Our family moved from Japan to the U.S. in winter three years ago. It
had been decided that our children, 2nd grader and a preschooler in
her 2nd year at that time were going to the local schools here.
However, we were also thinking of sending our children to a Japanese
language school to maintain their Japanese language skills.
It was the first class at school in January when we first visited
"Kodomo no Ie" and observed its Saturday classes. That was soon after
we moved here. On that day, we could get to see that the children at
this school were energetic and happy doing "kakizome" (first
calligraphy of the New Year), and playing with "kendama"(traditional
Japanese wooden skill toy) .
Also, I could feel the teachers' enthusiasm in their effort to
incorporate Japanese annual events into their classes creatively
within a limited amount of time as little as one day a week; and their
appreciation of Japanese culture. Amongst several options available
for us to maintain our children's Japanese language skills, we chose
"Kodomo no Ie" as we strongly felt that "Kodomo no Ie" was the place
that our children could learn not only Japanese as a language but also
Japan including its culture.
After our children started going to "Kodomo no Ie" we gradually
started to see our children's progress in their Japanese language
skills. In preschool section of "Kodomo no Ie", our children could
learn hiragana and katakana from the basics of Japanese written
characters carefully by changing the colors when practicing each
stroke of the kanas. They also became capable of constructing short
sentences through a book making project.
At elementary and junior high school section, students at this school
did not use the textbooks made in Japan, but they learned Japanese
language comprehensively on a given topic. When our children learned
vocabulary and kanji comprehensively on a given topic, they could
learn Japanese very efficiently. This experience was also helpful for
our children to develop the skills to think logically. Furthermore,
this topic based learning was related to student presentations in
March, so it has another benefit for our children to have an
opportunity to work toward the goal.
Our life in America started with lots of uncertainties as we had to
move here with a short notice. But we are very happy that our children
could attend and enjoy learning at "Kodomo no Ie" comfortably under
the detailed guidance of caring teachers.
Yuriko Mitsumoto, September 2008
It's hard to believe it has already been more than 6 years since
my son started going to KODOMO NO IE, including preschool. He is now
in the elementary middle grade class.
When he was younger he enjoyed playing games, which the teachers came
up with and enjoyed origami and different Japanese calendar events.
After starting elementary school, his class made Takuan (pickled
daikon radish) from the radish that everyone in his class planted in
the school garden and they actually got to eat it. At Halloween for
Okashiyashiki (Candy store), they discussed what would bring more
customers to their store and then they made their own advertising
posters together. And they got to be a customer or seller, and counted
For him, it doesn't feel like he's being forced to study. While
using Japanese, he experienced different activities. In addition to
Japanese language and culture, he is also learning and being exposing
to many things from various points of view.
He enjoys going to KODOMO NO IE every Saturday and learning without
realizing he's learning. As a parent, I also enjoy learning
something new while looking at what he learned in class and for
I'm grateful for the big hearts of Encho-sensei and the
teachers. Thank you.
Mikiko Haneji, October 2008