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At the end of the first term in July the K3 classes go on an overnight camp to a local young people's nature center at Momozawa. We have 2 fun packed days of activities including river play, hiking, a camp fire and outdoor cooking. It is an opportunity for the immersion classes to use English in a wider range of natural situations such as having breakfast, taking a bath, arranging their belongings and going to bed. For many children it is their first time away from home but every year we notice that our children are more grown up after this experience.
Our Summer Festival is a time for the whole family to dress up in traditional Japanese summer clothes, come to the kindergarten and enjoy a summer evening of events and dance. Each year we choose a different festival theme and previous events have included 'Nagashi Somen' (where we try to catch and eat noodles running in a stream of water); haunted house; Omikoshi (a traditional Shinto portable shrine) that is carried around the school grounds; food stalls and game corners. The evening ends with traditional Japanese dancing.
Every year students, teachers and parents take part in Sports Day. This is usually held on a Saturday or holiday so parents can join in on the activities. The events allow all students to participate and it's a chance for the whole family to enjoy some physical activity together. The event includes a Kindergarten marching drum CHORE and ends with a relay race between the K3 classes that always stirs a great deal of cheering and emotion from the all the students, teachers and parents.
Visiting International Kindergartens in Japan
The K3 (five year old class) visits Sullivan School, a DOD school in Yokosuka. Children buddy up with children from these schools and participate in a day of multi-cultural activities in English.
Every year our immersion classes hold "International Days". This is an opportunity for the children to take their "passports" and visit a number of countries. In recent years we have visited USA, Vietnam, England, Spain, Costa Rica and China to name but a few. In each country the children get a taste of that country by eating food, making a craft or playing a game or dance from that country. During the weeks before International Day our children display in our entrance, cultural objects from around the world that they bring in from home.
Our annual year end concert is an opportunity for our children to get up on the 'big stage' (at the City Culture Centre) in front an audience of several hundred. Classes integrate their production into their theme and plan, practice, and perform for several weeks before hand. Productions include singing, dancing, and plays. Productions are unique and as much as possible our children are involved in creating scenery, costumes and props for their production.
Pounding and then eating 'Mochi' (pounded glutinous rice) is a traditional Japanese activity usually undertaken in the winter after the rice harvest and during the New Year holidays. As a kindergarten we believe it is important for our children to maintain their Japanese cultural heritage, so we hold this event every year. Our children first enjoy pounding the rice, with the help of our parent volunteers, and then have great fun eating the Mochi with various toppings.