We were finally blessed with the weather to enjoy our Water Fun Day, such a joyful experience to end this school year. Wishing everyone a happy summer!
Our Sharing the Planet unit has inquired into how our different spaces at the ELC can be enhanced to create peace and order for everyone to spend time together with beauty as a connecting element. The creation of the Mud Kitchen on the front terrace has transformed into a space that is thriving with imagination, coming alive with the children collaboratively sharing the space. The Mud Kitchen has been further enhanced with the purchase of utensils through the generous funding from the PTSA, With the help of the janitors, hooks have been placed so that all of the utensils can be stored neatly. The lively conversations that are exchanged through the making of cakes and the preparing of pots of tea are a delight to anyone who visits the ELC.
The children have continued to explore light and the ways it behaves both inside and outside. We have tried to capture the vital and significant events we have observed and listened to through our Small Group Work and the children’s free explorations. The educational experiences so far have been many and varied: Inquiring into different kinds of light, both natural and artificial, and how light interacts with different materials and objects; Creating visual representations of light; Experimenting with the overhead projector creating shadows with our bodies; Creating dark and colorful shadows with translucent materials and colored water bottles. We have observed that for the children the concept of light illuminated emotion and imagination as they associated light in opposition to darkness and scary things, such as monsters and ghosts…but also magical as they danced in the light with their shadows…
To launch our inquiry into the phenomena and paradox of light through the transdisciplinary theme, ‘How the world works’, we referred to a source from the educators of Reggio Emilia who have worked on light with young children for many years.
We posed the initial question “What is light?” to small groups of children, in a comfortable, cozy setting with a dim and warm shaded light in the corner of the piazza. The children’s responses were incredibly inspiring, knowledgeable and imaginative, helping us to frame our inquiry with many possibilities.
We are excited about accompanying the children on a fascinating path of knowledge building, and through documentation, wish to preserve the complexity of their viewpoints, where natural light and artificial light are not seen as separate but as perceptions of light itself.
“Light is the sun…moon gives light…light comes from electricity…light is fire…a fireball…light is a star…if you touch it, it’s hot…light is lamp…on the ceiling…light makes a tick, tick, sound…light doesn’t make sound…light goes through the window…and into the cave so the bears can see…light goes on and off you…light is for you to see…if you’re scared…your turn on the light in the dark…when it’s dark, the witches come…when there’s a storm, the light goes off..light is shiny…like diamond…light shines on the leaves and cherry blossoms…it’s connected…light is bright…light is blinding…light dries the laundry…light is orange…red…blue…white…black…pink…blonde…purple…”
As the culmination of our unit of inquiry on ‘How we express ourselves’, our much awaited ELC Exhibition was held last Friday with much joy and excitement- joy, to be able to share the creations with family members and friends, and excitement as there was an element of surprise for the adults, with only the children knowing what the Exhibition is all about. It was such a beautiful day…
The children created their works without knowing that they were creating ‘for an exhibition’. They created with the thought of what is beautiful to them, thus making their creation in the purest form without any constraints. There are no dark crevices in the works of young children, their work is full of optimism and hope, bringing smiles upon our faces and happiness inside our hearts.
As one child expressed with deep emotion: “The Exhibition is finished…I feel sad…”
We all felt and shared this sentiment; however, we hope we will all be able to revisit again and again the messages of the children through the movies below as memory of our beautiful experience together.
We constantly search for meaningful ways to approach our inquiry, and often begin with framing a question. Having recently visited the Elementary and High School Art Exhibitions, and viewing ballet as another art form, we posed the question, “What is an exhibition?’
My mommy was there and there was light
Make something with playdough there
You need to make some things out of paper and then dry it
An exhibition is something inside a building
The children reflected about the work they saw at the exhibition and one child says: “We make a lot of art”, pointing to our boards. They soon begin talking about how they would like other people to come and see their work.
I want everyone teacher and everyone
I have done lots of (lovely drawing)
I think I want the people in the whole world
How about the first grade and the second grade to see at the ELC
Both E1 and E2 children are in unanimous agreement to hold an exhibition and to invite all the people they love.
How can we let everyone know?
You need to write a message
It will say, come here
Come to the ELC
I know, we can tell them come over here because we want to show you the exhibition that we made
Maybe we can go and mail it
There is excitement and contagion about our ELC Exhibition, the name the children agreed upon. And with the added excitement of having lunch all together after the exhibition, we are truly looking forward to our ELC Exhibition!
We have been observing how much the children enjoy digging in the dirt and even more so when water is added to the experience. We know how important it is for young children to experience sensory activities which involve both the hand and mind at work, such as exploring ‘mud’. Feeling the sensations in their hands of creating mud and working with mud, and simply getting dirty, offers a therapeutic experience releasing different forms of tension, increasing concentration and building relationships with friends through shared interests. From our observations, the teachers had an idea to create a ‘mud kitchen’ , and the front terrace space offered an ideal location for our plan. We approached the PTSA for some funding and are grateful to receive their support.
The children making mud pies and mud cakes share their experience with all the children at our morning meeting.
We first share a photo of some children making a mud pie. ‘What do you see?’
I saw mud pies
How do you make a mud pie?
You get mud and water
We made it in the play court
Not in, out!
That’s chocolate cake making
Where do your moms make cakes?
Kitchen! It’s a mud kitchen!
What sorts of things do you think you need in the mud kitchen?
Water and mud
Spades, plates, beater, spoon and fork!
We are very much looking forward to constructing this space with the children, a beautiful and imaginative learning space, that will continue to evolve, filled with stories in relation to each other as friends and their many shared experiences.
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…
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’.
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.