October 17 & November 7, 2017
On these days, Onaca, Lizzete, and I (Brianna) had the pleasure of attending Ibaraki Christian’s very own kindergarten! It was an experience to go down in the books.
We made our way with Rory to the facility, to be greeted with utmost kindness, and of course cuteness by not only the staff, but some kindergarteners as well! Like most Japanese schools, we must take off our shoes. We could either sport the facility’s slippers, or our very own indoor shoes. After a brief tour of the facility, we were instructed to wait until being greeted by the respective kindergarten teachers. Once greeted, we were led into the classroom, only to be swept away by those oh-so-cute faces of the kindergarteners! We can justify this, they were NOT shy.
On the first day, October 17th, we were to teach the 4-year-old classes, Nozomi (hope) 1 & 2. To kick things off, we instructed them to gather and sit in a circle. Using our bodies and arms, we made a circle. They understood, and did as so. The three of us introduced ourselves, and got quite the reactions, some I will not forget. Lizzete and I gave shortened versions of our names; Liz and Bri. When Onaca (AH-NAH-KA) introduced herself, we were received with giggles–I believe they heard onaka (OH-NAH-KA), the Japanese word for stomach. It was quite funny. Moving along, we wanted to get the children moving (heh, see what I did there?). We began with Total Physical Response (TPR). We gave them commands such as: stand up, sit down, touch the floor, point to the door (ooh, that rhymes! I’m on fire!), stomp, and clap. We ourselves did it along with them. To be silly, we consequentially made them stand up, only to sit back down shortly afterwards. They got quite the kick out of that. Onwards, we gathered round back into a big circle and introduced them to body parts with pictures: head, shoulders, knees, toes, eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. For head, we had a picture of Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece. He was quite a hit. We then closed with “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes” and the “Hokey Pokey” and said our goodbyes.
The second and final time, we got a better understanding of the kids and how to use our time. Unfortunately, it is a process and will take much more than two times to perfect our lesson. This time, we were with the Ai (love) 1 & 2 class. These were the 5-year-olds. Even though a year older, they were still not shy. We pretty much did the same lesson, with minor revisions and better management of time. The 5-year-olds, however had a significantly greater retention of the vocabulary that was presented to them, and were much more responsive.
Overall, it was a great experience!