It rains here in Nagoya about every three to four days. I get excited about the rain for two reasons. One is that I am from West Texas, so I am taught at an early age to be thankful for any rain you get. The second is that the rain makes the sandpit in the playground WAY better to play in during Mitsuba.
A couple mornings a week I help out with Mitsuba. It is a kind of pre-k class or nursery. The kids are two to three years old. The first hour of the morning is pure play time. Inside the classroom the kids can play with trains or cars, do some sort of craft or read books. Most mornings I am outside where there is a sandpit, a slide and plenty of free space to let imaginations run wild. I love playing in the sand and creating shapes with the kids. Although it never fails that when we build a semi-sandcastle or make some sort of mold the kids are eager to destroy it. They love building things up just to knock it over. The girls (and some of the boys) are always cooking up some delicious meal that they will eat in the playhouse. I have had too many cups of sandy tea than I can count. There is one little girl that loves to just dance around the yard. When she dances you know that she has to be on a stage somewhere in her mind. It is so fascinating to watch the kids play in these imaginary worlds. When do we lose that sense of freedom?
Many of the boys are too restless to play in the sand pit for very long. When that happens, I somehow always become the bad guy in which ever superhero scenario they are playing. Every morning that I am there I get wrapped up in jump ropes and hula hoops. I am sure that it is quite a site to see.
Once playtime is over we clean up and go inside. Like any preschool we sing loads of songs about animals, rocket ships, and various foods. Even every month has its own song. Since this is a Christian preschool we also say a prayer before we start the morning activities and right before they leave. After the first round of songs and prayers, there is always some sort of craft or game for the kids.
One morning ninjas left letters for the kids that explained how one trains to become a ninja. They had to work on their balance as they walked across a bench. They were given paper throwing stars to throw into hula hoops on the ground. They crawled under a net from one side the room to the other. They were so excited to train like a ninja! Another morning they decorated racing cars that were made out of paper cups and thread- spindles. When they finished decorating the cars they got to race them down a table that had been converted into a ramp. It was so much fun watching their eyes light up when their car went racing down the table.
During snack time the kids take turns wiping down the tables, passing out towels to clean their hands, and handing out the snacks. At the end of the snack they have to clean their tables and put their dirty dishes away. They are taught to share and be slightly more independent than they are at home. In those moments I forget how young these kids are; they seem to be given a lot of responsibility. But being two and three years old it is never long before someone has a runny nose or is crying because they want their mom. I love these mornings even with the blood curdling cries. It is always a joy to see these kids play about without a care in the world.
Here are some recent pictures.
|My bazaar partner and I at St. John's|
|Puppet show at St. John's Bazaar|
|St. John's Bazaar|
|Market of hand-made goods|
|Thats right folks! That is a sledding hill made of real snow in the middle of a park.|
Thanks for tuning in. I hope that you get to enjoy childlike wonder today, even if it is for a couple of minutes.