The children lead the making of over 370 onigiri to feed the homeless people in Yokohama.

The room was filled with grade 1 students, their parents, high school students and teachers. Today the children organized and lead the making of over 370 onigiri to feed the homeless of Yokohama. They raised all the money needed through an arcade they made. They went to the shops and brought all the ingredients. They researched how much rice was needed through a meeting with Chef Darren.

Thank you to everyone who help make this possible.

We are leaders not bosses. Organizing onigiri making for the homeless.

The children started to discuss their role as the organizers for the onigiri making for the homeless. They started to talk about ‘boss’ and ‘leader’. The conversation is recorded below. In summary the children equate ‘boss’ with ‘bossy’, someone who tells others what to do. They see themselves as leaders. These are people who do the work, ask questions to see how people are doing and are kind to others. We discussed that when organizing others you can decide the style you use. The children thought they were leaders today as they worked with others and were kind when they told people what needed to be done.

Finally we pointed out that leaders often take the time to say thank you to people. We also discussed that it is good to say why you are thanking people. The children decided to say thank you to Ms Connie for washing up by talking to her. They sent an email to the high school students thanking them for helping and coming to school early. They made a card and origami for Chef Darren for making the rice at 6.00am. They will thank their parents in person for taking the time to come and help.

We made 370 onigiri today and the children showed great leadership skills, from the careful weighing of 100g of rice, to organizing parents and cleaning up the area.

OUR SINCERE thanks for taking part today and most importantly standing back and letting the children lead.

Photo’s by Connie

“Being leader is difficult… it is trying hard with other people… then it is easier in the whole world.” Aoi

The Mathematics of Helping Others.

The children asked to meet with Chef Darren to research  how much rice would be needed to make the onigiri for the homeless. As the leaders of this session the children have raised money to buy the ingredients. Each onigiri needs to weigh 100g. The children have been practicing estimating and weighing 100g of plastercene as practice. They have been using digital scales.  Measurement should be a very practical area of Maths and be used to solve real-world problems.

What we did

  1. Spend time holding different items, one heavy, one light. We asked parents to discuss this in their home language.
  2. Children learned how to use the scales.
  3. They collected and weighed items.
  4. Children put together a collection of items that came to 100g
  5. They practiced adding and taking away amounts from the scale to make 100g

These learning engagements can be found on your child’s Seesaw learning Journal. Here is one example

Here is an example of making 100g of plastercene by estimating first, to “get the feel” of the weight.

You can clearly tell the children understand what they are doing and why.

The children took the money they raised from their cardboard arcade and made a trip to the supermarket to buy the rice and other ingredients. They learned that a 5kg bag of rice is heavy to carry back to school!

Thank you for the pictures Connie

What learning outdoors teaches us.

We spent a day immersed in the outdoors. The children climbed concrete embankments  and trees. They engaged in observations of worms. They ran and ran, waved sticks and defined their own social relationships.

The Tamagawa river excursion gave us a day to observe the children in a  different learning environment. Our sincerest thanks go to our parent volunteers who respected the children’s ability to learn as we watched them climb and explore.

Observations on learning. The natural and man-made environment as a provocateur of thinking and learning.

Children will always find a way to learn through play. Even sitting on a train to the river the children were swinging their legs as they explored motion. They played their own version of Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Children are keen observers and quickly act upon their observations, using their own value system. The children wondered about the homeless peoples houses. the children asked whether they could go to the Chiku Centre.

Children work within their boundaries of comfort and risk. Every space provides an opportunity to play and learn. The children walked past a concrete embankment and spent twenty minutes climbing the structure. Someone  noted this was, “scary, but fun!”. We made careful observations of the children. We noted that children climbed as high as they were comfortable and only then carefully pushed their boundaries. This is the embodiment of education in an atmosphere of wise freedom.

Children can concentrate for extended periods of time. The children decided to make a tree house, they applied all their collective skills to the task. Other groups made shops and birds nests.

All this occurred before 12.00, the learning went on and on.

Reflections from the adults

Parents: The children can do so much.

Teachers: Children should not have their time over-planned, they are capable of self-directed learning. Children are able to sustain peaceful play for hours in a natural environment. They can concentrate and focus for extended periods of time.

Article Children focused through free play

Photographs by Ms Connie


“Make a donation, that means the money is not for us.” Making an arcade to help feed the homeless.

The children spent along time deciding how to raise the money needed to make onigiri for the homeless. As leaders they decided upon a cardboard arcade. After lots of thinking, designing and redesigning it is ready. The children invited their parents to come and play. There were donation boxes outside the room explaining what the money will be used for. As the children noted, we need to use the word donation because then people know it is not for us. The money is to make food for the homeless people. The chidlren are very committed to helping others.

To all who came to play the arcade, thank you! We raised…. 32,178 yen! THANK YOU


The arcade. You can aslos hear your child talking about their game on their Learning Journal (Seesaw)

Thank you Ms Connie for the pictures

The Making of The Arcade on PhotoPeach

An Arcade For A Cause on PhotoPeach

The Mathematics Of Giving. Real reasons to count.

We constantly strive to find authentic reasons for children to apply and transfer learned number facts to real-world situations. This is a true indicator of what children understand.

The reason for doing this

The children will lead the onigiri making for the homeless of Yokohama. They have taken this responsibility and leadership challenge very seriously. They realise they have to raise all the money for the supplies. There was some money left over from last year and the children decided to count it.

The Mathematics involved

Each child guessed how much there was. We discussed the importance of naming items which are counted. If you just say 300, no one knows what you are referring to and it is not accurate or mathematical.

The children started to take the money, some children took piles for themselves, others realised it would work better if they sorted the coins into different types. The next issue was removing coins from other countries. The children are increasingly aware that this can not be used in Japan,

The children were then faced with large amounts of coins… how would they count it and not lose track of the amount? Someone started sorting by tens.

The amount was recorded and then checked by someone else. The children are becoming aware of the need for accuracy, especially when dealing with real items like money.

The amounts were put together… no one felt they wanted to add up all these numbers!

Video taken from Seesaw (online learning journal)

Grade One, Social entrepreneurship.

The children have shown initiative and entrepreneurship as they are working out how to raise money for others.

The children are excite to be given the responsibility to lead the onigiri making session for the homeless of Yokohma. We asked the children where they were going to get all the supplies from. Who will pay for it? Many conversations ensued. The children thought they could ask for money. We told them they were responsible for raising the money.

How will you raise the money?

Ken said he had made a lemonade stand. Vita said she had made a circus show for her parents, both of these activities were rewarded with money. We showed the children what the children did last year. We also showed them the video of Caine’s arcade. The children were very taken by this idea.

How will this raise money?

The children decided their parents could play the games and pay.

How much will you charge?

The sums ranged from 100 yen a turn to 300 yen for a Fun Turn (unlimited turns). Caine made a Fun Pass in his video, but the children noted you can’t take his word – but you can be inspired by him.

Chloe and Sophia often make restaurants, cafes and banks so we asked them what we should do. Chloe suggested tips. She explained this way people only paid if what they made was good. Vita said if people didn’t pay she would explain she had worked very hard on the game.

The games are being developed, prizes are being made.


Come and play the grade 1 arcade Wednesday 25th 8.20am to 9.00am


Time to say thank you to our parents. Children create a joyous celebration.

The children artfully arranged the room  to make it beautiful and comfortable for their parents. Cloth was placed on tables, food was arranged and cushions were placed on the floor. The children brought their parents into the room. They thanked them for something they had  for them. Then they served them food. The children gave the parents their suprise… the first official reading of their published book. Such joy.

Sincere thanks to all the children and parents for their time and effort.

Video can be found on your child’s Seesaw feed

Thank you Ms Connie for all her photo-stories.
Creating A Celebration Of Learning For Parents on PhotoPeach