ICS Early Years Center Blog

Inter-Community School Zurich, Switzerland

October 29, 2014
by Heidi Harman
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Fostering Children’s Passions: Setting Up A Restaurant

After observing the children engaging in ‘restaurant role play‘ over a period of a few weeks, it was clear that this was yet another wonderful opportunity to encourage and foster their interest and embark on a class inquiry into restaurants. Following some whole class discussions we decided to plan and set up our own ‘real‘ restaurant. There was much interest in how restaurants function and what would need to be done to set one up. We began our planning by talking about and making a list of what was required and the many jobs to be done before we could open it to customers. Here are some of our suggestions, proposals and independent actions:

Christopher drew a picture of a sunflower to decorate a dining table.

Wille made a drinks menu and said that we needed lots of pictures of food to show what was in the restaurant.

Jeremy thought we should hang up balloons and have policemen standing at the doors in case there were any naughty people.

Pippa wanted to make golden stars as decorations, which would hang down on string. Lily thought that this sounded like a good idea and said she would add paper hearts onto the string, while Nicky thought that red paper circles should also be added.

Thomas said that it was important to have a book area for the young children while they wait for the older children to finish eating.

Before we set to work on our planned tasks, we talked about who we should invite to our restaurant. It was decided to send invitations to our friends in EY2RR first of all and then we would invite our families for the second opening of the restaurant. We wrote our invitations and personally delivered the them to our friends, who seemed really excited about coming to our restaurant.

We spent the next few days hanging up the decorations we had made and completing our preparation work. Then we visited the local supermarket to buy the food, plates, cups and cutlery. We were very lucky, as Pippa had taken action and brought in many of these items from her home for us. Our visit to the supermarket was a success and we bought every item on our shopping list.

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Choosing flowers to decorate our dining tables.

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Selecting fruit to serve at the restaurant.

The day of the restaurant opening finally arrived and we were all so excited. Thomas began the morning with a surprise for us all; he had spent the previous evening making a colourful and extremely long paper chain to hang up as an additional decorative feature. He had also made some blue paper shapes to hang on string. We were all grateful to Thomas and pleased that he took the initiative and the time to do this for us all. Now it was time to prepare the food before the restaurant opened at 9:45. Once that was done, we trimmed and arranged our cut flowers for each dining table. Our last job was to set the tables beautifully. We ensured each place setting had a hand-made placemat, which was decorated with drawings of different foods and drinks, and we also laid the crockery and cutlery neatly on the table. Then we placed cut-out drawings of different foods as a final adornment to each dining table.

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Preparing the fruit.

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Preparing the cheese and crackers.

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Setting the dining tables.

The waiters were ready with their clipboards and note pads and the chefs were ready in the kitchen. We just had to wait for our guests to arrive.

At 9:45 our friends arrived at the restaurant. We handed them menus to peruse before seating them at their tables. Once they were seated, the waiters came to take their orders and the restaurant suddenly became very busy. The waiters were giving the orders to the chefs, who quickly prepared the plates and handed them to the waiters for service. The diners seemed very satisfied with their meals and continued to order quite a lot of food. Once everyone was full and satiated, it was time for our guests to pay for their meals. Thankfully our friends had brought (hand-made paper) money with them to pay with at the cash register.

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Taking food orders and serving the meals.

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Our busy restaurant.

Once our customers had left and we had cleared the tables, we took a moment to reflect on the huge success of our restaurant. We agreed that we had collaborated and worked together extremely well with the planning and the final implementation of our restaurant. There was much passion and fascination throughout this inquiry, and the children clearly enjoyed learning more about the workings of a restaurant. In our everyday lives we delight in being the diners in restaurants and it was interesting to compare the differences in roles between organising and working in a restaurant and enjoying the leisure time of a diner. Examining these different roles led to some interesting questions related to why we have restaurants.

Our restaurant success was repeated a week later when our families came to visit. This inquiry ties in perfectly with our current unit, Who We Are, which has a focus on how our senses help us to learn.

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The restaurant is open to our families.

 

January 14, 2014
by emmahorsey
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The Importance of Slowing Down and Self-Directed Play

Welcome back and a Happy New Year to all. Everyone looks so well and rested after three weeks of winter break. Some are a little jet lagged (as expected) but as I spend time in classrooms and chat to staff, children and parents in the hallways, I notice people are feeling refreshed and happy after enjoying much needed time relaxing and spending holidays with loved ones.

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Photo by Rebecca Smith

 

I myself soaked up every minute spent with family and friends during the holiday, particularly with my 20 month old son. We really enjoyed the opportunity to slow down a little and enjoy simple things. Taking time to experiment with and smell various plants in the garden kitchen, hours spent playing in the sand and water at the beach. As I began to think about the year ahead, the busyness it will inevitably bring,  this idea of slowing down, appreciating the simple things is appealing and the desire to hang onto this relaxed feeling is very strong.

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Photo by Emma Horsey

 

I came across this article recently, which I found thought provoking.

http://families.naeyc.org/content/self-directed-play-moment-children-can%E2%80%99t-always-answer-%E2%80%9Cwhat-are-you-doing%E2%80%9D

As a parent, questions I have recently asked myself and would encourage you to also consider are:

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Significant questions in a world where children more often have schedules as busy as most adults.

November 28, 2013
by Rebecca Smith
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Fathers Day Breakfast: An Opportunity for Sharing

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In preparation for the Fathers Day Breakfast in EY1, we read the book ‘My Dad’ written and illustrated by Anthony Browne. After reading the book we were inspired to share thoughts about our own dads. We worked in small groups and the teachers transcribed the children’s ideas.

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Our Daddies

He likes to always like to do funny stuff and it makes me laugh. Letizia

My daddy is so funny when he talks he says funny things. Aditi

When I’m in the pool my daddy throws me up and then he catches me in the air, he doesn’t let me in the water. Charli

My daddy is big. Wille

My daddy is a nice guy. My daddy is funny. He likes monkeys. Eleonore

My daddy is funny. Molly

My daddy goes to work. He likes to eat sausages, fried chicken and apples. Soichi

My daddy likes chocolate. Oliver

My daddy is big. Chloé

My daddy likes mummy. Muso

My daddy like(s) chocolate and big. Ron

My daddy likes cars and play dough. He likes to eat lunch, but he is not allowed to eat play dough.  Charles

My daddy is big. Titouan

My daddy is strong. My daddy like(s) Mano (football player). Diego

It was a lovely experience for the children to share this morning with the visiting fathers.  We truly value our partnership with families and the contributions made. We extend an open invitation for any families members to join us in the classroom to be an active part of the learning process. Additionally we are interested in your perspective of this experience and feedback of the morning. Perhaps you’d like to leave us a comment about your experience of visiting and spending time in EY1.

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Photos by Rebecca Smith (ICS EY Teacher)

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