.
Elsie: Magic hands to do handstands.
Anan: Magic feet to run.
Evie: Magical knees running fast.
Dean: Magic eyes can see so far away.
Nick: Magic teeth go power out.
Oliver: Magic head run away.
Maia: Magic hands run with my hands.
Lili: Magic to change colours like a chameleon.
Wyatt: Magic to turn invisible and to turn back.
Leo: Magic face.
Jaime: Magic mouth, I can jump with my mouth.
Jannis: Magic eyes with fire.
Samu: Magic eyes see far away and flap my wings.
Henry: Magic eyes. My eyes can shoot holes.
Rio: Rainbow magic power makes me powerful.
Ethan: Magic feet run fast.
Max: My magic power is running very fast at the speed of light.
On Sports Day, we are so proud to see the children taking responsibility for their own learnings: being courageous and trying their best, using their skills in different activities and persevering in difficult situations. The E1 were awarded with a certificate of being a RISK TAKER while the E2 received an INDEPENDENCE certificate at the closing ceremony.
Back in the Autumn the children planted a variety of vegetables and herbs in our garden. These have been watered and cared for by everyone. Often the children are eating a sprig of parsley or rubbing in their hands some rosemary from the garden. This week we picked one of the cabbages. Some children tried eating the leaves just as they were. Ms Yuka worked with small groups to break the cabbage up and cook it with a little oil and salt. This was then eaten by the children as a snack.
This concept of ‘from garden to table’ is an important understanding for all of us. We want the children to begin to understand where food comes from and how it is produced. It is also a wonderful way for children to try new vegetables that they may not usually eat. A number of parents have told us that after being at the ELC and having the garden their child now eats broccoli or parsley or even romanesco (which we really did grow).
The children have been anticipating this event for quite sometime. They have been adamant about who they want to invite to this special occasion; people who are closest to them and people who have played a part in their daily lives such as Melody who brings them lunch, the care takers who are always there to help them fix things, the teachers and most importantly their family members. It was very important for the children to have an audience who shows their appreciation for what they have created, to share their excitement and to experience how a community comes together to support each other.
We wonder how the children perceive and remember this special day, so we asked them two questions:
Mommy and daddy come.
Our mommies and daddies come because it’s our ELC Assembly.
We watched a movie and all kind of things were there.
We watched a movie of us making stories.
I gave Ms. Hitomi flowers and she was happy and she was a little bit crying.
Puppet show and Rio and Wyatt was funny.
It was so funny. I was telling a story and it was funny.
I liked Anan’s story and it was funny.
She was dancing. Dancing to a book.
I liked Leo’s story.
We looked me.
We hope that the children will continue to create and tell their stories in many different ways, to recognize their ability to tell stories and to take ownership as well as take pride in their own learnings.
After being exposed to many different stories from parents and teachers and the children making their own stories we wanted the children to reflect on these experiences. Had their understanding of ‘what is a story’ grown?
“My Dad, about when he went camping and he thought it was a beaver but it was actually a bear, he just telled it.”
“Josie’s dad, he write it, like use a marker to write it on the board.”
“My dad also acted out and he asked some of the children to act it out.”
“The story when we do the puppet show.”
“Beverley’s story….. using body and book…… and the cards she gave you to tell you the words.”
“I read a story about a tiger coming to tea with Henry.”
“I have at my house a three little pigs, Spanish too.”
“I made a story at my home, I made it with paper.”
“I made a story, it’s in my pocket… me and Elsie made a story together, I wrote it and I drawed a picture”
“I make stories with my puppet, it is a very scary, scary story.”
“My mom read a story about the red elf, story got pictures.”
“My mommy too, Korean and my mommy is good at reading in Korean.”
“Noah’s mum… picnic….rain…bee…train…..it rhyme, train and rain.”
“You did the fruit snack one with Ms Hitomi…. Ms Hitomi was poking Ms Beth…. the fruit snack one.”
The teachers reflected on the children’s comments. Their understanding had certainly expanded. A story was no longer just something that came from a book.
We then told the children that we had been taking photos and videos of the ‘stories’ that had been happening at the ELC.
“We can show the video to our mum’s and dad’s….to the janitor….to the cleaning ladies….to Ms Mason….Mr Claydon….and we can send it to Santa!…..and then the whole world can see it.”