I recently delivered a wonderful workshop to some highly enthusiastic six and seven year olds. The topic was Kodomo no Hi, Children’s Day, which is a national Japanese holiday celebrated on May 5th. Originally a boys’ holiday, it is now a little more egalitarian, though girls still get their own later on, with the Dolls Festival.
We used this holiday as a great excuse to teach these kids a bit about Japanese culture. I taught them how to say hallo and goodbye (including bowing to show respect!) and how to address their teacher and parents. We learned the numbers to ten and played some number games to help embed the knowledge. We learned about kimonos and gis and discovered that Japanese animals don’t sound the way Australian animals do -at least to their human owners! The classroom was full of “wan wan!” as the kids practised barking, Japanese style.
We sang a children’s song and learned a game that Japanese children play. We did some great, simple origami, making a tulip, a dog and a cat, and we even discovered that we could speak a bit of Japanese already! (sushi, anyone?)
I just love visiting schools – kids are so enthusiastic and they love to learn new things. I particularly enjoy showing them that other places do things differently and that you can’t take even the most ordinary things for granted. I hope that I am helping to open their eyes to a bigger picture of the world and its people, which in turn will foster a strong spirit of acceptance and interest in each other as human beings.
For more information or to book me to speak at your school or community centre, click Keynotes, Seminars and Workshops.