International Week presentations (cont’d) and parade, Adult Enrichment

International Costume Parade: One day during International Week, the children all dressed up in International costumes.  It’s time for the big parade!

Wow! Lots of parents were waiting for our arrival in the Upper Recreation Hall!


International week presentation (Part 2):   Germany – Mrs. Boehmert came to our class to share with us how the children in Germany celebrate Saint Martin’s feast on November 11th.  They make paper lanterns and carry them in a procession.

We learned about the country’s geography, referring to a map.  We also tasted some freshly baked German bread.

We were shown different types of lanterns that the children might make for the festival.  Then we made our own lantern decorations.

The same week we learned about the United States of America:  Mr. and Mrs. Nash along with Mrs. Farmer talked to us about their native country.  We also had a quizz about sports, popular children’s names in America, food, and so much more.

Since the presentation happened to be on Halloween Day, the children enjoyed playing a Halloween-picture Bingo game.  They also received some Halloween treats to take home.

We even sampled some roasted pumpkin seeds, which, for certain classmates, was a first-time experience.

Halloween – We made jack-o’-lantern baskets and learned how to fold two strips of paper into springs for the arms and legs.

 Diwali is a Hindu celebration of the Lights held during the period between October and November.  It’s a major festival in India.  “Happy Diwali!”

One of the popular classes of Saint Maur’s Adult Enrichment Program is for the parents to dress in an Indian costume.  Our Indian moms volunteered to show any interested parents how to wear a beautiful Sari, consisting of a long strip of cloth that can be wrapped around in various ways.

The moms wanted to show the children their beautiful Indian costumes, so they came up on the roof during recess time.  The children were excited to see their moms participating in Indian culture!

The parents are excited to learn new things, just like the children!  That’s what the Adult Enrichment is all about… to promote life-long learning.

And, here is a two year old making his own discoveries in class, beginning his life-long learning.


Class excursion: mikan-picking

As the hot summer left, and the colorful autumn leaves started to fall, the class went on its first class excursion to Shiba Seaside Farm in Yokohama.  The 20 children and two moms, along with Ms. Mimi and Ms. Hoshi, boarded the school bus. Off we went!

After arriving at the farm, we entered a patch of mikan trees where the children were shown how to pick mikans without using scissors.  The trick was to hold the mikan and… twist, twist, twist until the fruit fell from the branches.   These mikans, rich in Vitamin C, hung low enough for us to pick them.

The first part involved picking the mikans, peeling their skin and enjoying the taste and smell as the class ate near the trees.  Some children loved the sweet juicy mikan so much that they ate three, four, and even more mikans!

Then it was time for us to pick some more.  We were given a bag and could fill it all the way to the top.  We tried to pick the ripe-looking, orange-colored mikans, not the green ones which had not ripened yet.

“We love mikans, we’re still eating!”





Our backpacks on the way back to the school bus were a lot heavier than on the way to the farm.

We were getting hungry again.  It was time to have our lunches in the open air.  It was picnic time!

On the way home, some children were fast asleep, lulled by the cadence of the school bus.  Sweet dreams!  Thank you to the two mom-chaperons who helped us all day.  It sure was an exciting excursion.

Elementary sports day:  On November 2nd, the Elementary School had their Sports Day on the field at Futaba Elementary School.  Futaba school is our sister school, and we share the same school badge.  Their campus is located adjacent to ours.

We walked to the field,  watched, and cheered as many of the children have siblings in Elementary School.  They were divided into four different color groups, and they had the color T-shirt of their respective color teams.  Many parents came to cheer them on.


Reading Fun Day, Dress-up Day and International Week (Part 1)

The theme of Fun Day for the Montessori School and Elementary School in October was “Reading”. We all love reading!

The Dress-up event was becoming their favorite character in a book. The children dressed up as a princess, unicorn, witch, dog, monkey, car, character from the Bible, and much more.  They enjoyed talking to each other about their characters.

Another event was the Door Design:  Each class from Montessori up to Grade 5 made a door cover from a book for a display in the main building.  Our class chose the book “Draw Me a Star” by Eric Carl.  It was fun to draw (a star)!

And we took turns in pairs to pose under our poster.


Ms. Catherine’s class chose the book “Shape Space” by Cathryn Falwell. Each child chose a shape and drew a picture with their faces on them.

Ms. Sallie’s class chose “A Busy Year” by Leo Lionni,  and each child took a picture by the door poster dressed as a mouse.

The fifth grade boys and girls took the older Montessori children in small groups and guided them around for a door tour in the main building.  We got to see many interesting doors.

Reading moms:   We had two moms from Elementary School read to us.  We liked listening to stories by different moms.

As part of the Language program, we sometimes have Elementary or High School students come to our Language classes in the afternoon, and we become “reading buddies”.  We also then become friends with the older students attending Saint Maur.

International Week (Part I)  – Presentation on France by Agathe’s parents.  They made a slideshow for us and showed us how different types of cheeses are made in France, from cow, goat or sheep milk.  We learned how the holes in Emmental cheese are made by doing a science experiment on fermentation, mixing yeast and sugar in warm water and placing a balloon over the bottle’s neck so we could watch the gas escape into the balloon.

Do you know what we are doing below?  We are making our own butter by shaking the cream inside a jar, really hard until it turns into butter!  “Shake, shake, shake!!”

Then we strained the extra buttermilk to isolate the solid butter.  We took a small portion of the butter to sample at home.

We also tasted three different types of cheeses from France: Crotin, Brie, and Comte cheeses.  You can see the “new” taste on our facial expressions!

International Week Presentation on India:  Jenisha’s and Thejasvi’s moms taught us some facts about India.

“Who knows what the national animal of India is?”  Yes, tiger!   We learned about what the national flag symbolizes, the many languages spoken in India, the food, customs and festivals, dresses, currencies, and much more.

We tried practicing an Indian dance.  We also smelled the different spices used in Indian cooking and tasted homemade Indian treats. That was the best part!


Next week we will learn about Germany and the United States…  to be continued.


Our busy bees

Our class, in fact all three Montessori classes, received a surprise gift of a Lego box.   It’s too early from Santa Claus, isn’t it?   So guess from whom?

It was from the Elementary School Student Council, who had asked the PSG (Parent Support Group) for Lego boxes for all the Montessori and Elementary classes.  The PSG generously granted their wish, and… the Student Council members were at our door to make the delivery.  Thanks to the PSG and the Student Council, the children are seen busy expanding their imaginations during lunch recess.

Observing the patterns of the seashells with a magnifying glass. Hmmm.

Matching the lids to their containers.

Constructing a colored map of Japan, as well as learning the names of the geographical regions, including Kanto where we live.
Knobbed Cylinder blocks: matching the cylinders to the right sockets of varying depths and widths.
Knobless cylinders: building a 10-cylinder tower with cylinders of the same height but narrowing widths, stacked in the correct balancing order.
Working in pairs: matching the colors.
Sorting pencils of different colors, into groups of the same color
Show and Tell time: sharing time.  What are you showing us today?
 Pouring activity.
Working in pairs: taking turns matching cards to complete the pictures.
 We are responsible to clean the floor after lunch.
We made crowns.  Now let’s make bracelets!
 Creation with magnet shapes to make a three-dimentional object.
Who lives in this colorful town?
Our favorite time in the Library: we choose our own books.

A new school year, welcome!

Hello to both our new and returning families in Ms. Mimi and Ms. Hoshi’s class,

This school year has started with 18 children (which includes 4 new families), and we are anticipating more families to arrive shortly in Japan.  The children from last year have welcomed and helped their new classmates feel comfortable in their classroom environment.  Aged from two to five years old, our students represent 10 different countries. They are excited to tell each other about their adventures over vacation.  The returning children came back to school a little taller, older—and with greater confidence.

At the new easel.

Practicing numbers.

“Oh, no.  Be careful! ”    “I can’t reach any more.”

Caring and cooperating:  “I can help you carry it!”

Snack time is also social time.

Using the Moveable Alphabet to write words.

Sound Cylinders involve matching the subtle sounds such as beans, sand and rice inside the cylinders.  Shake and listen carefully.

Caring for their environment such as sweeping under the table after lunch time.

Carefully rolling a mat and returning it to the proper place after use.

Concentrating: transfer the beans using a tong.

Communicating: in the Library Corner and also face-to-face.

So far in the month of September, we have had school-wide emergency drills: “Earthquake drill” and “Fire drill” involving Montessori, Elementary up to Middle through High schools.  Our children earlier received instructions on what the drills were about; and they practiced prior to the actual drill, so no child cried or panicked on the day.  We are expecting one other emergency practice, the “lockdown drill”, for all students soon.  Safety remains a top concern, from start to finish.

Earthquake position: practicing for the earthquake drill.

In preparation for the fire drill: our children walked through the Futaba Walkway to get to the evacuation area.

We are a team and a big family: respecting and caring for each other and our school environment.



Ready for the hot summer!

Hello, the summer has arrived, and we hope the children are enjoying their vacation.  Some students have flown back home to be with their families and relatives.  This year, in our class, we had children from Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, making the world so much closer.

Below are maps some of the children made from January to June. These include the continent map, as well as maps of Japan, Australia, North America, South America, and Europe. The children loved looking up the relevant country flags.  Attending an international school, they become representatives of their home countries.

This school year we had children who could speak Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Polish, Russian and/or Spanish.  At school, they all used English as their common language for study and communication.  Families may come and go from Saint Maur International School in Yokohama, but the fact that our students develop friendships and study with classmates from around the world will be an asset wherever they may live in this international global society of ours.

“Look, your pants have the same color as this flag of Thailand!

Figuring out the puzzles.

Saint Maur is the oldest international school in Japan, having celebrated its 145th year.  Today, we can marvel on the countless number of students from around the world who have attended Saint Maur for their education and have become part of its rich history.  The children truly experience the song, “It’s a small world after all”, in the classrooms.

For Mother’s Day, the children made heart-shaped flower cards for their moms to thank them for their love.

The children made their own clocks, so they could answer the question, “What time is it?”

The children also learned about the Solar System, and studied about the eight planets, including our Earth, that all orbit the Sun.

In the month of May, the Kazenoko Theater Group came to our school to perform three folktales from around the world.

The Annual Sports Day was comprised of color teams and held in the temporary gymnasium.

Some events were held outside the Montessori School building.

The Annual Family Picnic was enjoyed by the children and their parents at nearby Negishi Park.

Here is looking back on this past school year to reflect on what the children have discovered.

Look! We’re getting older, we lost our baby teeth.

Learning to take care of ourselves.

Discovering in pairs and groups.

Repetition to master a skill.

We love to perform.

Our young creative artists.

Visitors to our classroom.

And, finally, the Completion ceremony: These 10 children from our class have completed Montessori, and are ready for a new adventure in First Grade beginning in August.  We wish them the very best in Elementary School!

We wish you a nice summer vacation, meeting your grandmas and grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins; exploring nature; doing physical activities such as biking, hiking, swimming, camping; and telling us about all of this and more when you come back in August.  Can’t wait to hear about your stories!  ‘Till then, take care, and have lots of fun!

We miss you.  See you after the summer.

Keep smiing, and stay happy!


Happy Children’s Day

In Japan May 5th is a national holiday known as Children’s Day.  Families celebrate the healthy growth and happiness of their children. For this special day, families with boys fly carp-shaped cloth streamers (Koinobori).  The carp was chosen because it symbolizes strength and success.

The children drew pictures of their friends and families celebrating Children’s Day under the Koinobori.

The children also made their own Koinobori by coloring, cutting, putting stickers on the carp and making a clay base.  When they were done, we celebrated with a Koi-shaped rice cracker treat. “Itadaki-masu.”

Art exhibition in the Fine Arts Building:  In April, Grade 12 International Baccalaureate (IB) Art students had their work exhibited  in the Art room of the Fine Arts building.  We were invited to come and enjoy the IB artists showcase their art pieces.  Our class had a chance to visit the exhibition and to admire the artwork on the way back from the library.  The children walked quietly, looked at the display, keeping their hands by their sides so not to touch anything.  Some artwork was also displayed on our Montessori roof.

Ballet recital: Some of the Montessori students are involved in ballet as an extra-curricular activity.  In April, Montessori children, along with Elementary students, performed a recital in the Fine Arts Auditorium after-school in front of parents and friends.  They did a fantastic job!

We love reading, and it’s more fun when we have reading buddies. ” Can I read to you?”The Fourth graders from Ms. Takeda’s and Ms. Culek’s classes came to our afternoon Language program (Daily 5 and Language Arts classes) to read to the children in two separate classrooms.  It was a lovely time to celebrate reading.  

The Montessori concert was held in the auditorium, where we performed dances and singing in different languages in front of our parents and the entire Elementary School. It was fun to be on stage. Our parents were happy to see us sing and dance.

Every April 29th, we hold our big fund-raiser, the International Food Fair.  As our contribution to the Food Fair, the Montessori department organized the two most popular games, Fishing and Lucky Pencil. The pre-first graders volunteered to help in half-hour shifts throughout the day.  The two games combined sold close to 1,100 tickets.  Thank you to all the children who came to support our games. We hope you had fun getting different prizes. It was a very hot day on the main building’s rooftop.

A nice surprise: My old Montessori students (now 29 going on 30) came to visit the classroom at the end of Food Fair day.  Illi, who was in my class, came with her son who is two years old.  Kay was in Ms. Sallie’s class.  They graduated Montessori in 1994, and both went on to High School at Saint Maur. They remain close friends.  How nice it is to have life-long friends from Saint Maur.

…so it’s almost the end of the year.  Just six more weeks of school left. We still have Kazenoko theater group coming for a performance, Sports Day in the temporary gymnasium, Family picnic at Negishi park, and more.  How exciting!


Happy Easter 2018

Spring is here.  April 1st is Easter Sunday.  Happy Easter to you and your family!

On the last day before Easter break, each child took home their handmade Easter basket with their own Easter card, along with a hand-crocheted hen egg cover made for our children by Ms. Mimi’s church friend, Ms. Takahashi.

A few days following the previous blog, the same “Sister Carmel” sakura tree has turned pink!  This photo was taken after visiting the library.

In February, Xinyue’s mother offered to come with some of her Chinese friends to show us how to make a Chinese New Year’s ornament using origami paper. They showed us, step by step, how to fold the square colored paper and then draw lines to cut out the ornament with scissors.


This is how it looks when you open up the paper after cutting.

The Chinese character means “spring”. We put a yarn in the middle, and, look, we now have a beautiful ornament for our celebration.

Valyn and her family returned to Singapore for Chinese New Year’s to celebrate this important annual holiday with her relatives.  After they returned,Valyn’s mother came to share how they celebrated Chinese New Year’s back home. She also offered us some cookies from Singapore. 

March 3rd was Girls’ Day. We enjoyed making traditional Hina dolls using paper plates and colored origami paper.  We also had a taste of Hina-arare (colorful rice crackers) to celebrate on this special day for girls. Of course, the boys enjoyed it as well.

Then came March 17th.  We learned more about Saint Patrick of Ireland and colored shamrocks.  Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

You can see that March was an eventful month. All the three Montessori classes accepted an invitation to the Ikebana (flower arrangement) display at Ehrisman Hall near the campus.  The flower arrangement teacher, Mrs. Kamata, whose daughter had attended Saint Maur Montessori, explained to us about the beauty of arranging flowers and the message of peace it conveys to people. The flowers were arranged by YIS and St. Maur parents as part of their Adult Enrichment programs.  Our parents are all “life -long learners”, too, discovering new things everyday.

Then came Japanese Culture Week.  The Japanese mothers got together to plan interesting presentations for us over three days.  On the first day, they read us a picture story of “Hanasaka Jiisan” using kamishibai (see the picture below).

In the olden days, when there was no television or movies, the kamishibai-man would come on his bicycle to the neighborhood to read to the children kamishibai stories outdoors.  It remained a very popular entertainment among the children, who enjoyed some snacks as they listened to the tales. Our mothers showed us photos of those days, and we also got to eat some treats!

On the second day of Japanese Culture Week, the parents (five mothers and a father) helped us make sushi crafts using styro foam and colored paper. It was fun making sushi to pack and take home… too bad we couldn’t eat them, as they really looked so real!

On the third day of Japanese Culture Week, mothers helped us make a collage composed of our names in Japanese katakana characters. There were plenty of colorful sakura cherry blossoms decorating our names, thanks to the mothers also bringing in punched-out paper petals.

On the last day of Japanese Culture Week, we dressed up in Japanese costumes, and  all three classes went up on the stage in the Fine Arts Auditorium to sing a Japanese song in front of all the elementary students at their Elementary assembly.  Then we had a chance to see a traditional Japanese drama performance of “kyogen“.  Although it was hard to understand the old language spoken, we could visually see and enjoy the two kyogen performers act in front of us. We also tried to practice their movements and emotions. Thank you to all the Japanese parents who helped us appreciate Japanese culture by preparing such interesting and informative presentations

We look forward to see what more discoveries and learning are awaiting us in the months of April, May and June.


Starting the year of the Dog 2018

When the children came back to school, it was the Year of the Dog.  They were well rested and had happy faces to start the new year.

The children were soon back to their school routine, enjoying the work they chose.

In mid-January, the Montessori children joined the Elementary School students, from first to fourth grades, on Math Fun Day. It was a day to play with Numbers. The children were split into different groups with a mix of different grade levels, and went to various places in both buildings to play games. Some wore clothes with numbers on them.  The Montessori children were interested in shapes, which is geometry, a part of math, as well as making patterns.

In the afternoon, all three Montessori classes got together to play a game of Bingo. For some of them, it was the first time to play, but the older children were able to help the younger ones to identify on their Bingo cards the numbers that were called out by Ms. Sallie.

The children also engaged in various outdoor activities, playing with number-related games.  Some groups got to play games in the new temporary gym!

Medical Alert! This winter season, we had children confirmed as having contracted influenza type B. Consulting with the doctor, they stayed home until they could receive a doctor’s note to say they could return to school.

In our class, we had days when almost half of the students were out sick.  Thank you for making plans for your children to stay at home when they were sick or not feeling well, for the sake of your child and other classmates’ health.

To prevent the spread of contagious germs, we talked with the children about washing their hands thoroughly with soap, as well as covering their mouths with their elbow when coughing or sneezing.

Outdoors, it has been a very cold winter.  We even had lots of snow on one day, in mid-January, on our Yokohama campus.

In the month of February, we celebrated Setsubun. It is a fun Japanese festival to celebrate the day before the first day of spring (on February 3rd). Families celebrate by throwing roasted soybeans outside the door of their house to chase out the oni (ogres ).

Then came our favorite Valentine’s Day.  We made bunny Valentine’s cards using only hearts.

On Valentine’s Day, the Elementary School students were dressed up as Love Bugs, and the French School children next door paid us a visit to say “Happy Valentine’s Day!”  They were dressed as Lady bugs, grasshoppers, wasps and other bugs.

It’s still cold…but we can tell that spring is on its way.  And, yes!!  We just found a sign of spring on our school campus near the Montessori building, on Sister Carmel’s Kawazu-zakura tree!  It’s already blossoming in pink.

Soon we won’t need our jackets anymore to go play outside.



Some fun events in 2017

Annual Montessori International Week:
In October our parents came to share with us their home country and/or where they have lived. They talked about geography, language, history, songs, dance, food, lifestyles, currencies and more.
Singapore by Hanae’s parents. We got to touch, smell, and taste the bright red Dragon fruit imported from Singapore. For some children, it was their first time to even see the fruit.

France by Agathe’s mom. She made an original slideshow for us to learn about the history and also the Palace of Versailles. We got to dance as if we were in the ballroom.

India by Jenisha’s mom on one day and Siyona’s mom on another day. We learned about the flag of India, some Indian words, and tasted some Indian snacks.
We also got to touch and smell different spices used in Indian food. The decorations in India are colorful and beautiful.

United States of America by Mako’s mom. She drew pictures to show us the famous sites around New York City. We learned what the busy state of New York is famous for.

United Kingdom by Rafael’s mom.  We learned how Guy Fawkes Day (Bonfire night) is observed and celebrated. She baked us a Parkin cake, the traditional cake eaten on that day. The children stuffed newspapers in big shirts and pants to make effigies of Guy Fawkes.
Happy 145th Birthday to Saint Maur International School.
We are the oldest international school in Japan, and the third oldest in Asia.

We dressed up in national costumes and joined in the International costume parade.

Halloween: We made jack-o-lantern bags. Peek-a-boo!

Fun Art Day: We learned about famed illustrator Eric Carls’ artstyle.

Montessori & Elementary school-wide art collaboration. We participated by painting small colored images that were brought together into an original compilation. ‘‘Oh, I found mine over there!’’

Excursion:  In December we went on a mikan (tangerine)-picking excursion to Seaside Farm in Yokohama; we were driven on the school van class by class. We picked mikans full of Vitamin C and tasted them on the spot. Some of us even ate three mikan!  We picked some more to take home as souvenirs for our families.

The Montessori and Elementary School Christmas Concert was held in the Fine Arts Auditorium on December 1st from 6:00 in the evening.  All Montessori children were up on stage for the opening performance. We sang and danced to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus and to say,‘‘Merry Christmas.’’ It was on live stream for relatives living abroad or in Japan.

We visited the school chapel. Mr. Agnew, the religion teacher, told us the story of the Nativity and about love.

We made headbands for the Christmas party.

We all had a pizza lunch, our favorite.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!   Have a restful winter vacation with family and relatives, and see you back in school in January.