NEWS FROM THE ENGLISH GARDEN

17 March 2017

In preparation for the March 15th National Holiday the children have been learning about Hungary and its unique culture, history, and geography. The multi-cultural curriculum at the English Garden Pre-school and Nursery includes many celebrations and special events to highlight the unique cultures represented at the school. The children especially enjoyed Tuesday’s Hungarian Day celebration, where they were able to enjoy arts and crafts, taste traditional Hungarian cuisine, and listen to a short performance of Hungarian folk music. Throughout the week the children explored different aspects of Hungarian culture through a variety of activities and projects, building their knowledge and appreciation of the country where we all live.

In the Bumble Bees class the children expressed themselves creatively through painting and collage activities. They especially enjoyed a process art activity involving textured rollers. The children in the Reception class worked with sponge rollers, paint brushes and their hands to mix colours and make textured marks. Process art supports children’s development in a variety of ways, open-ended art activities allow children to develop self-confidence, build motor skills, and explore materials in ways that interest them. When pre-school children are given the freedom to experiment with artistic processes and materials without a specific end-goal is a great way to encourage independence and logical thinking skills.

The Grasshoppers and Beetles classes learned about the Hungarian Postal Service during a trip to the Hungarian Post Office Museum. This museum is housed in a beautiful 19th century building and features lots of hands on exhibits. The Year 1 and Year 2 classes were amazed by the different technologies on display. The children were able to send telegraph messages, use a telex machine, and talk into a telephone connected using a switch board. The museum trip was an interesting and informative capstone to the student’s communication unit, during which they learned how to write friendly letters and post cards.

In the Butterflies class the children brought a Hungarian object to school on Tuesday and talked about it, sharing their experiences living in Hungary with the class. They were eager to show their possessions during circle time and talk about them with adult support. The children in the Butterflies group are beginning to speak in longer sentences, and to express themselves more fluently in English. Speaking activities during Circle Time support their speaking and listening skills in a safe, familiar environment. The children also loved dancing during the Hungarian folk music show. They also learned some Hungarian children’s songs during their music and movement lessons. The simple songs provided an accessible way for the children to explore the Hungarian language.

The children in the Dragonflies class were excited to participate in a range of activities inspired by Hungarian folk and fairy tales. The children loved engaging with the fantasy elements in the stories, and liked making artwork to represent the different characters in the stories. Listening to stories and role-playing using costumes and puppets helps the children develop a concept of narrative and supporting spoken language development and literacy skills.

The toddlers in the Nursery enjoyed watching the folk music performance. The children were able to sit quietly and watch the exciting performance.. The Nursery teachers also introduced some Hungarian songs and rhymes during the weekly Music and Movement sessions.

On Monday the entire English Garden was invited to climb aboard a special NICU ambulance that saves the lives of premature and sick babies. The ambulance is one of the fleet supported by the Cerny Peter foundation. This foundation received a donation from the English Garden as part of the Valentine’s Day Charity Disco. The children were fascinated by the incubator and other special equipment in ambulance.

In the Baby Day Care the teaching staff introduced several fun sensory-motor activities to explore the Hungarian Day theme. The children were invited to paint using red, white, and green paint, the colours of the Hungarian flag. The babies love to explore edible paint, moving the paint on paper or other surfaces and exploring using all their senses. For very young children art is a kinesthetic activity and the stimulation provided by painting and other arts activities develops a range of skills. The babies also loved waving flags and listening to some Hungarian children’s songs.