Water, water, water

Water Play from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

‘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.


What’s in the garden?

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?

What is change?

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.”


Old home, this is my new home, changing house.

Change trains to grandma’s house.

This is when I can jump very high.

Money, change. When you run out of money and you get more.







ELC Sports Day

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.

We tallied up the marks. ELC Magic got 20 votes while ELC Friends got 18 and so ELC Magic is our team name this year. 

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. 

ELC Magic – Sports Day from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

From Garden to Table

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).

From Garden to Table from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

“We are making a story together”

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:

“What do you think about the ELC Assembly?”
“What do you remember?”

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.

Making Stories

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.”   

We are looking forward to showing you the video at our ELC Assembly on Tuesday!

Spring has sprung

The children are excited to be back after the break. They have been sharing their adventures and reconnecting with their friends. With the change of season, our children are experiencing many new discoveries. We have spring colors in our mini-atelier.  We have two beautiful sakura trees that give us sakura petals to play with this past week. The ants are working nonstop looking for food. We see earthworms crawling around in our garden. Strong wind let us play with our kites and catch sakura petals on the playground.

Our slideshow this week tries to capture these precious moments of childhood happiness when Spring has finally sprung.

“It’s Flower Season!” from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

“Be Sensible”

Conflicts are great opportunities for children to learn about perspective taking, positive social interactions and about relationships. Treating others with respect and kindness is a value that we wold like to nurture in the children at the ELC. We also want to incorporate the idea that stories can be told in many ways. The teachers introduced ‘Stop-Think-Speak’ strategy through series of short skits using traffic light colors. We asked the children to identify what each color of the traffic light means:

The red one is no and the green one is yes.

The yellow one is go.

No, yellow is be careful and slow.

We then introduced that red means stop, yellow  is for slowing down and think, and green is for speaking or acting. These short skits demonstrated different ‘unexpected behaviors’ that the teachers have observed.  We hope that it will help the children remember to ‘Stop-Think-Speak’ as they interact with each other.  We asked the children to discuss what each person can do better next time during each skit. Here are some of their suggestions:

Be sensible.

Be nice.

Say sorry.

No hitting.

Tell the teacher.

The children were excited to see their teachers performing stories so we were not surprised when some children expressed their own interest in acting out their own ‘story’.  We are sure there will be more performances in the future as we continue to explore different scenarios.

We want to encourage you to help us reinforce this strategy by using the same language when discussing ‘expected/unexpected behaviors’ and asking the children to ‘stop-think-speak’ at home.

We hope the video below will help you start your own conversations at home.

Stories can be told in many ways

We have begun our HOW WE EXPRESS OURSELVES unit of inquiry with the central idea that ‘stories can be told in many ways’. We wanted to gage the children’s understanding of this central idea at the beginning of the unit. Each child was asked individually, “what is a story?’

Some of the responses of the children:

“A story is a book.”

“Something that you …something with pictures and something that we can read from.”

“Something that you love and something that you read.”

“Story is new, like flower story or owl story.”

“A story is a something to read.”

“Sounds. It’s like sounds. You can hear……”

“Mukashi banashi.”  (story from a long time ago)

“A special story.”

After reading over all the thoughts of the children and seeing what ‘threads’ of understanding we could identify the teachers decided that they wanted to provide provocations to the group that would broaden their understanding of ‘a story’. Parents have been invited in to share ‘stories’ and the teachers are also thinking of ways to share. Ms Mason is using music with stories. Our puppet theatre is out and many other experiences are available  to the children. Children are natural story tellers and we are excited to see how this inquiry will develop.




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