4 year olds explore connections with the Haze and "Where We Are in Place and Time"

Transdisciplinary Theme
 Where We Are in Place and Time
Central Idea: Journeys can lead to new experiences and opportunities
 Tuning In: Understanding the PSI, Direction and the Journey of the Haze

Throughout this term, it has become common practice for the Echidnas class to check the PSI levels in Singapore. They have come to the understanding that, for their safety, when the PSI goes ABOVE or MORE THAN 100, they are unable to go outdoors to eat or to play in their playground. If the PSI is BELOW or LESS THAN 100, it is safe for us to utilize the outdoor areas. This has provided a great avenue for a potential inquiry into the number 100 later in the term.

 Our school nurse keeps all children and staff informed of the levels throughout the day and records it on the schools virtual learning environment.  During our morning routine, aside to the usual greetings and calling the register, the children refer to the PSI reading. After researching the PSI reading, Emma wrote the number on the whiteboard for everyone to see. This number helps the children and teachers to plan and organise the day and to make decisionsabout where we eat and where we play. This daily activity allows the children to investigate our journey through the day and is linked directly to our lines of inquiry for this Unit:

In our discussions about the haze, the children have made the connection between trees being cut down, to make paper (Sarah) and to make palm oil (Emma) and that the farmers burn the trees and that the fire makes the smoke (Jude). Then Kate asked a provocative question:

How does the haze come to Singapore?

Our Mandarin teacher, Ms Leng, taught the Echidnas a Direction Song which provoked them to inquire into the mathematical language of LEFT and RIGHT. The class teacher, Ms Partoredjo referred to a map of Indonesia to show the children where the fires have been burning (Riau province). She used a black paper cloud to represent the smoke and haze hovering over the area. Pointing to the location of Singapore, she asked the Echidnas:
How can the smoke and haze make its way to Singapore?
What could make it move from Indonesia to Singapore?

Lucy suggested that the wind can blow the haze to which Ms Partoredjo asked, what direction would the wind have to blow from right to left, or from left to right?
Casey answered, the wind will blow from the left to the right and together, the Echidnas blew the smoke representing the high PSI readings that we are experiencing currently.

Australian international School Early Years Centre
Class Teacher : Riza Partoredjo
PYP Coordinator : Kirsti Hitz-Morton


  1. My Year 4/5 class has added the haze into our teaching/learning as well. Our unit is Sharing the Planet, with the CI "Access to water is essential to the survival of all living things." On the way to understanding access, we explore the water cycle, as the cycle determines why some regions have much better access to water than other regions.
    This year, with the haze on everyone's minds, several children raised the question "Why is the air cleaner after it rains?" As they explored this question, they discovered the connections between air pollution, water pollution, acid rain and ground pollution, and from there how living things are impacted by the haze through the water cycle. It really helped the students deepen their understanding of the importance of water, and the interconnectedness of different parts of the environment.


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