Kindergarten visits DP Art Exhibition

We were very excited to visit the DP Art Exhibition in the auditorium this year. The exhibition, true to previous years, offered many variety of art pieces for the children to explore. We discussed about how everyone is an artist and artists communicate or express their ideas or feelings through their art pieces.

The children were tasked with a question to ponder as they experience the exhibition, “What is the meaning or purpose of the art?” In addition, the children also brainstormed other interesting questions to ask at the exhibition such as: “How did you make it?” and “What gave you the idea?”  The children used sketch books to draw any art pieces that speak to them.





Upon reflection, the children each chose their favorite piece and share their thinking. There are two guided questions to help the children form their ideas:

Which piece of art did you like the most and why?

What do you think the artist is trying to say?

Lubna   I like to draw ghost because it’s difficult to me. It’s cool, the ghost.

Zarah   It was on the picture frame. It had curls it had a lot of details on that picture. That’s why I wanted to draw it. There was a picture that was 3D and I wanted to draw it because I like 3D things.

Cole     I think this artist is trying to tell you don’t waste plastic. Because there’s so much plastic on it.

Lin    I think this artist said don’t waste tape.

Caden       I think this artist is saying don’t waste power.

Yanchuan     I think it is in the sea.

Grace     I really like the computer that’s stuck in the sand and he put water so it could stay hard, so it could grow hard. The other thing that I like was the nose, just the nose and it was white it was very funny. She made it with clay and water. 

Yuri   I thought the picture that the bird is on the telescope. She said to me the telescope is for a dream that you could see up in the sky.

Yibo   I like this head because it horse. It’s cool.

Elayna    The artist was trying to say to me that this bird and these things are made out of clay and these are ropes. Fake plants. Real stick.

Daniel     This is a computer is broken in the mud and I saw it the people say… I say how did you make the mud. He said with water and sand. And he made some mud. He had a computer and he put computer in the mud. Because maybe it first was broken.

Learah   This artist paint curlies. It was beautiful so draw it.

Kai    This piece was the light piece because the roof was shining with the light.

Silas   I think it’s trying to say to me that it’s beautiful because it has a really nice shape and a really nice color.

Kaito   I like this one because it only arm. (It means) Itchy.

Rain   The eye is asking me “what do you see?” (response to art on site in Japanese)

Kodai   Like a shark.

Nico    I think the artist wanted to say there is the other umbrella. But Artist forgot to draw the other one.

Emma   I like it. It’s saying to me “pick some apples”.

We highly encourage you to support your children’s learning by asking them to think about the meaning of what they see and experience outside of school. Our aim is to develop an inquiring mind in our future generation; to have a habit of asking questions, in depth questions, about the world around them and to seek answers to those questions.

Ohinasama exhibition

Our inquiry into how people communicate their ideas and feelings continues to deepen with an opportunity to experience a variety of dolls as well as Hina dolls at the museum. At the entrance, a small group of children noticed a notification saying, “Ms. May, we can take photo but cannot use flash. Look! it says here with the pictures,” thus exhibiting their ability to understand different forms of communication and make sense of the world around them.

As always, the children were full of excitement and enthusiasm for our walking field trip to the Doll Museum to view Ohinasama exhibition. As we revisit our experience, the children were inspired to create their own Hina dolls using clay and other materials. Most of the creations are displayed in and around the classroom. Please feel free to drop by and ask the children to explain their creation.

A new feature this year that the children were drawn to the most was an area which the children can have a hands on experience arranging the Hina dolls themselves. Another feature of the museum that the children were drawn to showed how two different types of dolls were made. There was a display of equipment and materials used that the children can physically explore. We also wonder ‘What the artist is trying to communicate by creating these different dolls?”  They look like they are getting married.  One child explained.

Please ask your child what he or she think about the exhibition. Here are some guiding questions:

  • What do you remember about the experience?
  • What the artist is trying to communicate by creating these dolls?
  • What do you notice and what do you think it means?

KS- Yokohama Doll Museum from Kindergarten S on Vimeo.


Our discussion about Measurement started with our inquiry into our height. The children already had a few ideas of how to measure and why measurement is important.

Grace   Measure means like Kai and me are standing up and if Kai was around like this (standing up against each other) so Kai is bigger than me.

Silas    When you want to measure something, measure it, and the woods and you use it and mark things.

Yuri     In ELC we measure everyone’s height. 

Grace   Important to measure yourself because we don’t know how tall we are. 

Silas   There is so much people on the elevator, if the people are too heavy it will be … too much weight. 

Lerah    I am small.

Caden    Yuri is the tallest.

Kai   No MS. May is the tallest.

After the children shared their prior knowledge, they began to devise a method that they think will help them measure themselves and record their findings.


Silas    What I think we should do is see how everyone’s weight. That one (pointed at height chart).

Caden    That is how tall. 60,70,80…..

Cole   This is the thing to measure how tall you are.

Grace     We can use the piece of paper that we got.

Yuri     Ms. Cancemi was lying down like this.

Silas   Make a line on the paper and write our names.

Yanchuan   You need to take off your shoes.

Theories were tested and information obtained. Through this inquiring process, the children explored and learned to compare size and length of objects using non-standard units as well as use appropriate language to describe and compare objects. The children used different objects (non-standard unit tool)  to measure each other to find out how tall they are.


We will continue to find more opportunity to use our new measuring skills in a real life situation. And you can do the same by making fun for the children to explore measurement at home. The more opportunity for them to practice the more they will be able to consolidate their new learning.

Hiking With Our Takarajima Friends

After much anticipation, the day of the hike finally arrived! The children were eager to see their friends from Takarajima again and to share this special experience together.

Enkaizan Hike with Takarajima 2017 from Kindergarten S on Vimeo.

Upon returning to the school, we reflected on the experience together. The following is a transcript of our discussion.

Lubna – I just play the Takarajima friends. I play a lot with Takarajima and I so happy that Takarajima want play with me. Played like slide. A big, big, big slide. It was so fun. That’s why I happy.

Grace – It was difficult when I was trying to get to the big slide because there was lots of stairs. I just wish there was an elevator to take us up. That was really hard. I feeled puffed.

Zarah- When we were meeting Takarajima, I was happy with them because you played on the slide.

Sophia – It was so fun. The other slide. Not the big one. The red one. Because I no like fast.

Yuri – I played with many hills. We go up the mini hills and I was very tired at the bus. I played a doctor with Zarah on the bus. It was really fun. Sophia was sitting with Kai’s mom.

Yibo –  Good.

Lehra – It was fun on the bus.

Yanchuan – It was boring on the bus. I didn’t have someone to talk. I was sitting with nobody. Next time, I sit with somebody. The hike fun. The slide.

Lin – It was fun going on the slide. Playing with Takarajima friends. The slide.

Kodai – Korioni. Ice tag.

Elayna – When someone touches you, you freeze. If someone is in the group and he touches you, you run away

Caden – It was so fun going up the slide. It was so tired going up the stairs. Remember the bridge we made across that table.

Kai – It was so fun playing the slide. I was so tired going up the stairs.We saw lots of bridges.

Elayna – I was playing with the Takarajimas and I was sliding with them.

Nico – When I was going on the bus, I go past your home. Its is big. It’s a zig zag. Ms. Yuka saw my mom. On the mountain, there was lot of water dry but there was a little bit water not dry.

Cole – There were lots of that really big ponds. We saw also a squirrel nest in a tree. Because Takarajima teacher knows.

Daniel – The same as Lubna. I find a lot of leaves in my shoes.

Rain –  I like ice tag. I play ice tag and we like to play it. Happy.

Silas – I saw there was rocks coming into my shoes. I saw a squirrel and I picked up leaves and put them in my pocket. We saw a  two bat nests

Emma – So we were pretending in front of the moms that there were lots of cheetahs and we were pretending that we ran as fast as we could and there were lots of stairs. We were just pretending that. I saw the blackbirds. I saw a crow.  

Grace – There is a song about blackbirds (sings the song)

Kaito – There were lots of arthritic the park. It’s like a little rock climbing and a string.

Yanchuan – The circle is the tricky.

Kaito – Oh yeah, the net.

Grace – And it was so small.

Zarah – The climbing was tricky. Climbing from the rope was hard.

Silas – We saw snow!

Emma – First the teachers thought it was flowers.

Lubna – I was eat the snow. It tastes like little bit of spicy.

Caden – It was so cold when it touched my fingers

Kai – It was just a little bit.

Thank you so much to the parent volunteers who helped out and made this such a successful trip!

Planning Our Hike With Takarajima

This week, the children have been planning our third and final visit with our friends from Takarajima. The returning students showed the new students a picture from a previous field trip to help give them a better understanding of what to expect.

To help the children frame their thinking, we used a compass point thinking routine. We discussed over several meetings what we were excited about, what we were worried about, what we might need and any suggestions we that had for the trip. The following is a transcript for our discussions. 


Back to School

The children returned to school eager to see their friends! We exchanged stories from our holiday break during the first morning meeting. The following is a record of the children’s discussion.

Kai – I went to America and I went to game center.

Daniel – I went to America and I played with my friend and there is a puppy and big puppy. And played with lots of times.

Caden – Go to Tokyo

Nico – I went to my grandma’s house. That is my mum’s mum. I made a snow flakes with her.

Lerah – I go to grandma’s house. With grandma. Hose game.

Cole – My mum’s dad came. Play.

Kodai – Yuzawa. snowboarding.

Kaito – I did ski at Karuizawa.

Sophia – I go to my grandpa’s house in Mexico. He has lots of dogs. Big and small.

Rain – Mansion. Went to grandma. I fed to sheep.

Yuri – I went to the Disneyland and sleepover and I sleep over at grandma and grandpa 2 times.

Yanchuan – I go somewhere Japan and I go ski. Daddy fall every time. Mommy go to work.

Zahra – I went to Emiji castle. I fed the deer. I stayed in 3 hotels.

Elayna – I went to grandpa and grandma’s house and played with dogs, medium dogs. There is kind like a puppy and named piggy. That is not my dog.

Lubna – I go to the sea with my mum and dad. I played in the sea.

Emma – I had lots of things. We went to Japan. Then living in a hotel.

We have also been talking about what readers do to help them understand what they are reading. The students share their thinking in the following comic strip.


“Takarajima friends are here”

The Takarajima Yochien came to visit us at YIS. This Unit of Inquiry, Sharing the Planet, encourages students to develop their understanding about sharing the environment. The compass routine helped us with organizing our thinking and sharing our thoughts. The children thought about the limitations we face as a school in terms of shared spaces. They were concerned that Takarajima children may not have fun at YIS. They wrote letters to inquire about available spaces, drew a map to ensure their friends will not get lost. The children considered different activities to offer as well as what type of gifts they want to make for their friends from Takarajima.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  A schedule for the day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  A map of YIS and how to get to YIS from Takarajima.


After a day of fun, playing at YIS and a picnic at Yamashita Park, the children reflected upon their experience of the day.

What do you think about today?

Nico    I had so much fun playing with Takarajima and I was so happy because I was throwing hat. Some hat got stuck.

Yuri    I was so happy that they come because I play a lot with them. I play with climbing tree.

Zahra     It was fun climbing up the tree.

Lin      It was fun. I played with Takarajima friend. Play home.

Kai      It was so fun playing with Takarajima and I play soccer with Caden and Cole, Daniel and Nico.

Grace     I like dancing with a partner and showing her the sandpit.

Rain    I play with Takarajima race.

Daniel   It was fun playing with Takarajima and I play with glue gun.

Caden   It was so fun playing with Takarajima. We play soccer.

Yibo    I think it was good that they came. We played. (In Chinese)

Cole   I had fun playing soccer with Takarajima.

Lerah   It was fun because I did the Mario dance.

Kodai   Soccer. Kick.

What was difficult for you?

Nico     It was difficult putting the hat down from the tree. It was fun. Some Takarajima friend put the ball in the tree and it fell down.

Yuri      It was difficult making them fun and happy. And when you think something they will be happy maybe they gonna be happy too.

Cole    It was very difficult getting the ball from Takarajima.

Grace   What was difficult was trying to get…all of us trying to speak to them. It was really hard to speak to the Takarajima because they are all Japanese and most of the English people had a bit of trouble trying to speak to them. I was trying to do what we wanted to.

Caden   I agree with Cole. Getting the ball from takarajima.

Lin      It was difficult jumping from the tree.

Rain     Me too. I not scary but I did it. Jumping.

Takarajima Kindergarten from Kindergarten S on Vimeo.

Kindergarten in the park

We are enjoying the wonderful autumn weather and took a trip to Yamashita park to see the row of beautiful yellow ginko trees, the oldest tree on earth, a living fossil.  It was a great opportunity for the children to connect with nature and experience the change in season within their environment.



We spent another morning playing in a rose garden. It was a beautiful morning and the children were happy to be running around exploring the park. With uninterrupted play time outside, we’ve noticed the children’s ability to develop  and broaden their imaginary play scenarios through peaceful collaboration and communication.  They were creative and sincere in their pursuit of fun. They enjoyed each other’s company while putting their learnings into action.

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There were pie restaurants that only sell two types of pies, drawings of various things they observed as well as advent calendar, proper restaurants with food and drinks, pretend dogs and many other imaginative scenes.

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It has been a wonderful learning journey thus far in Kindergarten. We look forward to more learning after the break.




KS Celebration of Learning 2016

The children finally decided on the menu: Onigiri, fruits and cookies. They are learning that there are limitations to what they can do due to limited space and equipment. The children divided up the ingredients needed. They also realized that they need to borrow plates, cups and utensils from the cafeteria. How many sets do we need? They counted their participating parents, included themselves and two class teachers.

counting      The final number is 42 sets.


A small group of children worked together to write a note to remind the cafeteria staff of how many sets they need and what time will they need them by.

Next, the children worked together to decorate the classroom using what they learned and know. There are pattern chains, combination of wire and paper mobile and zigzag patterns.

They planned for scavenger hunt by exploring available spaces within the school, considering appropriate locations as well as how to provide clues to their hiding spots. The children decided that they would draw a map and write clues to guide their parents.

On the day of our Celebration of Learning, the children were very excited and they worked collaboratively to prepare food, decorate the class and teas out final details of how they wanted the event to look like.

To wrap up our inquiry into ‘Celebration of Learning’ we reflected upon the experience. We posed two questions:

What do you think about our Celebration of Learning?

Kai  It was so fun decorating the classroom

Lerah  My mummy said it was fun. Happy

Grace  Chopping food and baking and icing. It was fun.

Caden  Decorating the classroom. It was fun.

Nico  It was fun decorating the cookies.

Daniel  Mummy said my strawberries are yum.

Cole   I like icing cookies.

Lin  That was fun making the onigiri.

Yuri   I agree with Kai, decorating the classroom.

Lubna  Mom come in our school.

Zahra  I agree with Lin. Lin said making onigiri is fun.

Kaito  It was fun, scavenger hunt.

Kai    I like the scavenger hunt and hiding the present.

Sophia  I liked making the present.

Yanchuan  I like to make present to give mum.

What was difficult for you?

Sophia  For me make the present. And hide it in the library.

Yanchua  Triangle Onigiri was tricky.

Lin   Class decoration. Making pattern rings.

Kodai   Fruit cut.

Yuri   Cutting the ABC (decoration)

Grace   Taking plates and cups from cafeteria was difficult.

Zahra   It was difficult to decorate the cookies.

Kaito   How to make the map.

Caden  Same as Grace. Taking all the cups to here and taking them back to cafeteria.

Celebration of Learning 2016 from Kindergarten S on Vimeo.

Please use this slideshow as a springboard to ask your child about the experience. Some guided questions:

Why did you have ‘Celebration of Learning’?

How did you organize it?

How did the class come up with ideas and decide on what to do?

What do you remember about the experience?

Please share your thoughts in our comment area.

Preparation for Celebration of Learning

Where We Are in Place and Time is our yearlong unit which inquires into the learnings that take place and the significant landmark events where the children will identify, make connections, and reflect upon their experiences, their newly acquired skills as well as understandings. For our first Celebration of Learning the children reflected upon their learning journey since the beginning of the school year. Their initial responses were indicative of how they view what is important to them and what type of skills they value. 

We learned:

How to read books

How to make little books


How to write

How to borrow books

To listen when others speak

How to play with friends, make new friends.

How to make Odango

How to cook sweet potato

How to make stuff

How to draw in Art

Big tidy up because our room will be messy

How to sing

Math games



 The next question we posed to the children was “How can we celebrate our learning? “


As you can see, there were many ideas floating around. Through discussions and voting, a decision has been made. The children decided that it will be a surprise for their parents and want to keep their idea a secret.


 The children have also came up with many ideas for food they want to cook for their parents. One child suggested, “Maybe we should ask our mommies. They are going to eat the food.” The discussion went on to plan how to make that happen.  After a while one child suggested, “Parent sharing” (the next day is Parent Sharing and we can ask the parents then).

There are more planning to be done. We hope all parents will join us on December 2nd to celebrate the learnings in Kindergarten.

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