A Sunny Winter Morning in the Park

On Tuesday we saw the blue skies and winter sun as the morning began and decided to take advantage of the lovely day by visiting the park. We also wanted to take the children to the Elementary Art Exhibition that was housed in one of the historic houses that are found in the park. It was wonderful to see the children run and jump and explore the delights of the gardens. The small groups of children that were taken into the historic house enjoyed viewing the work of the older children and showed great respect and interest in what they saw. We arrived back at the ELC happy, relaxed and hungry for lunch after a very nice morning.

Visit to the Art Exhibit from YIS ELC on Vimeo.

Re-invention Day

What is RE-invention?
“Re-invention means making something new…” (Justin)

For the past eleven 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. 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. In an age where there is an abundance of materials, at our ELC we wish to nurture the value of taking care of our things, new and old, and not simply to discard them meaninglessly.

This year, sparked by many unclaimed drawings and paintings by the children, we wondered how old sheets of paper can be given a new identity using a technique similar to washi making (Japanese paper making). The children brought in some old sheets of paper from home and through the hands of the children and their moms and dads, old sheets magically transformed into new and beautiful sheets of paper…

Re-invention Day from YIS ELC on Vimeo.

We have a new E1 child who joined the ELC in January. Teachers and the children have been getting know her more and more each day. We often hear her saying “No” or “I don’t want to.” Then we also noticed that she likes frogs. She has a froggy backpack, wears a froggy skirt with froggy hair clips in her hair. One day I asked her what makes her like frogs so much. Her answer was “Because I just do!”

In the Atelier, she found a creation of a frog on a page of a clay book and she was eager to try to make one. First she showed me her frog by drawing one and also through gesture by stretching her arms in the air. She then rolled the clay and made each part of a frog before putting the pieces together.

I’ve been witnessing how the children approach working with clay, most often beginning by making simple shapes such as balls and flat shapes presenting pancakes and cookies. This young child who often answered ‘no’ to things approached exploring with clay with no inhibition. Could this be due to her love of frogs?

Music Action Portfolio

During the week we invited our ELC parents to come and watch the children during their music lesson with Ms Mason. This was an opportunity to see the E1 and E2 children ‘in action’ in the piazza space. Ms Mason used some of her familiar ‘friends’ during the sessions and as always the children responded to Freddy the Frog and Kangaroo with much enthusiasm. It was wonderful to see everyone singing, moving and using the instruments as the parents watched on.

Music Action Portfolio from lara magtalas on Vimeo.

After the winter break

“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.

PE Action Portfolio

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.

Reflections from the winter break

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.

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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.


Planting at Harbor View Park

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.

Celebrating the Beauty of Autumn

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.

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