Pedagogy based on relationships


We have known the children for about four weeks, and likewise, the children have known us for the same length of time. We are learning about our likes and dislikes, our moods and our temperaments. The teachers are constantly engaged in guessing games about the culture of the children’s home, the sorts of literacy practices each child brings to school.  Sometimes we have to think hard and long to match our literacy to that of the children, so much more fragile and volatile than ours as an adult to make decisions about the framing narratives for our pedagogy with each of the children as the inspiration.  We see children huddled over in the writing area drawing maps and stories of Ninja Turtles and spaceships. The playdough space instigates many lively conversations about the types of food we like to eat, or of snakes, cats, and sumo wrestlers! When outside, we observe the spirit of the children as they challenge themselves to go across the monkey bars, or ‘listen’ to their inquisitive minds as they explore the sensation of mud; or their delight in discovering an old bulb or a tiny centipede as they toil the garden.  All these moments which may seem quite ordinary, are actually ‘extraordinary moments’ as the children explore and experience their time and space, not alone, but in relationship with one another, discovering and knowing more deeply about each other with each experience which become shared experiences to build upon.


From “me-ness” to “we-ness”


In our yearlong unit on Sharing the Planet, we focus on the central idea that ‘People have the responsibility to share their environment for a peaceful world.’ A peaceful world welcomes the concept of collaboration and with this,  responsibility for oneself and respect for others. We wish to share with you how we have embarked on our inquiry by framing experiences based upon our daily observations of the children, for our work always begins with the children.

Painting:  We have observed with much delight the interest the children have shown towards painting. The paintings have been, up until now, individual creations.  We wondered ‘what if the children experienced painting on one sheet together?’



Collage:  The children have been exploring design with paper to make collages in our mini-atelier corner of the classroom.  They have become skillful in their careful choice of shape, color and form.  Once again, the creations have been individual ones.  We wondered ‘what if the children created a collaborative collage with natural materials which they collect from the garden?



Exploring the Playcourt:  The children have been asking when they can play in the Playcourt.  We listened to their query and wondered ‘what if we opened this space initially to the E1 children to explore?  How will they interact with each other in this new found space, with new equipment?’


Our learning and understanding, ever enchanting and ever engaging, have just begun, from  ‘me-ness’ to ‘we-ness’…


Back-to-School Night


Thank you for joining us on our Back-to-School Night on Thursday.  It is always a pleasure to have an evening devoted to sharing the education of your children, our youngest members of the learning community at YIS. Our constructivist approach to learning focuses on learning in a social context and emphasizes the importance of relationships.  We value our Home-School communication, and look forward to establishing our relationship with each and every family this school year, keeping the children at the heart and center of our learning and understanding.

We hope you will enjoy viewing the video of the children in their first week and a half at the ELC, which we shared on our evening together.


BTSN 2014 from YIS ELC on Vimeo.

First encounter


This year we would like to focus upon the meaning of identity and the meanings that each child will bring to build upon this identity – the identity of each child as an individual, but also within the community of learners at the ELC. We are curious to listen and to discover, together with the children, the many stories yet to unfold this year.  As a beginning, we wish to share with you some images of the children as they courageously enter and explore a new and unknown environment in their first encounter with the ELC.


First Encounter from YIS ELC on Vimeo.

ELC Self Portraits


Our inquiry into the concept of change has taken many paths and viewpoints.  As our final reflection on our unit, we wished for each child to consider his/her learning in relation to the changes within.  A definition of learning has been co-constructed by the class this year:

“You use your brain, you think about it, and you do it.”

The children looked at themselves carefully in the mirror to draw their self-portrait to look at themselves as well as to look into themselves.

Here are the two questions we posed to each child:

  • What have you learned about yourself that you could not do or did not know before, and now you know it or can do it?
  • What have you learned to say or do that makes someone else happy?


Here are some of the children’s reflections upon their own learning and the changes within themselves:

When I was a baby, I cannot speak English and now I can speak English.  Now I’m bigger  so I climb the ELC tree.

Say “sorry” and “thank you” and “welcome”  and “please”.

I can give water to the flowers and I can tidy up.

I can change my clothes by myself.

I learned to be kind.

If you are like small, we can’t eat really well. We drop and drop and drop. When you are big you don’t drop and drop and drop.

If your friend is sad- you can make them happy- you can do something nice. If you talk nicely and say like “I love you” then they are happy.

Friends don’t have any friend to play, you can say ‘may I play with you please’.

I’m little I cannot do anything like violin, soccer, Kumon- but I grow big I can do violin, swimming.

I go to Japan then I know English.

When I was in E1 I couldn’t tie like a ribbon, but now I could do it!

Hug and kiss  and say sorry and say are you ok?

I didn’t know the ELC but I know ELC now.   In the sports day, there is big, big ladder, little  scared, I couldn’t do it.  But now I could do it.  Small one I wasn’t scared.


Please enjoy the self portraits slideshow below.

The Assembly VDO


Many of our ELC parents asked for a copy of our 2014 ELC Assembly, please find the full video clip of the show below. We hope you will enjoy this wonderful memory  and share it with your family and friends.

Kindergarten visit


The E2 children visited the Kindergarten on Tuesday June 3rd. Through our discussion, we realized that the children are excited and seem to know many aspects of life at the ‘big school’ and many particulars about the Kindergarten class itself. We took a long walk through the park and arrived at the big school just in time for morning exploration with the Kindergarten children. The E2 children explored the Kindergarten classrooms together with the Kindergarten children and teachers, and returned with many things they liked about Kindergarten. We were wondering what the visit was like from the children’s perspective. Here are some thoughts from the children. “Good because we play with the Kindergarten, we play so much that’s why it so fun.” “I love how another class room and how another classroom look like, I love when I see the puppet show.” “I love upstairs some cars.” “I like lego and the cards (Uno).” “There was new things we didn’t know.” “They have a laptop.” “I didn’t see iPad.” “ iPads on the table.” “I like to play with basket ball (game created by Ryu and Sky).” “I like the rolling game.” “I love the something throw the ball.” “I like the puppet show.” “They work hard, they think of the things we play, there were lots of beautiful things.” “There’s a stairs, and lots of blocks.” “There’s Lego.” “The light blocks.” “ (I like) Lego, they were small Legos.” “ (I like) puppet show.” “Reina and draw.” “ I like the light table.” “I see Grade 4 Kimi’s buddy and Caren’s buddy.” “I play with Sara and go upstairs and play with Sara again.” “Kindergarten has to be a garden.” “We read two books.” The children look forward to their transition into Kindergarten class next year.

Changes continued


Continuing on our Unit of Inquiry into the meaning of ‘change’, we referred to a story much loved by the children. Nat the Cat is a delightful story of a cat that has a way of making her friends change their grumpy feelings into happier feelings through her actions and words. The book offers a path for the children to reflect, understand and to express how actions and words affect others, and also to think of the reasons for the changes in their own feelings (or other people’s feelings) in their daily experiences.


We first begin by reflecting on how our words and the ways we speak affect others.

 ”…and not say I don’t like you”

“…and don’t say I don’t like you and I am not going to play with you”

“…and not in a loud voice”

As the story begins, we talk about how Nat the Cat speaks to her friends and how a change occurs inside her friend, Hugo.

“the feelings inside him (Hugo) started to change”,

What was the change?

“…changed from sad to happy!”

 ”…when your heart feels happy, you turn it around (from sad) the heart inside of you.”


We sense the understandings of the children deepening with and through each discussion, centered on feelings inside of us, in differing contexts of experiences significant to each of the children.  We listen to the conscious efforts of the children speaking politely and choosing words that can have positive experiences for each other.  When some altercations, misunderstandings, sadness occur, we are able to question and ask the children:  “How can we change that feeling?”


ELC Sports Day


Our ELC Sports Day was held in the Gymnasium. The children had an opportunity to present their acquired physical skills, and also enjoyed a fun interactive time with their moms and dads as they joined in the games. On the gymnastics circuit, the children demonstrated body control and spatial awareness, and were collaborative when using the parachute together. It was delightful to observe aspects of the PYP Learner Profile and Attitudes in action through sports. They were risk-takers on the high climbing equipment, which they approached with much confidence. They worked as a team showing cooperation during parachute activities and tag games, and above all, showed enthusiasm and joy throughout.


A playdate with the Baby Home children!


It has been five months since we last saw our friends from the Baby Home.  The teachers wished to revisit the children’s previous idea to have another playdate with the Baby Home children.  At our morning meeting, we asked the children to explain about the Baby Home children to our new friends.

The children remember about making the gift of puzzles with their moms and dads:
“I put a picture of Sakura on it (the puzzle).”
“We made it with our mommy or our papa.”
One child remembers about the time the Baby Home children visited the ELC:
“We made hot chocolate!”

When the teacher recalls their plan for a playdate, ideas explode:

“We can call them and we can play here with the Baby Home children.”
“We go to Baby Home, we make a card, we go to Baby Home and play and we come back.”
“We can send them an email.”
“We can (say) have a playdate please.”
“How about they invite us, we go there because last time we went there?”
“But we went there before, at the park!”
“Meet at the fountain.”

The class unanimously decides to meet at the park.
How will we let them know?

“Everyone E1 and E2 (write an email).”
“And all the teachers.”

It was a delightful experience to be in the moment with the children and their wish to include everyone in the writing of the invitation to the Baby Home children.

Here is the letter:

“Can we have a playdate, please?  We can meet you at the park, at the fountain because the fountain is beautiful.  Let’s have a picnic!  Please bring picnic mat, hat and water bottle. We like to share fruit with you! We love you.”