We have had quite the last two weeks at the Kindergarten. The first Friday in June the special Tatar summer holiday of Sabantui. To celebrate the coming of summer in our own special way all the children of the Kindergarten sang traditional songs and played Tatar games outside; This more casual than usual pageant was enjoyed by the kids and their parents alike.

The end of the school year is beckoning near---but that doesn’t mean that Miss. Samantha and the two English language student cohorts have taken their summer holiday just yet! The most important aspect of our Kindergarten beyond genuine student enjoyment and learning is being able to generalize our knowledge outside and within many contexts. It is also important, especially for our younger cohort, to keep subjects studied practical and relevant to their everyday experiences. What a better subject to end a great school year with then the five senses and parts of the human body?

The first week both classes focused on the upper half of the human body. The Kindergarten group truly love colouring and worksheets and so for them flashcards which they could take home and share with their families. Focused on vocabulary included: hands, arm, face, hair etc.  While the pre-school cohort was exposed to the flashcard vocabulary their learning came directly through our song of week one: “Hands, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” To say students enthusiastically and quickly learned this song would be an understatement!

In an effort to put this song (or part of it) into a tangible form each student in attendance did a cooperative drawing with Miss. Samantha individually…what does this mean? Miss. Samantha drew their portrait (the pre-k crowd has neither the fine motor skills or the attention span yet to do the entire thing alone)  but the student dictated what colours, drawing styles they wanted their portrait to include. They also indicated different parts of their drawn face in English. The Kindergarten cohort, enthusiastic, drew their own and with only a little help from the teacher copied the English words for themselves! Needless to say these drawings are adorable and will be a keepsake for families.

Our second week in this unit found us focusing on the lower half of the body. Here vocabulary included foot, leg, toes, hips etc. Our song of the week: “The Hokey Pokey.” Defying the expectations of Miss. Samantha all students appeared to love and pick up the language and motions of this song quickly. What is perhaps more impressive, is that the younger cohort learned right from left whereas the older cohort did this too and began singing the song to themselves! This indeed is learning for meaning in action. There is no need to pressure children into learning within the confines of timeframes or absolute expectations.

Taking a cue from Reggio Emilio learning framework earlier in the week after learning and practicing the lower half of the body parts, students were asked to trace their own foot and decorate it anyway they want.  Paints and markers were provided without any ‘artistic borders.’ The point of this project beyond simple creativity was to allow the student to engage with their work while also being open to teacher ideas/suggestions. For the younger cohort this also gave us a chance to practice our counting.

Two members of the Kindergarten cohort took a huge step this week! During a combined levels class they became a great example to their younger cohorts by taking on the teaching and instructing role during circle time! It was truly wonderful to see students helping and sharing with one and another in their learning! Great job Malika Z and Amina!

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