New Friends, Swimming, Market Day, Toys…


This week we welcomed a new member of Discovery A – Giang. She arrived on Monday and has been quick to settle and make friends. She already feels like she has been part of the group for much longer than five days. I have been incredibly proud of how DA students have welcomed her, taken care of her, helped her to find the things she needs and follow our routines. It is great to see them apply their growing social skills to this new situation and empathise with others. PHOTOS OF NEW FRIENDSHIPS HERE


Swimming will start on Monday 25th March and will continue every Monday until and including Monday 22nd April. Swimming will then move to Thursday mornings from Thursday 9th May until the end of the year. More details HERE 

What to Wear/Bring

Also remember that Friday 29th March is Sports Morning Details HERE


There has been an increase in children bringing toys to school. Children may bring one toy or object to school on their ‘Show and Tell’ day and should not bring anything on other days. I appreciate your support with this.


A message from K2…
Dear ECC friends,
K2 invite Discovery students to their Market Day. Its on next Tuesday, 26th March.
Please help K2 celebrate their learning about goods and services by bringing 20,000 VND to spend. Everything on sale has been made for children by children.


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Friday update


On Tuesday we had a local embroiderer visit our classroom. She showed us how she works with a needle and thread to create lines and shapes. After watching the demonstration and looking at her examples, some of the children planned their ideas on paper. We are now working on a large class embroidery. The concepts of ‘line’ and ‘shape’ run through many areas of our learning. Being able to compare lines and shapes is vital for learning to recognise letters and numbers and this begins by noticing lines that are ‘curved’, ‘straight’, ‘long’ and ‘short’.  Embroidery PHOTOS HERE


Young children love to experience the world with their whole body and the children have repeatedly shown us how much they love to engage their sense of smell (they smell almost every material we provide for them!) This week we capitalised on this interest and the plants in our garden by creating an opportunity for them to cut, crush and mix a range of herbs, spices and flowers. It really has been a feast for the senses. Juices, Soups and Potions PHOTOS HERE


Thank you so much for coming to our open classrooms sessions this week. Discovery A had almost all families represented and we greatly appreciate you taking the time. Needless to say the children loved having you in their learning spaces too! As always, we welcome your feedback and questions. We love talking about our work and your children!


Eunjae will turn 4 on Saturday. Happy Birthday Eunjae, thank you for sharing your ‘Frozen’ cake with us and have a great weekend!

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OPEN CLASSROOM TIMES (and other news!)


After looking at a range of familiar books and discussing what they were about, I asked the children, “If you were going to write your own book, what would it be about?” The children responded with great enthusiasm and had lots of ideas for making books about the things that they are most interested in. It is important that their writing comes from them and the time they spend writing is joyful. Therefore, the children have choice about content but also, when to work on their book and for how long. They may choose to come back to it over a number of days as authors do. Some of the children have started working on their books. It was wonderful to see their excitement about the process and to see the understandings that became clear through the work that they were doing. Once the children decide there book is complete I will post them on their Seesaw.  PHOTOS HERE


On Tuesday, I pulled out all the boxes we have in our maker space and made a big pile on the table. That was all the invitation the children needed to get creative. There were shakers, fire trucks, robots, cars and more. PHOTOS HERE


We have found some interesting new creatures in our garden this week. There were three different types of caterpillar, a chrysalis and a giant snail. One of the caterpillars was in the sandpit so we are trying to find out what he likes to eat. This has been a good opportunity for the children to learn that not all animals can be handled. They learned that furry and spiky caterpillars should not be touched as they can make our skin itchy or sore. The children made a home for one of the caterpillars and the chrysalis. We hope a butterfly will soon emerge from the chrysalis so we can find out what type it is! PHOTOS HERE


Our ‘Junkyard Playground’ continues to be a popular place to create and collaborate. Children love the power of being able to move large objects and create their own play spaces. During this type of play, the children communicate and negotiate, plan and generate ideas. Once built, their structure became a home, a music room and then a bus. They created their own rules and came to a common about what various objects represented. PHOTOS HERE


This is your second opportunity of the school year to come and see your child in action in the classroom. With three and four year olds, it is very difficult for parents to have a ‘fly on the wall’ viewpoint but we will try to run our programmes as normally as possible. Here are the times that DA classes are available to observe:

Thursday 14th March: 1.45 – 3.15pm (Homeroom followed by PE)

Friday 15th March: 8.10 – 11.10 (Outside play, homeroom, Vietnamese, snack and Library)

Open classrooms are optional and there is no expectation that all parents will attend. You may attend any, all or none of the open sessions. The children always ask, “Is my mummy and daddy coming?” So please let us know if and when you plan to be there so we can manage expectations and limit disappointment. The canteen will not be able to provide lunch to parents but you are welcome to pop in for a coffee and/or snack between classes. Alternatively, bring your own snack to eat with your child.


14th & 15th March: Open Classrooms – Normal School day for students. Parents will be invited to be a ‘fly on the wall’ for specific sessions on these days. Look out for more information coming soon.

17th March: Spring Fair – Discovery families wear national dress or costumes and walk up on stage to welcome everyone. Please let Bruna know you can make it by returning the form.

29th March: Fun Sports Day

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Friday Update


The children were very excited as they worked to prepare for parents to visit the class on Monday afternoon. They had made their plan last week and were ready. They picked lots of mint from their garden and made mint water and mint tea. They made more than 100 cookies to feed all the hungry readers. They made signs for the refreshments and prepared the room with cushions, blankets and lots of books! These events are a wonderful way for us to promote and encourage reading and the process of preparing provides great learning opportunities. The children communicated their ideas, developed thinking skills and worked together as they planned and prepared for this event. An enormous thank you to all the parents who came in to read with the children, it was great to have so many of you with us. SUGGLE UP AND READ PHOTOS


We have a sense of ‘agency’ when we feel in control of things that happen around us, when we feel that we can influence our learning and our surroundings. When given agency in our learning environment, the children develop the capacity to engage in their learning without waiting to be directed. They take ownership of and responsibility for their learning. They develop the skills to learn independently without heavy dependence on external direction. Much of the school day in Discovery is directed by the children and I am regularly in awe of the learning and engagement that happens when they create their own goals and carry out their own inquiries. Here are a few FEBRUARY PHOTOS that have not made it into other blog posts that show the children in action – largely self-directed action!

Have a great weekend!


‘Show and Tell’ continues every week, please make sure your child brings a toy or object on their show and tell day.

1st March: Ms Amy absent (Professional Development)

14th & 15th March: Open Classrooms – Normal School day for students. Parents will be invited to be a ‘fly on the wall’ for specific sessions on these days. Look out for more information coming soon.

17th March: Spring Fair – Discovery families wear national dress or costumes and walk up on stage to welcome everyone. Please let Bruna know you can make it by returning the form.

29th March: Fun Sports Day

REMINDER: Please make sure your child has a hat and water bottle every day.


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Leaf Artist

SNUGGLE UP AND READ – Monday 25th 2.30pm

So far we have 2 parents coming to join us for ‘Snuggle up and Read’. Would love to have lots more parents. Please let us know if you are coming so we can prepare.


This week we invited two leaf artists to come and show us how he can create animals, hats and flowers with leaves. It was incredible to see what he was able to create with one water coconut leaf! As we were focusing on leaves, the children went outside to gather leaves of different shapes and sizes. This allowed opportunities for mathematical conversations such as comparing by shape and size. They brought them inside to observe closely. The children were invited to trace the shape of the leaf with their finger before making an observational drawing of it. PHOTOS HERE


The children are developing their understanding of how plants work. They explored the garden this week and found that some of the plants have seeds. Our wild daisies have seeds that can stick to our clothes! Many people consider this plant a weed but the butterflies and insects love them, so we plan to plant our seeds around the ECC. The children have watched their peas sprout, planted them out, seen them grow and climb, noticed flowers growing on them and this week the got to harvest the pods and taste some of the peas! PHOTOS HERE


Thank you all so much for your generous donations. Discovery A has raised a total of 8,530,000vnd! Well done Discovery!


‘Show and Tell’ continues every week, please make sure your child brings a toy or object on their show and tell day.

25th February: ‘Snuggle Up and Read’ – Please let us know if you can come and if there are any changes to pick up arrangements.

1st March: Ms Amy absent (Professional Development)

14th & 15th March: Open Classrooms – Normal School day for students. Parents will be invited to be a ‘fly on the wall’ for specific sessions on these days. Look out for more information coming soon.

17th March: Spring Fair – Discovery families wear national dress or costumes and walk up on stage to welcome everyone. Please let Bruna know you can make it by returning the form.

29th March: Fun Sports Day


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Upcoming Dates


On February 25th we will have a ‘Snuggle Up and Read’ session. We hope you can join us. What you need to know:

  • Children bring a book and a cuddly toy from home to share with friends.
  • Parents can volunteer to come in from 2.30 to 3.10 and read to 2-3 children in the classroom.
  • You are welcome to send in a blanket/pillow to help everyone snuggle up!

It is not necessary for all parents to attend but we would love to see as many of join as possible. Please let us know if you would like to snuggle up and read to your child and a friend or two!


Show and Tell will be every week. Please remind your child to select a toy or object to bring in on their day. See schedule below. The children having been busy practicing their speaking and listening skills! Here are a few photos of the FIRST SHOW AND TELL


‘Show and Tell’ continues every week

18th February: Snack Sale – Discovery students will contribute food for the snack sale and bring 20,000vnd to buy a snack

25th February: ‘Snuggle Up and Read’

14th & 15th March: Open Classrooms – Normal School day for students. Parents will be invited to be a ‘fly on the wall’ for specific sessions on these days. Look out for more information coming soon.

29th March: Fun Sports Day

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Tet, Walkathon and ‘Show and Tell’


The children made ‘banh chung’ last week and they have continued to get into the Tet spirit this week. They looked closely at our peach blossom branch and used their fingers and paint to communicate what they noticed. On Thursday they wore their ao dais and went to the ES Tet assembly performed by grade 1, 3 and 5. Today the children learned about some Tet traditions in Vietnamese and made ‘li xi’ (lucky money envelopes). The biggest excitement was the dragon dance. Here is what Discovery A thought about it:

Minh An: Wow! Look at that!

Faas: Like!

Kairi: It’s too scary, it’s too noisy!

Lukas: When I grow up into a big boy, I can touch the dragon.

Marlene: I saw my Dad.

Suzu: I like the dragon dance. I want to touch the dragon. I was in the front and then I didn’t touch it.

Harriet: I liked it and it was funny!

Anu: Too noisy.

JJ: It was cool, I was not scared.

Cyrus: I saw my sister and touched the dragon dance.

Eunjae: My mummy went to the dragon dance.

Yuya: It’s so funny.

Isabel: I liked the dragon dance.

Naomi: I was so scared about the dragon because the music was so loud.

Tet photos HERE


There was great excitement as the children enjoyed participating in the walkathon today. The blue sky came out for us too! Many thanks to all the parents who supported the event through sponsoring and volunteering. We will return all the forms with number of laps recorded to enable you to collect the money and send it in after the Tet break. Photos of the Walkathon HERE.


Following the visit from the ‘conical hat lady’, we started exploring the materials she used to make the hats. We were able to look at and touch the fresh leaves, dried leaves and ironed leaves and compare them. The children had observed our visitor using a needle and thread to join the leaves to the bamboo of the hat. We provided the children with needles and thread and they experimented with them. This resulted in some interesting leaf sculptures which some children attached meaning to. Photos of Sewing Leaves Here


Speaking skills and listening skills are highly valued in Discovery. We have been working with the children on speaking in full sentences to describe each other using the picture prompts (above). These prompts support the children to create a descriptive sentence about colour (Amy has a blue t-shirt), numbers (Amy has 2 eyes), size (Amy has long hair) or action (Amy is riding her bike). Learning to formulate and speak sentences will also support their writing later on.

YOUR SUPPORT NEEDED: We will continue this work by inviting the children to talk about an object from home. Please remind your child to select and bring in an object on their ‘Show and Tell’ day every week. See schedule below. Please do not send any large toys or any very valuable objects.


2nd February – 10th February inclusive: Tet Holiday

Week of 11th February: ‘Show and Tell’ begins

18th February: Snack Sale – Discovery students will contribute food for the snack sale and bring 20,000vnd to buy a snack


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DA Friday update


On Monday and Tuesday the children had an opportunity to share their learning with Mr Lamont during my absence. Each morning we check on how things are growing and they were able to continue this routine and tell him about the caterpillars as well as the seeds they have planted. The children are developing the dispositions of an inquirer as they observe closely, ask questions and explain their thinking to others. These important skills cross all disciplines. Here are a few photos of the children sharing their learning with Mr Lamont


We are often led by the children’s interests and this week there was some excitement around rocks on the playground. A group of children were hunting for rocks all around the ECC. I invited them to come with me to look outside the ECC where there are a lot more rocks. Soon the whole class had taken the opportunity to explore outside with us. The children are constantly planning, discussing and collaborating as they play. They started by lining up the rocks according to size, sharing language to compare and describe them. They moved on to balancing and stacking. Many children talked about the shape of their rocks and made connections to things they know, “It’s like the shape of an egg!”, “This one is a heart!” I heard children counting their rocks and using words like, ‘more’, ‘smallest’, ‘long’, ‘on top’, these are all examples of the mathematical language we want the children to be understanding and using. Here are a few photos and video clips of them with the rocks.



Tuesday 29th January: Student Mid-Year Reports available on Veracross (Please read and bring your comments/questions to the Parent Teacher Conference)

Make sure your Walkathon form has been returned

Wednesday 30th January: Parent Teacher Conferences (no school for children)

Thursday 31st January: Wear an Ao Dai (children will attend the Tet assembly and dragon dance)

Friday 1st February: The Walkathon. Wear sports clothes. Parents welcome to join in with the children running and/or walking

2nd February – 10th February inclusive: Tet Holiday

18th February: Snack Sale


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Hats, Caterpillars and Junkyards!


As part of our Unit of Inquiry about materials, we are exploring materials traditionally used in Vietnam. We invited a lady who has been making conical hats for almost 60 years. It was fascinating to watch the process as well as explore the leaves and bamboo used. She has left us with some of her materials so we can explore them further – more next week.


We have had a fabulous week watching our garden grow and our caterpillars getting fatter! One caterpillar was wandering away from the garden, so the children had the opportunity to hold it if they wished. These close experiences with nature help the children to develop a sense of appreciation and interest in the natural world. They learned how to hold it gently and how to show respect for this small living creature. This was also a great opportunity to develop observational skills and descriptive language as they noticed the caterpillars features. Caterpillar photos HERE.


Over the last few months we have been developing a play space in the most underused part of our outdoor environment. It is officially called the ‘Loose Parts Play Area’ (more about loose parts in this previous blog post) but it’s known to the children as ‘The Junkyard Playground’. We have been collecting a range of objects such as sticks, bricks, tyres and planks for the children to use creatively. It has been wonderful to watch their ideas unfold. This type of play encourages a great deal of collaboration and communication between the children and develops their social skills. Over the last few weeks of school they have created their own tracks, obstacle courses, shelters and more. They invent their own stories and games and negotiate their own rules around the changes they make in this area. We are continuing to build up resources based on the interests of the children and items that become available for reuse. If you or your company has any waste materials that could be used in this area (e.g. large cable reels, wooden boxes, plastic sheeting, bamboo, planks of wood) then we would love to hear from you! Photos of the Junk yard playground HERE


This week we celebrated with another birthday. Happy fourth birthday Yuya. Thanks for the cupcakes!


Look out for your child’s sponsor form coming home in their bag soon. All the children will take part and we hope with your support that Discovery A will make a great contribution to this fund raiser. If you would like to be a walk-a-thon volunteer please contact our class parent, Bruna: More information from the organisers below.

Dear Parents and Students,

This is the Walk-a-thon Sponsorship Pledge form. The Walk-a-thon is an annual Elementary School fundraising event, at UNIS, in support of the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation.
The Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation is a charity that works with children in crisis in Vietnam. Blue Dragon kids are street kids, children with disabilities, children from rural families living in extreme poverty, and victims of human trafficking and slavery. Blue Dragon’s aim is to rescue kids from danger, reunite them with their families when they can, and provide all the services needed for recovery and growth.

For more information go to:

The Walk-a-thon is an afternoon when all of the ES joins in a walk/run of laps around the sports field. Students are encouraged to collect sponsorship for their participation.
Last year the UNIS Elementary School raised close to $20,000!

There are two methods of sponsorship.

Flat Donation

  • Sponsors can donate a specific amount of money regardless of the number of laps you complete (e.g. $10 or 200,000 VND)
Amount per lap

  • Sponsors can pledge a certain amount of money for each lap (e.g. 10,000 VND per lap or $2 per lap)
    Please note that students will probably complete between 7 and 15 laps.
  • Return the sponsorship form to your child’s class teacher by January 24.
  • The teacher will write the number of laps completed at the end of the day.
  • Donations can be brought to school after the Walkathon.
  • Donations can be collected in US Dollars or in Vietnamese Dong.
  • The final due date for donations is Friday, 22nd February.

Many thanks,

Kristen McAuliffe & Ronke Bearzi on behalf of the Blue Dragon Walk-a-Champions      
Help make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children!



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Happy New Year!


It has been wonderful to welcome the class back this week. The children were straight back into their routines and friendships as if they had not had a long break at all! We have been talking about our holidays and some children were able to share what they did during the break by drawing a picture to show to the class. Ms Laura paid a visit to our room to talk about her trip to Antarctica in the break! The children were very interested in the whales and penguins. Thanks to the families who have shared a holiday photo with us. Please email us with a photo if you have not had a chance to do this yet so we can continue talking about our experiences. Photos HERE


We have been hard at work in the Discovery gardens this week. We prepared the garden by removing and relocating some unwanted plants and cleaning up the dead leaves. The peas that we planted before the holiday have sprouted successfully and we have planted them out into our gardens. The avocado seed also sprouted roots so we have put it in a pot. We want to encourage insects to visit our garden so the children were excited to see how many caterpillars are eating our broccoli plants. We planted more broccoli seeds so we can feed them all! We have put in some strawberry plants and nectar rich shrubs as well as some mint. We used some of the ferns we removed to develop our junk yard play area. Hopefully they will like their new home under the banana trees! Do ask your child to give you a garden tour when you are in school. Photos HERE

Have a great weekend!


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