Y'all. Literally, I fall more in love with these children as the days go by. I'm a female, so I already have a cute quota that needs to be constantly filled to maintain functioning (fewer than 2 'awwww's a day? Cannot compute), and these precious darlings do not disappoint.
This post is going to be a little snippet of the kids' daily life at Mizuho. Perchance tomorrow when all the kids leave for the day and before I get accosted to do anything useful, I'll take quick snapshots of the building itself. It's absolutely gorgeous; woodfloors, bright walls, and windows everywhere. Just like a place that inhabits tiny humans should be. のぶこ先生 along with some of the other head teachers recently took a trip to the Boston area to see how Kindergartens are run in America, and see how Mizuho can be improved. But I sincerely tell you now that...honestly, the reverse trip should be made. I think American Kindergartens could learn a lot from how things go down in Japan.
For one, I know that this may be a bit of a culture gap, but regardless; the day starts off with the kids (impeccably dressed, you'll see this in a moment) looking the teacher in the eye and one by one, saying, "先生おはようございます。" (Good morning, teacher.) It's so simple, yet not only are the kids learning to be polite, but by taking the time to say good morning to their teacher, their relationship is a little more intimate. I can remember when I was a wee lass and having my teacher (Ms. Spies was her name, if I remember) give a general "Good morning boys and girls!" and then moving along. It would have been nice to get a special one-on-one greeting. WHY WASN'T I SPECIAL ENOUGH. WHY.
Anyway. I'll try not to get all...you know. Preachy. Really, I'll try. Hard. Very hard.
RIGHT. CUTE. YOU NEED MORE CUTE.
and are let loose to either run around in circles outside (children in general love this), or play with toys inside. I really can't figure out how all this energy can fit into these little bodies. On my first day, after the teachers explained that I came ALLLLLLLLLL THE WAY FROM AMERICA!!!!! ... : D : D (lol) to the kids, they sort of just paused, stared at me, then ran up to me, squealing and grabbing hold of my hands, begging me to play with them.
All together now:
They love playing with my hair. They're definitely not shy about tugging on my ponytail and feeling the braids. Things get awkward when they ask what it's made out of, so I usually just smile, put my hair in a higher ponytail, and proceed to tickle them. Crisis averted.
I can understand pretty much everything they say, until they venture into baby talk. Now, I'm used to American baby talk; lots of onomatopoetic noises and sentences that start borderline normal then end up in hilarious places. Japanese baby talk? There's nothing like it. I do a lot of smiling and patting on heads when the kids get really into it. But otherwise we're good. They try and teach me vocab that I'm lacking, and in return I offer whatever English I can. I'm not an official teacher yet until sometime in July, so for now I'm taking notes on how I'll run my class. I'll probably use a lot of songs, because these kids.are.musical.
Yeah. That's a mini marching band. I died all kinds of death when I saw the color guard.
The kids love to sing, too. Mizuho has 3 special songs (that I'm going to try and learn all the lyrics to, but it's hard since the kids's version of singing involves screaming on the top of their little lungs. adorable.): a song in the morning, which is about being excited for the school day, seeing all your friends again, and being happy. (wtf awwwww.) a song before lunch time, singing about the joys of food and being thankful (once again. w.t.f. so much happiness.) and a song at the end of the day, which is about saying goodbye to everyone, and excitement about doing this all again tomorrow. Oh, and all these songs are accompanied by a little dance. I'm gonna need to make a Youtube channel, because you really need to see this in action.
Oh oh oh! also, before the kids eat, to encourage patience, they have to wait a little bit before they can unwrap their precious bento boxes. But instead of just sitting and waiting, they all have to pretend like they're resting (read: sleeping, explanation for the first ridiculously cute photo of this post) and the teachers play this cutest lullaby tune as this is happening. Love it. Love all of it. There's always a little cheeky one that peeks while everyone else has their eyes closed. it's really a shame that my camera makes the most obnoxious noise when it takes pictures, because this is hilarious to spot if they don't know what I'm doing. Oh, and they also change into cute little yellow smocks so they don't get food everywhere (spoiler alert; it happens anyway.)
Peppered in with all the cute is, of course, learning (what?). The kids practice writing ひらがな(hiragana) and カタカナ (katakana), two versions of the same Japanese alphabet. The difference between the two is that カタカナ is used to mimic words that aren't Japanese in origin, but have been adopted into the language. Also, to describe onomatopoetic (you have no idea how grateful I am for spellcheck for that word. Goodness.) sounds. After completing a writing practice, the kids raise their hands and random teachers will mill about and check to see how they're doing. You know how in America, we give stars to kids when they do things well? Yeah, in Japan they get curly-q clouds. JEALOUS.
The day ends with the kids dressing back up in their adora-garb (seen here)
GUYS, I'M IN LOVE. DON'T MAKE ME LEAVE.
In closing; today at Mizho, it was the birthday celebration for all the kids with June birthdays. The teeny tiny chairs in all the classrooms were set in a circle, with the birthday boy/girls having seats in the middle, with big chairs next to them for their mothers to sit. I didn't take pictures of this, however adorable, because I had a feeling my creeper-ness, which is at a pretty impressive level when I'm in possession of a camera around the babies, would have alarmed the mothers. Understandable.
What I was able to capture was the little ceremony in the ホール (hall; auditorium if you will.) All the birthday boys/girls from the various classes introduced themselves to the whole Kindergarten (and to camcorder-wielding mommies in the back) and shared what they wanted to be when they grew up.
In the future I'll have mini spotlights for the kids; what we did together that day, their likes/dislikes, and a picture of them doing something hilarious. (these are easy to take.)
:) Hope you're all well. Once I get paid, postcards shall be divvied! \o/