Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sweet Potatoes

My daughter came home with a balled up piece of newspaper painted purple and with her name stapled onto it. This craft, as it turns out, is a さつまいも, or Japanese sweet potato. The sweet potatoes in my pantry are orange, but the ones in Japan are purple on the outside and white on the inside. In the fall, sweet potato vendors can be found in neighborhoods in Japan ringing a bell and selling roasted Japanese satsuma-imo, and people come-a-runnin. Kind of like the ice cream man.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What's gonna work? Teamwork!

One of this month's goals in preschool is to "be thankful for the work of others that benefits all of us." The children are learning an important tenet of Japanese culture - teamwork and reliance on one's "group." Children are transitioning from relying on their parents to working their peers and within a group to solve problems. According to an article in the journal Association for Childhood Education International, "the Japanese consider overreliance on the teacher and refusal to participate in group activities to be much more serious behavioral problems than hyperactivity or fighting." That's right, hyperactivity and fighting is OK (up to a point), but refusal to help clean up, sing songs, or decorate for the festival is NOT OK. I love getting emails about your reactions to these things, so tell me ... What do you think?