ICS Early Years Center Blog

Inter-Community School Zurich, Switzerland

Nurturing friendships across the Kindergarten community

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The mysterious arrival of a bag of dress up clothes sparked many questions and conversations in KTF. Where did the clothes come from and how did they get here? The children were excited by the newfound treasures and quickly began integrating the costumes into their imaginative play. Kings, queens, princes and princesses were a popular focus that inspired Morgan’s idea of having a royal ball. Her excitement and commitment to the “Royal Ball” created an infectious buzz and excitement in the classroom.

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The experience of working collaboratively to plan a ball was a natural fit to build on our inquiry into how ‘friendships enrich our lives and require nurturing to develop’. As a class, we brainstormed how we could share the experience with others. We decided to invite all of our kindergarten friends to the ball, and with teacher support with this literacy component, set to work writing invitations.

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Morgan shared a special book from home about manners, ‘Tea for Ruby’ by Sarah Ferguson.  In the story, a little girl is invited to have tea with the ‘Queen’. This helped us build understandings about the impact of positive behaviour and the importance of using our best manners to make the ball an enjoyable experience for both ourselves and our friends.

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No party would be complete without a tasty treat. In small groups, students followed a recipe to create delicious cookies and cupcakes. This experience was designed to build mathematics skills such as counting, using one-to-one correspondence, number recognition and measurement.

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The children also worked hard to make the classroom a welcoming space by designing ring chains in simple patterns and hanging child- made artwork.

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Finally the special day arrived! We emptied the dress-up box and put on our finest costumes. The ball began with nervous excitement as we nibbled on cupcakes and greeted our friends.  After the music began though, the kindergartners showed off their best dancing skills and smiles filled the room. The dancing finished with a game of musical chairs that focused on cooperation and friendship.  In the spirit of the celebration, we embraced a twist on the conventional game rules and asked that in order to remain in the game, children had to share their chairs. Everyone was eager to work together and more often than not, empty chairs remained as the students creatively found ways to add more friends to a single chair.

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The ball concluded with a short song which was written and performed by Morgan, in which she thanked her friends for attending. The song was another example of connecting our learning back to the importance of friendship. The success of this project was a testament to the power of child- directed learning. What began with the addition of some interesting dress-up clothes, ended up providing a unique opportunity for an individual student to take on a leadership role in organizing a multi-class event which integrated countless opportunities for transdisciplinary learning.

 

One Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience and pictures. Being in the States, and having grandchildren in Switzerland, made this extra special!

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