They are only five or six years old, but the 18 students of Caroline Ricard’s kindergarten have accomplished a major project: they have written a book.
This book is a collection of 100 haikus that they composed throughout the year.
“At age five, they have a sense of punch,” said Caroline Ricard, a kindergarten teacher at the Eastern Sector International Education Elementary School. Any time of year has become an excuse to shoot haikus. It came together naturally. †
A haiku is a short poem of Japanese origin that traditionally has 17 syllables. Or as Nadine puts it: “It’s a three-line poem. It’s five frogs, then seven frogs, then five more frogs.”
The spark for this project arose in the autumn. The writer Nancy Montour had come to meet the students in the class to explain her work. Then they said they wanted to make a book too.
Then Yoko Satoyoshi went to class to tell them more about her home country, Japan. They learned that many things came from Japan: “Mario Bros, Sonic, Pokémon cards, ramen noodles, rice, kimonos, sushi”, the list of children, one after the other. But they also discovered the art of haiku.
And they soon became fascinated with creating haikus that were usually imagined outside the classroom. “There were moments that created too many images in our heads. It had to come out in words. We haven’t stopped composing! ‘ says Mrs Caroline.
The collection titled Our haiku year in the open air class is divided into four chapters, each representing a season. The students were strongly inspired by nature, but also by small moments in their daily lives.
Like those glued-on gloves that have become: Two gloves / Stuck together / Like a big hug† Whether this centipede observed outside: A little centipede / Hidden under the leaves / Perhaps the shame†
They were also inspired by stairs, the Titanic and nature, but also recently by the little Ukrainian girl who sang the song. let it gosheltered from the bombing. Some of these haikus were written personally by the students, others were worked on by the whole class.
The teacher herself had been trained in the art of haiku at the turn of the 2000s. She had also contributed to writing a collection of haiku about the municipal merger. This art form had stayed in her life, but this time she had the chance to bring it out with her students.
“It’s the first time I’ve done work of this magnitude with a kindergarten class,” says Caroline Ricard. This book will make them a beautiful memory of this experience as an artist. It’s also a nice ending to the module on the arts we’ve been working on. †
Hundreds of books were printed for this first edition. The students had the chance to throw the book in front of their family members last week during a special activity where they showcased the different art forms they were working on in the module. The children also recited haikus from the collection.
“I think it has enabled them to have a great experience. It also shows them that they can do great things even when they are small, and that mutual aid can enable us to achieve something extraordinary. I believe that this experience has made them proud”, emphasizes Ms Caroline.
“For my part, it showed me how to listen to what the children are saying, to the images they express. It is out of the routine, it is also enriching and stimulating to follow their words, their desires and their energy. It pays to work with their interests,” concludes the teacher.
Collection Our haiku year in the open air class is published by Rapido Livres and is now for sale in bookstores across Canada thanks to BouquinBec (https://bouquinbec.ca/).
It should be noted that the royalties allow for the addition of equipment for the open-air classroom of the international education primary school in the East sector.
The book will also be available in libraries.