I've been feeling guilty about my lapse in blog writing this year, especially since I arrived in Japan, so rather than sharing a lengthy facebook update, I thought I'd write it all down here. It has been a very busy 2nd semester in Yochien (kindergarten 3-4 yr olds). It seems like we hit the ground running on September 1st after summer break and we haven't slowed down since!
We are in the throws of our harvest/fall/pumpkins theme, as well as preparation for the school Christmas program. With that in mind, I thought I'd give you a little mental snap shot of my morning today. (sorry, no actual snap shot, I'll try to add one soon)
Scene: the first 30-45 minutes of the day is free-choice play for my students. The go-to activities are puzzles, and whatever large group oriented play can be had on the carpet. Lately, it's been floor puzzles completing for space with the interlocking train tracks & station. Since we are talking about farms and harvest (more specifically The Enormous Turnip) I switched out the trains & tracks with a big red barn that opens up, and a variety for farm animals and farmer figurines. I ask if anyone wants to listen to music on our new-to-us ipod speaker. I get one request for Christmas music and one for the "Pa rum pa pum pum song", which I am happy to oblige. After a week of practice for the Christmas program, this is the only part of the song any one readily remembers. The merry music begins to play and the noise level begins to rise and more students arrive and join in the activities. At one point the music background to a lively conversation between the plastic Jesus figure (we've been talking about the story of the Good Shepherd) and a grey-haired, farmer-ish looking fellow on the roof of the barn. I have no idea what the topic of discussion is, since everyone is speaking in Japanese... The animated conversation between plastic Jesus and Mr. Farmer continues until the song playing reaches the familiar point in the chorus, and the child sitting alone at the puzzle table begins sing along,"Pa rum pa pum...PUM!!" He exclaims at the top of his lungs with fist raised in the air. The room falls silent.