Friday Update and Happy Holidays!


This week we continued finding out about and searching for seeds. We cut into some fruit to look for the seeds and compared what we found. This gave us an opportunity to observe the colours, shapes and sizes of the fruit and seeds. Before cutting them the children used oil pastels to represent their observations. Moving between the 2D and 3D worlds is important for mathematical understanding as is the development of mathematical language to describe by size and shape. Fruit and Seed Photos


The broccoli seeds we planted have sprouted well. While they are not really big enough to plant out, we decided they would have a better chance of survival out in our Discovery gardens. The children needed to work delicately with the young seedlings, this required focus and caring, careful hands. We hope they survive the winter break! I have included a few photos of the children playing in the sand pit as they were pretending to plant seeds and water them! Play is a wonderful way for children to process their learning. Planting Out Photos


During SDG week, Ms Emily and K2D showed us their big compost bins and taught us about composting. Today they came over to give us a wonderful gift. They presented us with a small compost bin just for Discovery! They had created signs for the outside to remind us what to put in and what not to put in. We look forward to composting all our fruit waste from now on :o)


Ms Alexis has been working with the music from ‘The Nutcracker’ for the last few weeks with all her classes from Discovery to Grade one. This resulted in an assembly of shared music and dance where all the students took a turn on stage to share their learning. This was the Discovery children’s first time on the big stage and they were very excited to experience the theatre from a different perspective! Nutcracker Assembly Photos and Video


We believe it is important for children to learn about letters and sounds in meaningful ways as and when they are ready. The children are always interested in their own names and are increasingly interested in each other’s names. This week they looked closely at the first letter of their name and used natural materials to recreate it. This is a difficult task that requires moving from 2D to 3D and good observational skills. All the children engaged happily with the task and with help, recreate their letters. Photos of Making Letters 


This week we celebrated Cyrus’ 4th birthday. Happy birthday Cyrus!


15th December – 6th January inclusive: Winter Break school closed

28th January: Reports available on Veracross

30th January: Parent Teacher Conferences

The Discovery team wishes you and your families a wonderful winter break!

Organic Farm Trip


On Monday we were delighted to find that our broccoli seeds had started to sprout! The children looked at them closely and tried to handle them gently. I brought in my dying marigold from home and showed them how the seeds come from where the flower was. They took the seeds and planted them in the garden. We also found some seeds in the starfruit we picked and continue to look for seeds in our fruit at snack time. If you would like to support at home, consider involving your child in the process of food preparation at home so they can see seeds that might be removed before they have a chance to know they are there! PHOTOS HERE


This week we adventured outside the school grounds to explore an organic farm. The children were so excited. It was wonderful to be outside the UNIS walls chatting to them in the bus about the things we saw in the outside world. The photo album includes a short clip that gives an idea of the excited chatter on the bus! This trip connects with our unit of inquiry about sharing the planet. Importantly, these experiences also help the children to develop their confidence, self-management skills and social skills. The children behaved respectfully and responsibly in this new environment and got to harvest corn, starfruit and arrowroot. We also saw the largest caterpillar in the world (maybe!) We were very proud of the children’s enthusiastic and responsible approach to this experience. At school on Thursday, they observed, washed, prepared and cooked the vegetables and tried them. On Friday they cut and tried the starfruit. The photos include things we saw on the journey that interested the children such as the rail tracks and piles of gravel. Do look at the photos with your child and see what they have to share about them. It is a great way to develop language while you learn about their adventure! PHOTOS HERE


A quick request to please check your child’s clothes for anything unfamiliar. We have lost almost all of our spare clothes and have no underwear or boys clothes left. Please make sure you have two complete sets of spare clothes for your child at school. These can be left in their cubby if you prefer. Many thanks!

STG week and UN Day


As part of our Unit of Inquiry, ‘Sharing the Planet’ as well as Global Goal #15 ‘Life on Land’, the children have been outside exploring our Discovery A garden. We looked to see what was there and talked about what we noticed. They noticed some of the clay sculptures that are there and many different types of leaves. They noticed that the lavender leaves have a scent and the aloe vera is spiky!  We will be co-constructing a plan for our garden in the coming weeks. We took a trip to the Elementary School garden to see what was there and saw lots of life. The children recognised some of the vegetables we saw growing there. Next Wednesday we will go further afield to explore the organic farm. You should all have received a permission slip regarding our trip to the organic farm. Please sign and return the form on Monday. Photos of our garden exploration HERE.


Some of the children already had the idea that they would like to plant seeds, so we got some broccoli seeds planted this week. Since then we have started noticing seeds in our snacks. Since we were using compost for planting, we also went over to K2 to learn from them about how they make compost from their scrap food, dry leaves and used paper. While we were in the elementary school garden, we also took a look inside the wormery which was teaming with life as they broke down food scraps into compost. Photos of compost, planting and seed finding HERE.


We celebrated another birthday this week. Happy Birthday to Kairi!


Thank you for sharing UN day with is at UNIS. It is always such a special day. The children looked wonderful! They did an amazing job sitting for so long in the assembly and sang the song beautifully. After the assembly they were in need of a run and tumble on the hills to get their wiggles out! In the run up to UN Day, this week and last we have been learning about the names of our countries and the countries of our friends. We worked on saying the sentence, “I am from…” Check out our ‘green screen’ video in the photo album. Many of the children are learning to speak in front of others and many are learning English as a second or third language, we are every proud of them!  UN Day Photos HERE

VIDEO: ‘Your The Voice’


Friday Update


Thank you so much for your gratitude, kind words, flowers and gifts on Teacher Day this week. We all felt very appreciated by individual families as well as the amazing events and treats organised by parent volunteers.


With UN Day coming up next week, we have been getting to know each other more by learning which countries everyone is from. We went out to look for flags at UNIS and found 3. Then we looked at all the different flags of the children in the class. We looked closely and described the colours, shapes and patterns we saw in the flags. We used our hands to paint our own flag. Some flag PHOTOS HERE. I was so impressed at the children’s growing ability to represent what they see.  Please support us by talking about the most important countries for your child as we will be continuing our discussions next week.

Next week is global goals week at UNIS.  We will put the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals front and centre in our thinking and our learning. As part of Global Goals week, we will be having a Nude Food Picnic on Thursday, November 29th. Put simply, Nude Food Day means sending your child to school with a snack that contains no disposable packaging. For more information, click here. We will share more in our next blog post.
Look out for a rare paper letter coming home next week. We will send a letter/permission slip for you to sign allowing your child to go on a field trip to an organic farm.
On UN Day your child will need their hat, snack and water bottle as usual. Most families come for the assembly, eat lunch with their children and then take their children home. Therefore, the children will be dismissed directly after the assembly from the classroom and will remain in your care after that. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not try to take your child as we are walking from assembly to the classroom. There are so many people on that day, we do not want to think we have lost someone. Once all the children are safely back in the classroom, we will dismiss them in the normal way. Please make your way to our classroom straight after the assembly and you can take them to the lunch buffet in the ECC gym. If for any reason you will not be at UN day or if your child will still be riding the bus, please let us know. 
Today we celebrated Harriet’s birthday which is on Sunday – Happy birthday Harriet, hope you have a great birthday weekend!

Ice and Water


Thank you to the parents who were able to visit and spend time with your children at school during open classrooms this week. It is so special for the children to share their learning environment with you and they were so excited to have you in our space. We appreciate you taking the time to learn more about our program and invite your questions and comments through Seesaw. PHOTOS OF OPEN CLASSROOMS (including some photos by our young photographers!)


As part of our Unit of Inquiry about materials, we have been exploring water. Over the last few weeks we have explored containing water by experimenting with a range of bottle, bowls, scoops, cups, spoons and syringes. This also provided opportunities to develop mathematical concepts and fine motor skills. We played with and painted with water balloons, then put some in the freezer. This week we have been exploring these ‘ice balloons’ by observing, touching, putting salt on them, floating them in water and adding colour. Through this exploration, they have been developing oral language skills as they describe what they see and notice. The children have also developed their scientific skills. Here are some PHOTOS OF EXPLORING WATER.


At school, here are some of the many things your children are able to:

  • feed themselves
  • peel their own fruit
  • open their own packets
  • put on shoes and socks
  • pack their snack and water bottle into their bag
  • wipe themselves after going to the toilet
  • refill their water bottle
  • change their clothes

The more they practise these skills, the more confident they will be in their abilities. Please support your child by being less helpful and be ok with watching them struggle – this is what learning looks like. This is counterintuitive, requires us to allow more time and to be patient, but it is worth it. When allow our children to do things for themselves, we are teaching them that we trust their abilities and have confidence in them.


Anu is currently traveling with her mum to visit family in Mongolia. We did not want to miss wishing her a happy birthday, so we sent a class video message. Happy birthday Anu, we  hope you had a great day!

Dress ups, Outdoor Classrooms, Maths and more!


Last Wednesday the children had a chance to dress up for the day, we had superheros, princesses, witches, snowmen and more. Most of the children love to dress up and we even had dress ups over our dress ups! Thank you for supporting. Dress Up Day PHOTOS


Thank you to the parents who came to the Discovery/K1 Parent Math Morning on Wednesday led by our UNIS Math coach, Beth Murray. One of the slides was of the 8 Mathematical Practices we use throughout the school and the way they might be observed in an early years setting. This was shared as a tool to help parents identify mathematics in their child’s play.  Please let us know if there was anything else Beth shared that you would like a copy of.


The 1st of November was ‘Outdoor Classroom Day’ across the world. Since the 1st was not a school day for us we participated a week late! Outdoor play is an essential part of our curriculum in Discovery and yesterday we spent time learning outdoors with our Grade 2 buddies as well. Here are some photos of Outdoor Classroom Day showing learning in action.


We warmly invite you to our Elementary School Open Classrooms – next Thursday and Friday,
15th-16th November. Discovery A can be seen at the following times:

Thursday 9.30-10.30am HOMEROOM (includes snack)

Thursday 10.30am – 11.10am: MUSIC with Ms Alexis

Thursday 2.30-3.10: PE with Ms Nikki

Friday 8.30-9.20am: HOMEROOM

Friday 9.25-10.05am: Vietnamese

Friday 10.05-10.30: Picnic snack outside (weather permitting)

Friday 10.30-11.10am: Library

What are Open Classrooms?
Open Classrooms showcase learning in action. On two days, at selected times, our classrooms are open for you to observe lessons that put our philosophy into practice.
Purpose of Open Classrooms
Open Classrooms is for parents to get an insider’s view of what life is like inside the classrooms at UNIS. By opening up our classroom doors we would like to give parents a glimpse of student-centred, constructivist teaching and learning in action. We aim to demonstrate our inquiry based teaching philosophy which is central to our identity as an IB school.
How does it work?
● Classrooms will be designated as ‘open’ for certain lessons on Thursday and
Friday, 15th-16th November, 2018.
● All specialist lessons will be designated as ‘open’ on Thursday 15th November (all day) and
on Friday 16th November (until 11.10am).
● What you will see will be a snapshot of our regular lessons, routines and activities.
● Parents may attend any of their child’s open lessons – both homeroom classes and specialist lessons.
● Parents may only visit open lessons in classes that their own child attends.

What is my responsibility as a visitor to an active learning environment?
● Silence when the class is gathered together. Put away all mobile devices.
● Please enter classrooms quietly and be on time. We recommend you stay for at least 20
minutes to see the flow of the lesson.
● Interact with your children only when/if invited to do so.
● Please leave younger siblings at home with a caregiver, so that you may give you full
attention to your child’s class.
● All parents must wear their UNIS Parent ID badge.
● Photographing students is not permitted.

Flowers and Picnics


You will have all seen the Seesaw post of your child’s flower picture. It is fascinating to see the different ways young children represent what they see (and in some cases choose to represent something different) so I decided to share the photos from the whole group. The children are learning to look closely and verbalise what they notice. This is an important skill in all areas of the curriculum. In maths, they need to look closely to notice similarities and differences in pattern, shape, measure and quantity. Similarly when reading, they need to notice differences between the way letters or whole words look. In science, observation is also a foundational skill. Every time a child attempts a representation in this way and their efforts are appreciated, they gain confidence in their ability and become more inclined to spontaneously represent what they see or ideas they have. Representing Flowers Photos Here


Now the weather has cooled down a bit, we can enjoy our snacks outside. The children were excited to plan a picnic together and listed what was needed. They are increasingly independent when remembering what they need and getting organised, especially when they have been involved in the planning process. After our snack the children explored the wide open grassy area and found some big toads. We talked about how to observe and respect living creatures in our environment. The children wanted to play running and chasing games on the hills which was a wonderful shared experience for our class community.  Picnic Photos Here

Dress Up Day – Next Wednesday, October 31st 

Our Elementary Student Council has decided to support the Middle School and High School Spirit Week by participating in a fun dress up day next Wednesday October 31st.  In an effort to enjoy the dress up day at UNIS Hanoi appropriately, respectfully and in accordance with school rules, we ask that students use the following guidelines when selecting a costume:

  1. Costumes should not completely obscure a student’s identity. Staff members must be able to identify students.  Eg.  Full face masks should not be worn.

  2. Students are encouraged to be creative in their choice of costume.  Costumes should not be frightening or gory.

  3. Fake weapons are not allowed. No military-style costumes.


If you are reading this blog, please make a comment below. I am interested to know how many families I am reaching. Many thanks.


29th October: Snack Sale (Bring 20,000vnd)

31st October: Dress up day – come in costume! (no theme)

1st & 2nd November: No school for students (Teacher Professional Development)

7th November: Discovery/K1 Math Coffee Morning for Parents – Come and find out more about what Math looks like for our 3-5 year olds at UNIS

15th & 16th November: Open Classrooms – Your opportunity to catch a glimpse of life in the classroom.

30th November: UN Day – Parents and Students wear national dress

Loose Parts


What are ‘loose parts’? Loose parts are any collection of natural or manmade objects that can be used to extend ideas in children’s play. There is no pre-determined use or function. Loose parts are open to a child’s interpretation and creative thinking and can become anything!

“Loose parts can be thought of as a way for children of all ages to unlock the cognitive and creative mindset that allows them to build, deconstruct, persist, create, and work together to unleash the power of creativity that we all contain.” – Sally Haughey

Throughout the Discovery year, we provide a range of loose parts for the children to engage with both inside and outside the classroom. This week the children were exploring metal loose parts inside and the hoops outside along with all the usual favourites that are used in different ways daily. They also collected flowers from outside to decorate their sand cakes inside. Here are a few PHOTOS of loose parts in our classroom so far this year. You can see how the objects are moved around the room, transported in trolleys, carried up to the loft, cooked in the kitchen, made into pictures, walkways, castles and towers.

During their art lessons with Ms Emma they have been creating mosaic tiles that will eventually be part of our classroom loose part collection. Photos of mosaic tile making HERE


This week the children have been using wool/yarn to make marks with paint. Using wool as a tool requires different skills and techniques than using a brush. They developed their fine motor skills as they explored and experimented with the shapes and lines that could be created with this material. For some children putting their fingers in the paint was challenging but all the children were willing to push past their discomfort and have a go. Of course there were many that thoroughly appreciated the opportunity to get messy! PHOTOS HERE


29th October: Snack Sale (Bring 20,000vnd)

1st & 2nd November: No school for students (Teacher Professional Development)

7th November: Discovery/K1 Math Coffee Morning for Parents – Come and find out more about what Math looks like for our 3-5 year olds at UNIS

15th & 16th November: Open Classrooms – Your opportunity to catch a glimpse of life in the classroom.

30th November: UN Day – Parents and Students wear national dress

Happy Holidays!


Please email us with some information…How long was your child at birth?

This week we have been looking at how tall we are and thinking about some of the ways we have grown and changed since we were babies. We would like to compare their current height and their birth length. Please send this information by Monday 15th October. 


As we reach the October break, Ms Laura and I have been reflecting on the enormous growth we have seen in these first few weeks. It is wonderful to see how they have developed individually but perhaps even more rewarding is the development in their relationships and social skills. I have listened in to countless conversations this week and noticed how they listen to each other and ask questions. I have seen multiple situations where they have noticed someone needs help and have reached out to support without prompting. They play collaboratively and demonstrate interest in what others are doing. Of course, they are continuing to learn and grow in these areas and we have some work to do, but I am incredibly proud of every member of our little community and the progress they have made. You can see some more photos of the week HERE.


Thank you all for attending the parent conferences, it was great to chat about these most important people! During my conversations, sleep was a common topic. One of the vital roles of sleep is to help us solidify and consolidate memories. As we go about our day, our brains take in an incredible amount of information. Rather than being directly logged and recorded, however, these facts and experiences first need to be processed and stored; and many of these steps happen while we sleep. Overnight, bits and pieces of information are transferred from more tentative, short-term memory to stronger, long-term memory—a process called “consolidation.” Researchers have also shown that after people sleep, they tend to retain information and perform better on memory tasks. Our bodies all require long periods of sleep in order to restore and rejuvenate, to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesise hormones. Our counselor, Ms Kris has asked me to share the following information.

How much sleep do we really  need?

As is turns out it varies at different stages of our lives. The National Sleep Foundation (USA) has updated their sleep duration recommendations. Have a look at the chart and compare the actual amount of sleep you and your family members are getting per night and the recommendations.

As we are settling into the rhythms and routines of the school year it’s important to remember that having enough rest is one key ingredient to being ready for the day. The National Sleep Foundation has the following recommendations for preschool and Elementary school age children.


  • Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule
  • Follow-through with a bedtime routine every night
  • The child should have the same sleeping environment every night.It should be cool, quiet and dark and without a TV
  • Watch for difficulty breathing, unusual nighttime awakenings, chronic sleep problems, and behavioural problems during the day.

School Age Children

  • Introduce healthy sleep habits, disease prevention and health promotion
  • Continue to emphasise the need for a regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine
  • The child’s bedroom should be conducive to sleep: dark, cool and quiet. TV’s and computers should be off and out of the bedroom
  • Set limits
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Watch for signs of chronic difficulty sleeping, loud snoring, difficulty breathing, unusual nighttime awakenings and frequent daytime sleepiness.

In addition to a good night’s sleep there are other things that we can do to help our children be ready for school. Other healthy habits to foster are starting the day with a healthy breakfast, eating healthy throughout the day, regular exercise, and limiting screen time. Remember that you are a role model for your children and they want to imitate the behaviours they see from you.

Please contact Kris Bezzerides (D-G2 Counselor) with questions


Information About Childrens Sleep for Parent and Teachers(n.d.). Retrieved from

Top 10 Tips to Help Children Develop Healthy Habits, (June 2, 2014). Retrieved from

Recommended Sleep Chart (n.d.). Retrieved from 

Have a wonderful holiday, I look forward to seeing you after the break

Global Goals Week


Global Goals Week is an annual week of action, awareness and accountability for the Sustainable Development Goals (also known as the STGs or Global Goals) It is a collective effort of governments, individuals, businesses and international organisations designed to build momentum to achieve the Global Goals and ensure no one is left behind. At UNIS, all grade levels have been recognising this week in a range of ways. In Discovery we have focused on Goals 12 and 16. At the heart of these goals is responsibility, kindness and fairness. This are big ideas for us throughout the Discovery year.


One way we are learning to be responsible for our consumption is by taking care of resources so that we create less waste. For example, the children are learning to treat books with care, put lids on pens, use paper only as needed and serve themselves only the food they can eat.


Discovery students are learning to resolve conflicts respectfully and play fairly. Goal 16 also connects nicely to the PYP Learner Profile, ‘Principled’. This week, we read the book, ‘Stick and Stone’, a book about friendship, supporting others and standing up for what is right. The children acted out social scenarios using a stick, a stone and a pine cone (the characters in the story). This helps to externalise difficult situations and practise the vocabulary that is useful in respectful play.

Thank you for supporting the idea of ‘Nude Food’ – food that does not come in any packaging. Here are just a few examples of the nude food snacks we have seen in Discovery:


We celebrated another birthday in Discovery A. Rishabh is the first to turn 4 years old.

And finally, here are a few more PHOTOS OF OUR WEEK.

Have a great weekend and I look forward to seeing you all on Monday for Parent Teacher Conferences. (No school for students)