I work at a very unique school. It’s an international school, although very small. We are an IBO PYP Candidate school. What makes us unique is that we are the international division, so to speak, of a Japanese public school. I see it as an experiment, really, to see what benefits will arise from the arrangement.
Day to day, all of the students play together during breaks in the yard. We have English classes after school and fair use of many of the facilities like the music and art rooms, gym, pool, etc. We have ‘exchange activities’ in which the international students join groups and participate as thought they were part of the class.
Altogether, I’d say it’s an ideal arrangement for foster international mindedness.
Recently, we participated in the school Art Exhibition:
It was an epic event, organized by the Art teacher. Art, Music, and PE teachers in this Japanese public elementary school are not part-time, budget-permitting employees. They are respected faculty and are responsible for coordinating major projects. I approve whole-heartedly.
Our contribution was received very well.
My class made the rainbow in front. It featured a sign which read ‘You can go under the rainbow’ in several different languages and decorated black and white photographs of the students ‘swinging’ from the rainbow.
My role, as conductor, was to moderate discussions and appropriate materials, although most key decisions were made by the student project leader. I think it’s great to watch kids in action when they have time and resources to make something.
I was stunned by many of the works, and also by the thoroughness of the media represented!
This piece clearly expressed the concept of change to me.
The saddest kid in the gallery.
The happiest kid in the gallery.
The importance of friendship and belonging.
I’d put this in my home.
My reflective insight is that we need to give children time to express themselves. Not just teachers, but parents and society, too. Our kids will be overwhelmed, just like us, later. Now is their chance to wonder and wander, so let’s let them!