At SEEC, we use an emergent curriculum, so we are always observing our students and taking note of their interests and questions. It came as no surprise to our teachers when their classes began to show interest in Japan. Even with the cold spring temperatures, Washington, D.C. was abuzz with cherry blossom excitement in March and April. Couple that energy with the Hirshhorn’s exhibit of the Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, and the children began to take real notice and make inquiries.
Our PreK class students are making their mark in Kusama’s Obliteration Room.
One of our toddler classes and one of our preschool classes each embarked on a unit featuring Japan. If you haven’t already, take a look at the toddler Teacher Feature on karaoke and the preschool Feature on Japan’s Children’s Day. Below are some of the highlights from their explorations.
The PreK class got some fresh air and enjoyed an early glimpse of the cherry blossoms. Their teacher, John Fuller, taught them a traditional Japanese folk song entitled, Sakura. The song describes the blossoms in the spring.
Mr. Fuller took them to the Natural History Museum’s solar system galleries and shared the folktale, The Rabbit in the Moon.
Since the Freer Gallery of Art was closed for renovations, Krystiana Kaminski took the PreK class over to the National Gallery of Art where they explored kimonos, Japanese art, by looking at Alfred Maurer’s Young Woman in a Kimono.
While our PreK was busy with their unit, out toddlers were also exploring Japan. One of their teachers had recently traveled to Japan, so it was a particularly rich experience as she was able to share her personal experiences.
The toddlers got busy making their own veggie sushi. This activity blended new content with sensory exploration and fine motor skill development.
After looking at Japanese ink wash landscapes, the children headed outdoors to create their own masterpieces.
The toddler’s lesson on tea included a classroom component in which they were able to observe one method of tea preparation. They concluded the experience on our art studio with our art educator who had them explore the physical and visual properties of tea through painting.
The toddlers had the opportunity to learn about the unique Japanese tradition of Kintsugi or repairing broken pottery with lacquer, often mixed with gold. This art activity encouraged careful looking and provided them with a creative and open-ended art project.