Tag: reflections (page 1 of 2)

What is Kindergarten?

As the year draws to an end, we are beginning to wonder what the children think of their time in Kindergarten. We pose a few simple questions:

What is Kindergarten?

Yanchuan   Learning.

Daniel     Kindergarten are good to make things.

Yuri       Kindergarten is a thing to learn about different things.

Lerah     Kindergarten share toys.

Sophia     To learn math.

Lin      Learn letters.

Cole    Kindergarten is also to learn Art.

Yibo     Kindergarten is kind to friend.

Emma     Kindergarten is to learn new things

Zahra      Kindergarten is to learn how to do letters.

Lerah      If you new friends come we will be nice to them.

Yibo     Good. Reading.

Sophia    Kindergarten is to learn something you didn’t before and now you can do it.

Silas    Kindergarten is to have fun.

Lin      Kindergarten have to tidy up.

Kaito     Kindergarten is a school.

Kodai     Kindergarten is fun.

Lerah     Kindergarten always be nice to friends.

Sailas    Kindergarten is nice to each other.

Yibo       Kindergarten always help each friend.

What would you say if an E2 ask you about Kindergarten?

Yuri   Kindergarten is a spot to learn lots of different things like Music and Art.

Lin    We can tell ELC that Kindergarten can make a story.

Yanchuan    Kindergarten can make backpack.

Yibo     We can make paper.

Lubna    Make clay. We can make anything.

What was difficult for you in Kindergarten?

Emma    It was difficult when I came to the very start of school because I was a little bit shy when I first came. Because now I know everything and I am not shy. And I made friends.

Zahra    It was difficult to do origami but now I can do it bc I do origami a lot of time.

Sophia     For me it was difficult to do braiding but now I already know.

Kai   It was difficult to read when I first coming to YIS.

Yuri     It was difficult to read. It was also difficult to write things. And also it was difficult to use lots of things in Kindergarten, learning about material from Mr. Reed.

Silas   It was difficult to make stuff with hot glue gun. I burn myself a lot of times.

Daniel   It was difficult to learn names, all of them first.

Yanchuan   It was difficult to make pizza (for New Opportunity Day).

Nico    It was hard writing on the white board.

Kaito    It was difficult to make a book.

Cole   It was difficult to read. (Now I’m) doing better.

Emma    It was diff to know all the people.

Rain   I learned English.

Lubna    It was difficult to climb the tree.

Lerah     It was difficult to write lower case because I was writing taller case.

Elayna    It was really difficult to write words.

Lin     It was difficult to sound out the letters.


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.


We finally visited Takarajima Yochien on Friday October 7th. Prior to our visit, the children were worried that they might not be able to communicate with Takarajima children. They decided to learn a few phrases to help them make new friends. The children pair up with someone who can help them learn a phrase in Japanese. This in turn gave Japanese speakers an opportunity to become experts, gain confidence and respect from their peers. Here are some of the phrases we learned.


Isshoni tomodachi ninaro

Isshoni asobo

Namae o oshiete kudasai

Boru de asobo  

Toire wa doko desuka

Takarajima from Kindergarten S on Vimeo.

After our visit, the children reflected upon their experience. We posed two questions to help the children think about their experiences and assess their own abilities.

What do you think about our visit to Takarajima?

It’s so fun to play.

It was really good. It was so nice because Lerah’s mom came.

I play with Takarajima friend and it was fun. A girl.

It was fun and Takarajima were kind to me. Play together and play tag.

It’s so fun. Because I play with Takarajima friends.

YI made a new friend that is why I am happy to play with a new friend. Coco a girl.

It’s fun because I had fun there.

What was difficult for you?

Zarah – I think it was the climbing up the pirate place.

Rain – Climbing up the ladder.

Grace – Putting up the ball from the bottom. It was so hard.

Yuri – Climbing up the tree house from the rope.

Sophia – I went up the roof. Climbing up the rope.

Yanchuan – I try climbing up but then I fell down so many times.

Cole –  Getting up to the hammock was difficult.

Caden – Putting up the ball. There was a hill and it was difficult to go up, but I did’t give up.

Kai – Me too. Same as Grace.

Lerah – Climbing up the Tree house was difficult.     

Nico – Difficult things was climbing up the ladder. There are two ladders. It was so hard to climbing up the ladder, but I didn’t give up.

Kodai – Monkey bar was difficult. Go up and go down.

Lin –  Climb up the roof. The pirate. I Ganbatta (tried hard).

We will continue to encourage the children to reflect upon their experiences and their new learnings throughout the year. This is something that you can also practice outside of school. It will help the children develop a reflective mentality. They will become accustomed to the process of reflection; to think about own experiences and learn to question the world around them.

What is Kindergarten?

It is our last week of school. We were wondering what the children thought of their experiences in Kindergarten. We posed a simple question: What is Kindergarten?

It is experience.

It is fun. I learn about lots of things.

Kindergarten was fun, you got to learn new stuff.

I think that Kindergarten is where you make friends and learn different words from the books, new experience I never learned before.

You can learn how to knit and how to use scissors. And how to do Origami.

First we waste tapes not now.

First I always speak Japanese. Now I speak English better.

Fun, Kindergarten toy is so fun.

I like in Kindergarten you get a own cubby,  you get own writers work shop. 

Kindergarten is very fun and it is new experience for you.

It is fun to write because Ms. May doesn’t tell us you can not write like this.

You can little more reading books higher and higher.

What would you say if an E2 ask you to tell them about Kindergarten?

There is loft upstairs-house. You can go under the loft too. 

When you have free inquiry you can do anything you want.

Lunch recess you can go roof or sandpit too.

Math game , you can play triangle game magic number.

You will like it, you can make your own stories. 

When you are sick, you can go to the nurse.

What was difficult for you in Kindergarten?

Learning how to work together.

Something difficult was math, the triangle game was hard for me. I  didn’t know how to play first.

I used to not to be good at art, Mr. Read told us there are so many kind of stuffs. We can be better at drawing and sometime you get older and learn how you do it .

When I tried lots of time and I could do it.

Sometimes we are doing dates, days of the week is hard.

Blowing the pool (inflating the pool for new opportunity day).


Making bread.

To concentrate. Sometime people talk over me and I need to be patient, wait my turn.

It was hard to read because I didn’t learn how to speak English before.

Kindergarten is hard. Life is hard.

We wish the children all the best in their future learning journeys. Thank you everyone for a great year.


“Chinese New Year is here…”

Our walking field trip to Chinatown was a great experience for the children. Prior to the walk Fei, Erica’s mom, read a book called “Bringing in the New Year” to introduce different elements of Chinese New Year.  The children learned to wish ‘happy new year’ in Chinese, Xin Nian Kuai Le.  They learned about ‘hong bao’ (red envelope) and ‘jiao zi’ (dumpling). The book also mentioned that traditionally people clean their houses to welcome the new year, they wear new clothes and they create loud noises to chase away bad luck or demons.

The children encountered many familiar objects as well as unfamiliar ones. They noticed that the decorations and colors are more vibrant in Chinatown. There were variety of gates with different writings on them. The children agreed that the highlight of this walking trip was their visit to a temple. Each child was able to ring the gong and make a wish inside the temple. They noticed the two guards who protect our city.

This walk to Chinatown provided the children with an opportunity to understand their environment in a different context and to try to decipher the meaning of what they have experienced. It is always interesting to hear their thoughts, what they find important as well as what elements they are able to connect with through their senses.

Nora   I hit the drum and I prayed and went under the dragon.

Shoma   I like tunnel, the dragon, light.

Chloe  I saw dragons that was yellow.

Jiyaa   I see a lot of gates.

Jesse  There’s no same kanji on different gate. Chinatown look like castle. Green one (gate) looks like castle, the big one.

Akihiko   I see Oni. Gate has so many colors. 

Erica   I see so many lanterns and I like the tunnel where the dragon is on.

Taylor   I like inside the tunnel.

Jamil   I smell cotton candy like pink frosting.

Scarlett  I smelled dumplings.

Chloe  I smelled chicken wings.

Ami  I remember the art exhibition. The fish eye fall down. I like the monkey.

Owen  I smelled bread and I saw firecrackers too.

Lubna  I like Chinatown because happy.

Chloe   I like Chinatown it has many colors, gold fragile things. Many details in Chinatown.

Scarlett   I like Chinatown because it makes me think of different countries. 

Aoi   I like China because in there I like dragon and Oni and food smell. I like everything. Come to here.

In the end, the children seemed to be able to interpret their encounter with Chinatown by making connections with their prior knowledge and combining them with their new learning experiences.

          What are they trying to say to us?

They are trying to say “Here is the Chinese New Year, come and join us!”

Chinatown is real.

You should come and join us because we have a lot of New Year food.

Play together us and join us with all the children.

Good luck with your family and have a nice time spending with your family and Chinatown hope that people get better. To get people feel better.

China town is for good lucks and let some bad guys go away and we are going to have a good day at school and house. And don’t be mad or sad and sick.

Chinese New Year is here and we are going to give you a happy New Year!

Trip to Chinatown from Kindergarten S on Vimeo.

KS Healthy restaurant

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 2.12.38 PMIt is through the process of working together as a community towards a common goal that the children showed their ability to think creatively, share their ideas, negotiate with one another, vote, organize and solve problems.  The children have put their effort into many weeks of preparation for the Celebration of Learning.  They wanted to have food as part of the event and decided upon a menu which included fruit salad, vegetable salad, onigiri, norimaki and odango. The restaurant idea came along towards the end of our discussions. The children were keen to act as hosts and they expressed their desire to become a ‘waiter/waitress’ at the Celebration of Learning. Thus, our final layout of the classrooms and ambience on the actual day of celebration reflected this idea of KS Healthy restaurant.

Upon reflection the children were able to voice their opinions about the event. We posted two guided questions.


Erica     It was really fun because I sing a song to everyone.

Aoi     I like everything. I do it guitar with everyone here and I with mom and I like that.

Akihiko   I like give food to mom.

Jina       I like making food because making food, I like to show to mom.

Nora     I like giving my mom food and finishing my mom’s plate for her.

Ami     I like to cook in the cafeteria and I like to eat.

Jesse     I want to eat with mom. Nori maki was yummy.

Hagyeom   I was making something lunch. It’s fun for mom.

Owen       I like the Odango and I like the Jingle Bell song and I like Aoi playing the guitar.

Jamil         I like Aoi playing the guitar. I like eating food with my mom.

Shoma        I like bring snack with mom.

Charlotte     I like serving my mom because I never had the chance before and it’s fun.  I like cutting the vegetable.

Oliver       I like building restaurant. I like making all the signs and drawing because I like drawing.

Scarlett     I like having my dad over. We haven’t had a restaurant before so that’s why I like having my dad over. It was nice to see all the moms and dads here in this room and in the other room. Also when we were serving our parents it was kind of fun but also kind of nice because we never serve our parents.

Taylor       I’m eating with mommy and I’m gonna get the food. Mommy was eating and I ate Odango.

Mai     Anybody don’t tell what we learned. This class yesterday mommy come, we didn’t tell what we learned. I like Aoi doing guitar. I love everything. I love to eat. I love the guitar. I love the prepare. Sing a song. And I love to eat with my mom. Yesterday was so fun. I love the decoration and the set up the table.

Chloe     I like Aoi playing the guitar nicely and I like serving my mom because I never do it and it was the first time. I like the food that we made with our mom. And I like Merry Christmas song because mostly everybody was singing it. I like how nicely the tablecloths were. We did a great job on the celebration of learning day. When we tidy up they were nicely folded.

Masaichi    I like the making Nori maki and the Odango.


Ami    My difficult thing was I tried to read for my mom.

Jesse   Tomato cutting. It was slippery.

Hagyeom   The Nori maki was really hard, I cannot roll it. I rolled it this way and not this way (sideways).

Owen     The difficult thing was making the sushi, Nori maki was hard because I had to roll. It was hard making the whole place beautiful and it was hard to serve my mom and dad. It’s tiring going back and forth and back and forth.

Jamil       It was difficult to make the Odango and the sushi and Nori maki.

Shoma    Hard to cut the carrots.

Charlotte   It was a little bit hard to cut the carrots and it was kind of hard for me to smush the Odango. It was also hard for me to make the classroom feel good.

Scarlett    It was hard because I might cut myself again like I did when we were cutting the sweet potato.

Oliver      Tried to make all those signs. I had to get glue sticks and that. It was difficult to make 5 sings, I had to write and stick them.

Taylor       It’s difficult the decoration.

Chloe         It was difficult to use the knife because I never use the knife.

Masaichi    Put the stick into the apple. Apple is little bit hard.

Erica       It was really difficult to use the big knife. The small knife is not difficult. The big knife was too big and I was a little bit scared.

Aoi     I do it the cucumber but it was hard to cut.

Akihiko   I difficult cutting tomato.

Jina     Cutting pear was hard.   

Nora     It was hard for me to not have free inquiry for the first time.

Mai     Carrot and salad was hard to cut.

It has been a great learning process for the children. We hope to put together another Celebration of Learning at the end of the year.

Please enjoy the slideshow by Ms. Susan below.

Celebration of Learning from Kindergarten S on Vimeo.

Parent Sharing September

September 24th was our first Parent Sharing. We observed enthusiastic children and many conversations during this time.  In order to plan and prepare effectively, the children were given an opportunity to think about their learning in the Kindergarten class thus far.

We posed this question to generate ideas: “What kind of learning that you have been doing in Kindergarten that you want to share with your mom or dad?”

The children shared their ideas with everyone else in class and proceeded to draw pictures to help remind themselves of their ideas.  We purposefully use the word ‘learning’ as part of our daily conversation to cultivate an understanding about ‘what is learning?’ and to emphasize that everything we do in class involves learning. Our objective is for the children to gradually recognize different aspects of learning such as ‘how to be a good friend’, ‘how to be independent’, ‘how to cooperate’, ‘how to negotiate’, ‘how to communicate’ etc. Throughout the year, the children will reflect upon their learning journey in many different ways.

Here are some of the children’s thoughts as they reflected upon their first Parent Sharing experience.

Hagyeom    Me fun, too fun. Mommy coming and too fun. Parent Sharing is too fun.

Nora     I’m really surprised when my mom came. I love my mom when I see her.

Owen   I feel not happy because my mom and dad neither of them came.  (But you were able to share with Ms. Yuka. How was it?)

Oh yeah, I shared my Writer’s Workshop.

Aoi   I like mom coming. I like it.

Ami    When my mom came I was so excited.

Jina    I like mommy looking at my Writer’s Workshop. My drawing too.

Jesse    I like mommy draws with me.

Mai     I like to make my book. I like to show mommy.

Akihiko    My mom is not coming. (What did you want to share with her?) Lego making, it’s fun.

Erica   I love mommy coming. I show mom my decoration and I can run so fast. My mom can’t touch me. I’m faster than mom.

Chloe   I love my dad and I love to write.

Parent Sharing September 24 from Kindergarten S on Vimeo.

KS BBQ and Movie Day

KS BBQ and Movie Day is a culmination of our yearlong unit of inquiry “Where We Are in Place and Time”. You can read about our discussion on learning here.

The process has been a great opportunity for the children to discuss their learning journey throughout the year, to ponder about what they are capable of in order to collectively decide on the ‘new opportunity’.

The children have been looking forward to this day for a long time, counting down the days on our class calendar. On the day of, a sense of excitement was palpable. Everyone was eager to try and help with all sorts of preparation work from making their own bread, washing, chopping to assembling fruit kababs. We enjoyed the popcorn provided by KB and the KB enjoyed our s’mores as well. Some children swelled with pride as they shared their hard work (fruit kababs and some s’mores) with other children during recess. A child commented, “I’m so happy they eat our food.”

Reflection is an integral process of learning; it encourages the children to introspectively think about their experience and become aware of  the learnings that have taken place.

Here are the questions posed to the children to facilitate discussions.

  • How do you feel about our ‘new opportunity’?
  • Did you get to do anything new?
  • What do you like about our BBQ and Movie Day?
  • Is there anything you might want to try next?


Hiro  I learned how to cook, like cut some marshmallows. I like watching the lion king. Next time I want to try put chocolate inside the s’mores.

Yukei   I liked the marshmallow and I also liked the BBQ grill. I like the bread that we made because it was yummy with the meat and cheese. Next thing I want to do is I like to do camping with KS.

Sara   In the movie Lion King, last night it was too scary that I couldn’t sleep. I like the hamburger that I made.

Lennon   Make bread (in Japanese)

Andrew   I like the Lion King movie. I like the food. I haven’t made fruit kabab before. I feel happy because I like everything. Try making s’mores and I didn’t get to eat one.

Olivia   I like cut the melon and cut the marshmallow- something new.  I made the bread. I watch Ms. May do the BBQ.  It’s fun (our new opportunity day).

Daisy   My favorite was watching movie and making my own bread. And I like the hamburger. I want to try camping.

Treveon   I like the Lion King movie. I like the BBQ. I like making the bread.

Kimi    It was fun to watch Lion King movie. I did not know how to make a bread. And I cut some cucumbers and carrots. I want to try to do marshmallow black, like with fire and the stick.

Seok  I am happy because I watch movie in home not in movie watching place. I watch it at school not in the theatre. I never (made) burger.

Zara   I like it that I watch the movie with my friends. I had lots of fun. Next time I want to go camping with my mommy and daddy. I get to look at the BBQ. I have never done watch a movie in school.

Clara   I like the hamburger and I like the s’more even if I don’t like marshmallows. Next time I want to go camping with mom and dad.

Atena    I really like the s’mores because they are so good even though it wasn’t like a regular s’mores it was so yummy. The movie Lion King was a bit scary because the hyenas. I’ve got to chop with a sharp knife. I thought the BBQ wouldn’t come with a lid. And I never saw what was in the BBQ before. Making bread was my new opportunity.

Felicia   I like the movie we watched. Making bread that was new. I want to camp with my family.

Yutika   I never made my own fruit stick. I want to camp with my family.

Alex   New opportunity is making bread (in Korean).


Kindergarten BBQ and Movie Day from Kindergarten S on Vimeo.

ES Sports Day

We hope that everyone who participated in our Sports Day had a wonderful time. The children really enjoyed challenging themselves as well as showcasing the skills they have been learning and practicing in PE.

The children reflected upon their experience overall: what they found difficult or challenging and what did they like about Sports Day. The children watched a slideshow on Flickr (click to view) to revisit the various games they played and record their reflection on paper.

Seook    I like throwing fish.

Alex   (I like) throwing (ball).

Zara    I had fun at sports day. I was jumping.

Hiro    We play the fish game and that was my favorite. We play the throwing ball game and that was difficult.

Yukei     I was good at the three billy goats game. I was fast and was the last one.

Kimi    The ball was fun and the bouncy ball was very fun.

Andrew   I threw 10 balls. I jumped on a bouncing ball was difficult. We got a certificate. I like throwing the ball in the net.

Yutika    Throwing game was hard. Fish game was too hard for me. I was bouncing on the ball, it was fun.

Atena   The dance was hard because I was confused with the moves.

Treveon     I like jumping.

Olivia     (I like) throwing ball.

Clara    I like playing the throwing game (bean bag) because it was fun. It was difficult to jump on a ball.

Lennon      I like throwing balls because it was fun (in Japanese).

Kouji    I like the throwing balls and it was a little bit hard at the “Fox and the magic tree” (“Three Billy Goats” game). It was so hard to go under and over (obstacle course).

Sara    I thought it was fun throwing because it was high up.


Please enjoy the drawings made by the children below.


The hike

The Kindergarten children went on a joint hiking field trip with the Takarajima children on Monday January 26th. The children thought of various necessities such as food, water, warm clothes, flash lights and tents (some hoping we might set up camp). A few children raised their concerns about their fear of heights, snakes and bees, getting lost in the dark and Yukibozu (snow monster).  Prior to the hike, the children were full of excitement and optimism for this new thrilling adventure not really knowing what hiking entails.

We might see snow.

We might see the moon.

Maybe there’s a village on the mountain.

We are going to see the Takarajima children for the third time.

We will get to do things and fun stuff and learn.

As a major part of our learning, the children always reflect upon their new experiences. On this particular field trip the guided questions that we posed were

  • How do you feel about the hike and what do you remember about it?
  • Which part of the day that you find most difficult?
  • What have you learned from this new experience?

The children take this process seriously and give careful thought to their responses.

We had partners, we made friends.

We found KB and Takarajima children to join mats with.

I learned how to play together with the Takarajima children.

I climbed up the mountain so hard but I didn’t give up.

It was difficult, hard to walk or go up the stairs and down the stairs.

You practice climbing up the mountain you can get stronger.

I learned how to do hiking, go through mud and water.

I learned how to not be scared on the hike, being brave.

I was scared of big slide but I do so many times and it’s not scary anymore.

I learned how to climb really far.


Please enjoy the slideshow from our hike at Enkaizan.

As we start reflecting on  our year long Unit of ‘Where We Are in Place and Time’, looking at the way people change through personal journeys, we will be referring to this new experience as well as others through out this school year to help us understand and discover ways in which our experiences lead us to new opportunities.

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