Calligraphy, the poetry of kanji.

The children have explored the physical and metaphysical beauty of  kanji. The physical beauty of kanji was experienced through creating the characters themselves, firstly with pencils and then with calligraphy brushes. In it’s simplest form, the beauty of the piece lies in the physical act of creating something others can enjoy. There are many possibilities for the artist.

Then there are the metaphysical questions: What is there? What is it like? What are the possibilities? This is the story the kanji holds, its historical message that resonates through time. It is the poetry, the kanji for ‘rest’ is shown as a person under a tree. To ‘listen’ can be represented as an eye, ear and heart. It is our personal reaction to the symbols and the meaning we construct for ourselves.

Who wants to get wet?

These are the words that resonated round the playground on Splash Day.  We observe the children on a daily basis and reflect on our observations with the children, parents and teachers. On Splash Day we noted the respect the children showed for each other during their play. No one assumed anyone wanted to get wet, children threw water onto others feet or backs, and only onto their faces if the child agreed. We also noted the way the children have merged into one  kindergarten group, choosing to share learning experiences together.

Thank you to Imadas Sensai and Isa Sensai for helping us make the O’Bento.

Thank you to Ms Yuka for all these pictures.

June Photographs 
May Photographs 

Kindergarten to visit the ballet

As part of our Unit of Inquiry focusing on How We Express Ourselves the children will have an opportunity to see a performance of  The Snow Woman – Monday March 24 by the Austrian Ballet. Yuki Onna – The Snow Woman is a traditional Japanese folk tale adapted by the Austrian Ballet in Tokyo. The Austrian Ballet Company (ABC) is known for producing entertaining performances with a fusion of Western Ballet and Japanese

Thank you to Shanel Catasti for the links.


A version of the Snow Woman with English subtitles

Information about the Snow Woman.


What do you know about Japanese writing?

At the beginning of the school year the children inquired into forms of written communication.  They drew links between Katakana and English. This exploration has been enriched through the multilingual parent and teacher reading sessions.

At the beginning of our unit of inquiry. “How We Express Ourselves” the children explored different art forms such as dance, music and the written word. We looked at many images of writing as art. We noted that many cultures use calligraphy.

The children quickly pointed out Kanji, Hiragana and katakana. An intense debate ensued as the children explained the difference between different types of Japanese writing. It became apparent that every child in the class could identify Japanese text. The children spent 20 minutes finding Japanese writing in the class. In the next engagement with this topic the children cut out Japanese text from newspapers and junk mail. They represented their finding in their own aesthetic style.

Henry: That looks like a Y. [points to Japanese]

Ophelia: I am learning hirogana, I have my own study book. I can write oni. [writes oni]

Mari: Oni. It’s oni

Mahajlo: It is one Kanji and English there are many to say a word.

Takafumi: Yes there are… you can write a word in hirogana and kanji and it is the same. Sometimes you can’t write it you can use the words. You have to use two words but not in Kanji.

Elly-Grace: I can’t read it but I can say sayonara.

Kai: I can write my name.

Amelia: It is fun to write. You can make Japanese writing out of it.

Takafumi: On no look… there is hirogana, katakana and kanji in this writing. They go together, I can’t take it apart.

Ophelia: Look… look there is Japanese on the glue!

Ms Yuka invited the children to view kanji as pictograms. Each child picked a character and build a picture the match it into the character. To build on the idea of design and calligraphy the children picked  either a hirogana, katakana or  kanji and used materials to design a version of it.

KP, in their own words.

田 – I feel like something…  I am seeing the white chart. It is easy to write.  I don’t know this is kanji or not, but I know this is a letter.  – Mihajlo

の –  It is “n”. It is like my name.  It looks like “e” when you see from this way. Happy.  – Henry

い – That is my name. That one is a little bit. I didn’t choose Katakana one. I don’t write my name Katakana. – Kai

ア – Happy.  It’s in my name! – Amelia

マ – It is something. Do me write Hiragana is so tricky.  Katakana is not tricky.  – Mari

ふ – It is fun to write.  I feel very happy. – Ophelia

え  – This is for Elly. It is easier than Katakana. – Elly-Grace

ハ – It’s not difficult. – Mika

本 – I’m living in Hongodai. It is 本郷台. When I see it, I feel home. – Takafumi

The Hina dolls one year on.

It was time to unpack the Hina Dolls from their boxes. Every year the special dolls are displayed in the ELC for the Japanese Girls’ Festival known as Hina Matsuri, which is celebrated on 3rd March.  The Empress doll and the Emperor doll are set on the top shelf, followed by the three court women, the five court musicians and some more dolls. Hina-arare (rice crackers) and hishi-mochi (diamond shaped rice cakes) are placed by the Hina doll display. It is an important tradition for wishing girls happiness and good health.

This event was especially important to the Kindergarten children who have a special connection with the Hina dolls from last year. The blog post from the ELC last year. The ELC invited the Kindergarten to come and unpack the Hina dolls. This was a wonderful connection to the learning of last year. It

 Children’s reflection

Takafumi: The Hina dolls are very pretty.

Elly-Grace: They were very precious and they looked like a beautiful collection. Last time we got lollies and this time we didn’t get lollies.

Henry: They were pretty, the kimono.

Amelia: I liked the Hina dolls because I got to set them up and I never got to do it before.

Mari: It’s like Hina doll.

Mika: I though the same as Henry. The design.

Kai: The kimono was so cute.

Mihajlo: I just want to say about Hina dolls, they are so cute because they are like really like little people.

Ophelia: The Hina dolls are really very, very beautiful like a diamond.

Elly-Grace: I still think they come out at night.

Henry: At the sleep-over we can hide real good and see them.

Takafumi: We will spy on them and look just a little bit out of the zipper.

Amelia: They play around.

Mihajlo: They make a big mess and then maybe they tidy up… maybe I don’t know… I think maybe.

Mika: They play tag.

Ophelia: Me to!

The joy continues…