Stunning Shimekazari


Sunshine makes such a difference in our lives and today, we were so glad that the weather was warmer and we could play outside without feeling the icy cold on our cheeks. Actually, we were all alone in the park as there were no other children from Ohana, or any of the schools in the neighbourhood.

During the morning we spent a lot of time working on our projects for Japanese New Year. Our “shimekari” is taking shape and we already added a few things to it to start our creation. We cut out a long piece of cardboard which Yurika       designed  and we covered it with red paper. Red is a significant colour in Japan and of course this spills over into Japanese New Year decorations. We attached some of the fans that we made using origami paper onto the red banner and slowly but surely, the entire “shimekazari” is taking shape. It already looks amazing with a large piece of pine branch at the back of the shape that we chose. Kai is helping us work on this and is respectful of the choices that we make when designing it.

Liezel sat with us and read us the stories that we made all about our Winter vacations. She read them back to us to remind us what we had said. We then used lead pencils and drew our drawings. We are spending a lot of time thinking and talking about what we are doing, with our teachers which is good for us. We are being more proactive with our work and planning and preparing, with some more structure. Our teachers are continuing to encourage us to be free with our creativity and they love that we feel confident enough to follow our thoughts and plans, while they too give their opinion. They are encouraging us to use more language and talk about what we have drawn.

Shelley sat with us while we made our “Ema” and she was encouraged by our independence and confidence to write our messages down and draw a prototype of the picture that we 

will make on the wood. We all were able to draw the numbers for this year which are two, zero, one and eight; and we were all able to draw a dog which is the animal represented in the Chinese Zodiac for 2018. You can see here in some of the photos how we put it together today. We made our own personal wishes which we verbalized to our teachers; they then wrote them down and repeated them to us, so that we could write them down ourselves. Many of us are able to associate sounds with letters and write them down by ourselves while some of us need a little more help. Some of us wanted to copy the words which we did.

We are going to make our own documentation of the process of making our large “shimelazari” and put it on the wall of our classroom. We are still trying to work out how to hang the “shimekazari” up because it is so big and very heavy.

Sayaka spent time playing with us on the floor and observing us and what we do in the classroom. She sat with us at the tables too to see how our teachers work with us so that she can do the same. She noticed that since we are older, we are a lot more independent than the children in Buds and Petals Classes and we mostly can do everything by ourselves.

During our first circle time, we spoke about things that are missing or different e. g. Shelley covered one of her eyes and asked us: “What is missing?” and of course we knew that her we couldn’t see one of her eyes. Then she covered an eyebrow and asked the same question: “What is missing?” Then she asked us a question which went like this: “If I have a banana, an apple, grapes and a book, which one does not belong?” We had chances to answer and most of us knew straight away that the book didn’t belong. We then had to explain why it didn't belong and said that the book is for reading and the apple, banana and grapes are fruit. Then she gave us another example: “I have red, blue, green and three. Which one doesn’t belong?” We knew the answers straight away and one of us said: “The three doesn’t belong because it is a number and the other three are colours.” We did this with a few things and then she took out some objects e. g. a piece of bread, a piece of cake and sausage and hat. We knew that the

didn't belong because you wear it and the other things you eat. We again used a variety of objects for this game and then we used some special shapes. Shelley took out a block and straight away we said that it was a square. Was it really a square? No, actually it wasn't. When we looked at one side, it looked like a square however we counted the sides and counted six sides and before we finished counting, one of our friends said: “It’s a cube”, which it was. We found an ovoid which is an oval shape that is 3D and we had sphere. We have seen the sphere shape before in balls and in our globe of the world. These shapes came from a different game with a card and some other objects that match the wooden shapes.

When we play this kind of game, it makes us more aware of difference and how to be alert to characteristics that make things different. Things that are different are also the same e. g. you can get a car but you can get a red car, a green car, a blue car etc. however they are all cars. They have different colours but they are still cars. This links with our value for the next few months which is about embracing difference and seeing the difference can be beautiful; and we can learn from different things. John made a song for us about difference which our teachers will send as a link with this journal.

Our story was called “The Missing Piece and Mr. O”. We loved the story and saw how the missing piece couldn't find a place to go but when he attempted to roll, he could actually change his entire shape and become an “o” as well.

Thanks for a fabulous day in Flowers Class.

Love from all the Flowers Class children.


Ohana International School