An English day camp was held on the Kashiwara Campus on Saturday, December 2. The Global Learning Community organized the camp, which was attended by approximately 50 elementary school students from the city of Kashiwara and the surrounding area, for kids to have fun as they learn English.
This initiative was taken in response to the Ministry’s official goal of making English a regular subject in elementary schools from the year 2020. In its third year, the camp is part of an initiative promoted by HATO Project, a consortium formed by Hokkaido University of Education, Tokyo Gakugei University, Aichi University of Education and Osaka Kyoiku University with the support of the Kashiwara Board of Education.
Nine teaching students taught the children at the event. All of the students participated in developing the program while they learned English conversation from foreign faculty members and studied elementary school English theory and teaching methods within the English language teaching faculty. This year’s program had a theme of “Christmas around the world,” with fun ways to learn English, including songs, games, a quiz and crafts.
Children danced as they sang Jingle Bells, they read and listened to English books and participated in a quiz game about how Christmas is spent around the world. In the quiz game, the children were surprised to learn that Christmas is celebrated on January 7 in Russia and celebrated for 22 days in Mexico, in addition to other fun facts about how other countries differ from Japan.
The children commented that they learned about lots of different ways Christmas is celebrated around the world, that the way they thought about English had changed and that they were glad to learn a lot of English. One of the parents stated, “My daughter had a really good time. She made crafts and she told us all about what she’d learned about Christmas around the world. It was a great experience.” Another explained that “it seemed to be really fun. I hope it’s held again.”
Student participant Sara Shudo (third-year music education major) appeared pleased as she explained, “When we put the program together, we made sure that the kids could use gestures to communicate things that were hard to say in English and work together as a team. We rehearsed it many times prior to the event. It was my first time teaching elementary school students, and I really enjoyed it.”