ICS Early Years Center Blog

Inter-Community School Zurich, Switzerland

November 14, 2013
by Rebecca Smith
1 Comment

Sharing a Community Cultural Event: Diwali


In early November the EY1 class celebrated Diwali: ‘The Festival of Lights’. Rohini, Aditi’s mother, visited our class to share about this Hindu celebration with us. We listened to some information and viewed pictures of this traditional celebration. We watched a cartoon version of the Diwali story. The underlying message of the story is the victory of good over evil. It was about a man, Rama, who with the help from a very strong monkey called Hanuman, searched for and found his wife, Sita. After a very long time away they returned to their village. There was a joyous celebration in which the land was illuminated with diyas (clay oil lamps) and bursting fire crackers.

You can view the cartoon story here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pp59n0So

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We learned about the diya, the clay oil lamp, that people use during Diwali to decorate their homes and offices. We held our own exciting and joyous celebration by lighting sparklers. It’s interesting that festivals of light can be found all over the world and in many cultures.


We each received a Happy Diwali gift from Aditi and her family. It included a chocolate treat and our very own diya, so we can share our encounter of this celebration with our families at home. This experience is an example of how we can explore ideas connected to our Who We Are Unit of Inquiry,‘Through sharing experiences within our community we can learn about ourselves’.

Photos by Rebecca Smith (ICS Early Years Teacher)

November 1, 2013
by Rebecca Smith

Shared Cultural Experiences: Halloween

In our year-long ‘Who We Are’ Unit Of Inquiry, we are interested in exploring how shared experiences with others can help us to learn about ourselves. The many cultural and seasonal celebrations that occur within our community are a great way to participate in shared activities with our classmates, their families and the people in our wider school and local community.


On October 31st, we celebrated Halloween with members of our learning community. The children, teachers and some parents came dressed-up to school. There was much laughter shared as we compared, appreciated and discussed the different costumes and choices of characters.

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We listened (in both small and a large groups) to a number of Halloween stories read by Aditi’s mum and Charli’s grandmother.


As a group, we sang some of the Halloween and Pumpkin songs that the children have been learning in their Music lessons with Ms Mills. We also did some spooky and fun dancing together.

We made some Halloween-inspired crafts (prepared and led by parent volunteers), which included masks, lollipop spiders and lollipop ghosts. We painted and decorated the small pumpkins with glitter, that we had chosen at the Jucker Farm. The parents and teachers helped the children with some of the trickier tasks, such as tying the elastic and strings, or holding items steady while the children used the scissors or paintbrushes.

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Letizia’s and Soichi’s mummies carved our big pumpkin into a friendly Jack-O-Lantern. Everybody took turns to help to remove the guts from inside the pumpkin – it was a messy job!

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Finally, we shared in a special snack of fresh fruits and vegetable sticks, popcorn and cupcakes. It was a wonderful morning. Everyone involved enjoyed the opportunity to spend time working with others to complete the activities, celebrating, singing, dancing, laughing and having fun together! We are looking forward to learning about ourselves and others as we share in more cultural and seasonal celebrations throughout the year.


Photos by Rebecca Smith (ICS EY Teacher)

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