“A sense of place is a unique collection of qualities and characteristics – visual, cultural, social, and environmental – that provide meaning to a location.
Sense of place is what makes one city or town different from another, but sense of place is also what makes our physical surroundings worth caring about.”
Edward T. McMahon
To start our second thematic journey of the year which we are boldly calling ‘A Sense of Place’ we wanted to acknowledge the home countries for all our classmates. We have friends from so many far off places as well as different parts of Indonesia too. We realised that almost all the class had to journey to get to Bali and that as our host country, we should share what we know about it. Together we discovered we already knew quite a lot! It has lots of nature including: snakes – lots of snakes, flowers, black pigs, monkeys, worms and coconut palms with nuts that are tasty. By beaches that are all around the edge, as Bali is an island don’t you know, there are barrel waves to surf alongside colourful fish and manta rays. There are rivers, rices fields, banana trees and even volcanoes. Temples, roads, cities and motorbikes are on this island too. Oh and people, we shouldn’t forget them!
Did you know that the longest river in Bali goes right through our school? Sungai Ayung, or the Ayung river in English, starts right up on the slopes of Gunung Batur one of Bali’s two active volcanoes and flows all the way down to near Sanur where it goes into the sea. The children led the search for it, with one saying you could spot it from the Yoga Bale. As we went we listened carefully to discover it’s whereabouts and as we got closer to the bale, sure enough we could hear the rush of what we could only presume was a river. From the height of the studio we had a mesmeric view over the bamboo thickets onto the river. We saw how it flowed, shining in the light as it went between the rocks on it’s journey down stream from left to right as we were looking at it. In it we spotted rocks that looked like giant animals and even an old bridge that we though wasn’t that safe and we wondered why it was left that way? We shared stories with the children of the early days here at Green School, when the food for lunch had to be carried over the wobbly bridge each day. We wondered how it broke? Coming up with all sorts of theories of our own before Ibu Ria told us what happened. One year, everyday it rained and rained. It poured for months and the river water rose higher and higher. The huge rocks were covered and the gentle river that we could see became a massive flood and damaged the bridge, carrying pieces away.
We decided to get another angle and so visited the Green Studies from where we wondered how the Sungai Ayung could be used. We decided it couldn’t be drunk – not without filtering it first, but that for washing clothes and bodies, swimming and playing in, watering crops, fishing and even for ceremonies it would be perfect!
We wanted to make Bali! We looked at a topographical map and saw that Bali has high bits and low bits, spotting how the colour of the map changed the higher it got.
We realised we couldn’t just colour it in though as that would mean it would be flat and that just wasn’t true. Hmmm…. how to make it was a challenge for the whole class to ponder. Should we make it out of cake? How about clay? We could use cones for the volcanoes, especially for Gunung Agung which is the highest volcano in Bali that even smokes sometimes for us to see. We could get things from our maker space and Kembali. How about papermache? Yes!!!! Let’s do it! Ah, but what is Bali covered in? Errrrr…..rice? Ok then, let’s make a magic potion papermache and make our topographical map a living one. No problem! We added rice water, tapioca and rice flour to bond all our scrap paper and old egg boxes together. We mixed in oats to add nutrients and let it sit over night to soak. Uh uh, we didn’t mean to add the tapioca four! What will that do to our potion? We meant to add kanji or sago flour – ok, lets put that in as well!
The next day the mixture was blended to make it mega mushy then we stirred in some seeds. We used our Kindy energy to squish and squeeze the paste together. It was a lot of fun adding it to our giant outline. The children kept checking the map to work out where to put the hills and volcanoes and which bits of Bali are flatter than other parts. Everyone is excited to see what will happen over the weekend to our map (fingers crossed the ants don’t take the seeds over the weekend).
The displays of confidence and security in our Kindy home has been evident this week. It was beautiful to see our class empowered to share their space in an active way with their Gecko teman teman friends. They helped them explore our playground equipment in a series of challenges and were really gentle and generous.
Food: the way it smells, looks and tastes can conjure memories and feelings of well-being and are tied to our emotions as much as our tummies. As part of finding out about this beautiful country, and to help develop our sense of place here in Bali, our Indonesian classmates and teachers are having fun sharing some of their favourite foods. This week Ibu Pandan and Ibu Silvi shared their love of Kolak. Kolak is an Indonesian sweet soup desert and everyone has their own way of making it. They had the children using their hands to rip out sticky segments of jack fruit(nangka), pulling the fruit apart to shred it. They sliced bananas (pisang), diced sweet potatoes (ubi), took grated coconut (kelapa) and after mixing it with drinking water before squeezing it to get fresh coconut milk (santan). Into a pot then went palm sugar, daun pandan and water which was brought to boil before mixing the fruit and letting it thicken and simmer.
Was the Kolak a success? The smell? – DELICIOUS! The taste? – Hmmm….a mixed response. ‘Yummy!’ ‘Yucky!’ ‘Squishy!’ ‘Can I have some more????’ ‘I want to take some home for my mum. Here is my snack box!!!!’
We are investing in our Early Years home and with the Green Studies team planted our sprouted beans along our boundary fence. We want to nurture our very own, living hedge of edible plants. Each day we are taking turns to water our seedlings to keep them growing. Fingers crossed we can eat our own beans soon!
We welcomed another visitor to our class on Thursday. Our Mystery Guest this week was Matilda’s Mum, Ibu Monique. Ibu Monique helped us create a story around the class which grew and grew and grew! What an adventure we were able to imagine together. Ibu Ria drew it for us as we told it, Ibu Pipit scribed it and everyone else imagined it. All our friends contributed and the story blossomed. 🙂
Dates for your diary
World Bamboo Day: Wednesday 18th September
Parent-Teacher Conferences (PTC): Friday 27th September
Finally, we would like to say thank you to all of the families who were able to come to the Early Years Potluck Breakfast. It was so fun to mingle, share delicious food and make new friends across our Learning Neighbourhood. Thank you!
Have a weekend full of Bali adventures!
The Kindy Team