Happy New Year to the students and families of Treehouse. I am excited to start the new year! This year at Treehouse, we have many fun ideas, projects, and excursions in mind for the children. We truly believe that 2017 is going to be the most fantastic year yet!
Sorry for the long blogging hiatus. We have started to update our activities on Treehouse's facebook page more regularly. But for now, we would like to share some of our favorite moments and highlights here.
Treehouse Christmas lunch party was held at YCAC on Friday December 18th. Needless to say it was such a heart warming party where there were laughters and happy faces of all the people attended.
The food was very delicious - thanks to the chief chef at the Club and special thanks go to Mr. and Mrs. Suzuki who helped prepare the room the night before to look festive for the occasion. There were cookie decorating fun where the dads joined and made some outstanding cookies, children singing Christmas medley songs and a Christmas story time read by two graduating students. The highlight of the party was a surprise visit by Santa who entertained them with his songs and dancing (of course with the presents!!) The party came to an ending when the children presented their handmade gifts to their families.
Thank you everyone for a wonderful year. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
Last week was our annual potato digging field trip. The weather was fantastic, crisp clean air, bright blue skies, and warm sun. The children all got their hands dirty in the rich dirt and learned a little about where their food comes from. Thanks to all the parents who came along and of the course the Nikkawa family for letting us use their farm once again.
Here are some great moments from the day!
What a fun summer school it was and how quickly it went by! We all had such a good time that we even felt that we didn't want the summer school to end. Here are some of the photos we took during this summer. Please enjoy them!
The school year 2014-2015 ended with a potluck party and we ate many delicious food brought by the parents. Thank you so much for all the food donated and coming to eat with us.
Our last Parent Teacher Conference for this academic year was held on the last day of school - July 22nd. The parents are given this opportunity to discuss any concerns and issues about their child(ren). As the Head of School, I highly value not only establishing a good relationship with the child, but also establishing a similar relationship with the parents. Thank you for the parents who participated in this conference.
During my mid summer break at the end of June, I had the opportunity to go overseas. Every time I go out of the country, I try to bring back something for the children. In London, there is my favorite book store called Waterstones where I normally spend couple of hours looking for children's books. I thought of every child in my school when I purchased these books. I can imagine all the happy faces of the children when I read to them during Story Time.
Today, a lovely thing happened. Mr. Rocco and Mr. Monji from the J:COM event came for a visit. They wanted to check in on us as well as give us information on their upcoming event that will take place for three days at the end of this month. The poster they brought us will be posted at school and the flyer will be given to each one of you. Please join in this event and support Mr. Rocco for his endless effort in making the world a better place. Lovely to see you Mr. Rocco and Mr. Monji!
Today was a special day for the children as they welcomed back Treehouse's very own, Turtle. The children seemed excited to have the turtle back and we gave him some green leaves (komatsuna) and carrots to eat today. He ate it all at once, which makes sense given how active he is.
Another exciting thing that happened today was that we decided to name the turtle, James Spencer Treehouse and we nicknamed him Jamie! Jamie will be with us all summer and for the new semester. Hooray!
J:COM is a Japanese cable television company that provides multiple media services. A couple weeks back, they approached us with the idea of a possible collaboration, where Treehouse students would create stickers that would go on J:COM's travelling marketing van.
On June 15th, we invited the J:COM team, who was headed by Mr. Sugimura and artist Mr. Rocco and his assistant Mr. Monji. Parents were invited to join in on the fun. Together, we created various shapes and objects that we then stuck onto J:COM's van. The stickers turned out fabulous. Some of the children were even interviewed by J:COM's local channel.
Thank you to J:COM for the wonderful opportunity and for the parents' help on an extremely busy day. Let's hope the van travels through all of Japan so that many people can see the stickers the children made!
We decided to have a yoghurt and granola day for the Ladybug and Bluebird class. It's been a while since we've done a cooking activity and this time, we opted for a healthy choice. It was an adventure for some children who have never had yoghurt and granola together before.
The children were asked to pour the correct amount of granola and then add yoghurt and honey to this mixture. It was very tasty and we all agreed to do this again!
For this week's oshuji, Ms. Aya taught the children how to write wind (風・かぜ） in Japanese, using both katakana and kanji. It has been a real pleasure seeing the children improve on their oshuji skills.
For those who may not be aware, oshuji or shuji as its otherwise known, is a form of Japanese calligraphy. In calligraphy, there are a number of tools we use in order to write. This includes: the inkstick, washi (Japanese style paper) inkstone, paper weight, a cloth and a fude (also known as a brush). However, for this particular project all tools except for the washi were used as we are saving the washi for another art project that will be showcased at the exhibition.
We have officially begun working on various arts and crafts for this year's exhibition that will take place in the coming weeks. Every year this is a true highlight for both students and parents of Treehouse and it is the last big event of the school year. Our exhibition lasts for a week and showcases all the talent and creativity of both the Ladybug and Bluebird class children!
We were able to catch something very special in our playground during recess time. The children called it a rainbow circle but it's actual name is Circular Halo (Halo Sun). This happens when light interacts with ice crystals in the atmosphere that refract, resulting in a rainbow that circles the sun. We all felt very happy and blessed.
Today we had an earthquake drill with both the Bluebird and Ladybug class children. At Treehouse, we have earthquake drills every month due to Japan's high occurrence of earthquakes. Being cautious and extra prepared will help in the event of a huge quake.
Today's drill was a spontaneous one in order to create the habit for children to go under the table when an earthquake strikes. It was a successful drill; all children reacted immediately and went under the table.
I came across an article on The New York Times this week which brought up an important point that supports this month's theme: Montessori inside and outside. The article is rather extensive but its main argument is that today's approach to early education should be less didactic, and more shaped towards allowing children to learn through play: "Many educators want to curtail play during school... [it is] often perceived as immature behaviour that doesn't achieve anything' says David Whitebread, a psychologist at Cambridge University who has studied the topic for decades. 'But it's essential to their development. They need to learn to persevere, to control attention, to control emotions. Kids learn these things through playing".
In Montessori, we aim to approach the children's core - to develop their self control, independence, critical thinking skills and ability to concentrate. In fact, many of the these things can be learnt outside, in the "playing" environment.