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!
As our final ELC parent and child event we decided to have a picnic at Negishi Park. The children loved riding together on the bus; this was the first time for the E1 children and many asked ‘how long will it be’, ‘when will we see the park’, ‘will my mum be there’. Once the bus dropped us of we walked as a group through the park down to the ponds where many parents were waiting. Games were played, mats spread out with picnic food, parents talked, teachers enjoyed a shared lunch, balls were kicked around. It was a lovely time.
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.
Our ELC Mud Kitchen is being used by the children daily and we wanted to thank the janitors who made it for us. During one of our morning meetings the children discussed how they could do this. There were many suggestions but the one everyone liked best was to make them ‘a great big donut’. The children worked on a large ‘donut’ card’ and made a ‘donut’ cake. These were presented to the janitors by the children. “Thank you very much for our Mud Kitchen, we love it!”
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…
With Sports Day coming up next week we wanted to start preparing the children for this event. On Wednesday we gathered the children for Morning Meeting and asked them, “What is sports day? Some of the E2 children remembered sports day from the year before and told the others some of the things they remembered. We needed a name for our ELC team. Many suggestions were given by the children and a lot of these featured different animals. When the teachers read over the notes from the discussion they suggested to the children that we could be the ‘ELC Animals’. Everyone agreed this was a good idea. The children were asked to choose the animal they wanted to be and to draw that animal. These pictures will be used on our T-shirts for Sports Day.
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.
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.