ICS Early Years Center Blog

Inter-Community School Zurich, Switzerland

May 24, 2013
by Rajeshree Rao

Life Cycle of a Frog

Exploring and learning about life cycles through observation and illustration is important for children to help them respect and care for the living things around them.
Inquiring into life cycles within a context that children will understand and recognize is best done by observing and discussing the life cycles of flowers, butterflies, frogs and chickens. It allows children to understand that with growth there is change.
We in EY2 Red are observing the life cycle of a frog. IMG_6378
Before we brought the tadpoles to class we had a class discussion about frog eggs, tadpoles and frogs. The children shared their thinking and personal connections about these:
• I have never seen a frog egg or a baby frog.
• I have seen big black frogs in my grandma’s garden.
• When we are quiet we can hear the frogs singing in the pond.
We then followed up by reading the book “Oscar and the frog” and a few books about the life cycle of frogs, to deepen and challenge the children’s thinking and provoke more discussion.
We were lucky to find tadpoles in our school pond. We scooped out a bucket full of tadpoles with water from the pond and brought it to our class. Before we moved them into the tank we put some rocks, weeds and pond plants. IMG_6389IMG_6390

It was wonderful to see the excitement on the face of the children!
“Come and see it looks like a fish and swims like a fish too”.
“I wonder if they have eyes (we know that worms do not have eyes)”
“I like to see his tail wiggle. The tail is a little bit bushy”.
The children come to school every day excited to see if the tadpoles have grown. We are waiting to see the back and front legs to appear, facts discovered during the children’s research.IMG_6448 IMG_6547
They continue to observe and discuss the changes whilst referencing the books available to them. The children have shared their learning and theories with their Grade 3 reading buddies and some Grade 5 students visiting our class. IMG_6686 IMG_6841
This experience has provided opportunities for language development (learning new vocabulary) maths (numbers, size) and science (life cycle).
If we want children to respect the natural environment, we have to give them opportunities to connect and experience it.

May 6, 2013
by Heidi Harman

Encouraging and Supporting Children’s Individual Inquiries

Supporting Our Personal Inquiries and Wonderings — Cracks in the mud inquiry

In the Primary Years Programme, we believe that optimal learning takes place when it is genuinely connected to the world around an individual student. Acquisition of both knowledge and skills and the search for meaning and understanding are most successful when done in relevant contexts.

Edward, Karson, Daniel, Villum and William found some cracks in the ground and wondered how they got there.


Karson, “there must be some pipes under the ground, and they’re getting bigger, so the ground is opening up”.

Edward, “no, there is something bad under there and it wants us to fall in”.

Daniel, “I think someone has been digging. Come, look. There is mud under the cracks. Maybe someone used their nails”.

Mrs. Harman is wondering if the ground is dry and that is why the cracks are there. Maybe if it had rained, the cracks wouldn’t be there? Karson has the idea to put water on the cracks to see if they stay or go away. Karson and Villum went to fetch the jugs of water while Edward, Daniel and William guarded the cracks in the earth. Karson and Villum poured water onto the cracks and we all noticed the cracks begin to disappear!

We could make the cracks disappear even faster by rubbing our fingers over them.

Edward began digging with his stick once the earth became wet mud and decided to dig for treasure.

He says he will continue to keep digging every day until he finds the treasure.

Edward, “we need to put lights on our hats so we can see when we go down”.

Karson, “when we see an X on a treasure map, that is where the treasure is”.

The children  felt inspired  to create treasure maps to help them find the ‘Diamond Castle’ under the cracks.


The cracks remain a source of inquiry to us. Why are they only located in this part of the playground at the top of the slope under a tree and nowhere else in the playground? This led to discussions about shelter from the rain and where rain water goes.

March 21, 2013
by Rebecca Smith

How We Express Ourselves

How We Express Ourselves

EY have been exploring and expanding our ideas related to the Central Idea that There are different ways and reasons for sharing stories.

The experiences we have engaged in were designed to help us to develop questions, theories and understandings focused on the Key Inquiry areas:

  • Stories can be shared in different ways
  • Stories are shared for different reasons
  • How stories express different perspectives

Please click on the following link to view a movie which shows many of these learning experiences (in EY2 Yellow) and how they encouraged us to make discoveries and meaning throughout this Unit Of Inquiry.


To view the video you must use the password: 4eyparents

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