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…”
Living here in Japan, Sakura is a wonderful time of year. In the ELC garden our cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. The children have been able to sit outside under the trees and eat their snack on sunny mornings. This is known as ‘Hanami’, Cherry blossom viewing and is an ancient Japanese tradition that appreciates the beauty of cherry blossoms and other Spring delights. The children have enjoyed being able to do this and also to play under the trees collecting blossoms that have fallen in a ‘world’ where everything seems to be covered in the palest of pink petals.
Spring can also be found in the local park. We have been able to visit and again eat our snack out doors. The colours and smells of the park are exquisite and enjoyed by all the children and teachers. To be able to have the children outside when ever we can is very valuable and will help them to always enjoy the delights of nature.
ELC Spring from lara magtalas on Vimeo.
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.
What is Beautiful – ELC Exhibit 2017 from lara magtalas on Vimeo.
A walkthrough the ELC Exhibition from YIS ELC on Vimeo.
When we arrived back from the Spring Break everyone was very surprised to see how much everything in the ELC garden had grown. All our herbs were much bigger, the radish, coriander and snap pea seeds we had sown before the break were all sprouting, the tulips were flowering and when we looked at the broccoli and cabbage plants we had a big surprise. They were huge! It was time to harvest.
The work of the Gardening Group, that had been done in the autumn was being rewarded and the children’s desire to ‘grow food’ had come to fruition. It was with eager anticipation that we cut the huge head of broccoli and the very large cabbage. JP from the YIS kitchen took the cabbage and prepared it for us the next day with seaweed and sesame oil. It was delicious. The broccoli has been put in the fridge and will be cooked next week.
Each day as the children are out in the play ground they often ask for pieces of fresh parsley or coriander or a spring of chocolate mint to chew on. Leaves from our other cabbage are also being pulled off and eaten by the children.
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!
The ELC Exhibition: What is Beautiful? -Trailer from lara magtalas on Vimeo.
Last month we began our ‘Library Time’ at ELC. This is time when the children listen to a story then get to choose a book from our library shelf that they can then take home. Mrs Kar visits from the main YIS Library each Tuesday afternoon and we enjoy a ‘new’ story that she has chosen for us. She has taken us on some wonderful adventures involving far away lands and magical creatures. The children’s love of stories is always shown on their faces as they listen. Recently I selected one of the books Mrs Kar had sent entitled “Tiger Goes Wild”, to read to the children. A wonderful discussion followed about where we could find a ‘wilderness’ and who had been to such a place. Ms Destiny seemed to have been the only one – Central Park in New York city?
Following the story the children are able to independently select their own library book. Everyone is very excited to do this and they take great pride in making their selection which they then take home that afternoon . We are sure you enjoy having a new book at home to read. Together we are growing life long readers and children who will always love a good story. Happy reading.
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.
My Movie from YIS ELC on Vimeo.
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.
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.
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.