Welcome back and happy birthday Hana

Our first journal of 2014 comes to you filled with fun, learning, reconnecting with our friends and teachers, some tears and most of all a lovely, warm feeling. While all of us were so happy to receive hugs and a huge welcome from our teachers, some of us found it hard to separate from our parents, having spent hours and days having beautiful, quality time with them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADownstairs, a few of us had big tears when we first arrived however our teachers were amazed that within a few minutes we were all playing with a friend or something of interest and the rest of the day seemed to follow in the same way. We started off with play dough at one table, drawing at another table and a collage using red, white, gold and silver, representing the colours of New Year in Japan. We will work on this collage throughout the week and we think that it is good to included structured activities during our free play time in the morning. Many of us still like to float between free play and structured table ???????????????????????????????time, and it works well for everyone.

Today we celebrated Hana’s second birthday. She was so excited when she arrived at school this morning and you could see that she knew, something special was going to happen to her today. Her actual birthday was yesterday and we welcomed her mum and dad to our class in order to celebrate together with them. We held hands in a circle and did a number of actions combined with singing. The one that we love the most is when we shout “happy birthday” and ???????????????????????????????then we whisper “happy birthday”. We sat down on the carpet and Hana’s face lit up when she saw the amazing cupcakes that her mom had made. They were organic and she even made the decorations which were cookies in the shape of animals…………..because Hana loves animals. There were zebras, lions, elephants, birds, pandas, giraffes and each cupcake also had a heart cookie on it.  We sang “happy birthday to you” and then our special candle song “Two little candles”. Hana blew her real candles out and we blew our pretend “finger” candles. Hana invited us all to go to the table and OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhave snack together.

We want to say a huge thank you to her mum and dad, Mikiko and Hisashi, for coming to join us and have fun celebrating Hana’s second birthday with her friends and teachers at school. Giorgie enjoyed her first day with us and we look forward to seeing her again on Friday.

???????????????????????????????Upstairs, we were all so excited to go back to school and we greet our friend enthusiastically. It was Tirza’s first day and she was really happy to be in the older class. Yossi really showed how much he cares about her and he helped her unpack her school bag and showed her where to put everything. Sean and Beckett loved playing with the new puzzles that they found on the table, when they arrived at school.They noticed that the puzzles had movable, interchangeable pieces that could fit in several places.

 On one of the activity tables, were three large white planters, a bucket of stones, bags of soil and fertilizer DSCF1423and some flower bulbs. We filled the bottom of each trough with stones and then soil. We added in some fertilizer pellets and chose a bulb to plant. We made a hole in the soil with our fingers and placed the bulb inside the hole, which we covered with soil afterwards. We wrote our names on paddle pop sticks and placed them in the soil, next to each of our bulbs. We will watch them grow and have placed the troughs on the balcony so that they can get natural DSCF1398light, air and can be fed by rain water. We will of course water them too.

At circle time, we were all eager to talk about our winter vacation and what we did. Some of us went skiing, some visited our families in Japan and other countries, some of us went where the weather was warm etc. We read the book called “Harold and the Purple Crayon” which lead us into a discussion on Art. Our teachers asked us “What is art?” and these were our responses: Jenny – painting; Sophie – writing; Beckett – sculpture (he explained how you make a sculpture). We looked at some pictures of famous artists and their work viz. Rodin’s The Thinker, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup cans etc. Ayaka then explained to us about Japanese New DSCF1417Year and “koma” – spinning tops, “tako” - kites and “hagoita” – paddles for hitting.

Thanks for a fantastic start to 2014 and a really happy first day at school.

Love Shelley, Darren, Hisami, Ayaka, Liezel, Nanako, Goh, Christine and Maryna