Pray for Peace
We can feel the depths of autumn in the colors of the leaves on the trees, the blue of the sky, and the acorns in the park.
In the daily scenes of children, we can also sense the passage of time as they have grown from spring to fall over the summer.
We believe that early childhood is an important time for children to learn many things in a safe environment, such as developing a sense of trust in those around them and building an unshakable sense of self-esteem and self-respect through repeated experiences of playing to their hearts’ content in accordance with their interests.
Today, in many parts of the world, sad wars are taking place that challenge the dignity of the individual. There are people there who are losing their lives simply because they were born there. The leaders of countries and groups have their own non-negotiable beliefs and arguments, and it is difficult to condemn one side or the other as being at fault. It is also understandable that people who have had the lives of their family members, friends, and other loved ones taken away from them would want to retaliate against the other side.
Even in our daily lives at YGK, fights and arguments sometimes start because of differences in feelings or a slight lack of mutual respect. In such situations, we do not say, "Yes, let's make up!" Instead, we are there to acknowledge each child's feelings and emotions and listen carefully to what he or she has to say. By being sincere in our dealings with each other, without being conceited or complacent, the tension between the two parties will gradually loosen and dissolve.
For many of the children who gather at YGK, English is not their first language, and many of our teachers are not native speakers of Japanese. In such an environment, it takes more time for children and teachers to build a relationship of mutual trust than it does for those of us with the same native language, and the barriers to overcome seem a little higher. This can sometimes be a strong frustration. That is why the joy is felt many times stronger when they face each other, listen to each other, consider each other's feelings, and communicate with each other. When I see such children and teachers, I believe that this is peace.
I feel a sense of uneasiness surrounding us now. However, I am happy that peace exists here, even if it is small, and I want to move forward step by step, believing that when the children grow up, the world will be a better place than it is today.
The assets of our school are undeniably the teachers, and the parents who always support us. Of course, the protagonist is in each and every child at all times. In order to help them shine even brighter, the teachers value daily communications not only with children but also among teachers. Through trial and error, we aim to provide a better place for each child’s quality learning. I love the serious, loving, and warm gazes of the teachers when they talk about the children, what they learned, the highlights of the day and difficulties we are facing and discuss what we can do to make a better choice for the children.
We shouldn’t forget that there are the parents and families who always believe in and support us, the teachers and staff. When people meet each other, not only good things happen, but there are also many times when we are at a loss as to what to do. There are also many times when we are almost crushed by painful and distressing experiences. But when I look back again and see that each event and encounter is all meaningful, I am moved by the truth of it to the point that my heart shudders.
As the time goes by, I feel more and more strongly that the many loves, encounters, and realizations that each and every one of the teachers and parents whom we have met over the years have been beautifully folded over one another like a geological stratum.
I have learned that people, places, and societies grow by supporting, acknowledging, believing in, and enhancing each other, and that deep love is what truly enriches life.
I am truly grateful that we are able to share so many insights and encounters with children.
May we, as small beings, do what we can to contribute to a world where everyone is loved and respected.
Sleepover at Fujisan YMCA
What is the identity of YGK?
What kind of time and experiences do we want the children and their families to have? We have been thinking about these questions recently.
Seeing the children as they are day by day, discussing among the teachers and staff, and listening to the voices of various people, I have taken a fresh look at our childcare and education.
A place where each child can be nurtured in a deep, warm, and abundant love. A place where each child can be nurtured with the talents God has given them. A place that is like a second home to which one can return at any time.
We are deeply reminded of our desire to be such a place.
These children are irreplaceable. They are blessed with life with the deep love of their parents and families. When I think about the probability of our meeting here after crossing many crossroads, I realize how precious this encounter is.
I remember someone saying, "It is in our encounters and relationships with others that we are sharpened and grow as people."
Diversity, acceptance, and mutual recognition are all very beautiful words and important concepts but achieving these goals truly is not as easy as expressing them in words or concepts.
We express our thoughts and feelings to each other, we sincerely listen to each other, we are sometimes conflicted and lost in disagreements, and as we struggle with our problems, new paths may suddenly open up before our eyes. Just when we think we have it figured out, we may lose it again.
We believe that what we can and should do is to help children to develop within themselves the strength to keep struggling, keep thinking, keep trying, and have the courage to ask for help when they need it.
We want to be a warm and loving community where each person can love and believe in themselves and love their neighbors as they love themselves through a rich experience of being loved and respected.
I wish you all a wonderful day.
Going Through the Various Emotions
“A-san didn’t sit with me.” “I tried to help A-san because B-san was angry at her.” “I don’t want to play with them any more!”
To Learn and Grow is...
We had the YGK Science Club Winter Course.
We had two different courses according to their ages, Kinder and Elementary. We decided to choose the same theme for both classes.
The theme for the 1st day was “The Apple Boat”. We sliced an apple and made a boat from it.
The children of Kinder class enjoyed exploring their apple slices with their senses of sight, smell and touch.
Then, they put a sail on it using a toothpick and a piece of paper and put the boat gently on the water.
Will it float? Or will it sink?
Some friends started poking holes on their apple slices with a toothpick.
Will it float or sink this time?
The children are encouraged to follow their curiosity at the Science Club. We try not to stop them as long as it is not really dangerous so that their exploratory minds develop freely.
Let’s see how the project worked in the Elementary Course.
The children decided on their own design, made their boats and floated them on the water in a basin. Soon, they started assuming the water in the basin as the sea.
Some children said, “The real sea water is not as clean as this water.” They started cutting paper into small pieces, putting them in the water. They also dissolved paints in the water.
Knowing that, my heart hurted, as someone born before them.
When children think of the sea, the polluted ocean is the first thing that comes to their mind.
Children are looking at the world with their clear eyes and minds.
This makes me think about what we can do for the sake of the happiness of the future generations….
To return from the digression…
The goal of YGK Science Club is not to cram children with scientific knowledge.
It’s a wonder. Why does it happens? I feel excited. How about doing like this?
Our belief is that these feelings or impressions are the key to fostering children’s self-learning skills.
We are not aiming for simply cramming them with English as well.
English is a tool of communication. We want them to know the pleasure of expressing themselves and connecting with others.
Our goals are to help children to become able to love themselves and care for others, find their likes or interests, enjoy the diversity and increase their willingness to learn by themselves.
Our Dream Camp Site... and Gratitude
The K3 students of YMCA Global Kindergarten usually visit Mt. Fuji YMCA to have a sleepover in September.
However, due to this prolonged COVID situation, we had to cancel this special occasion. It was definitely a hard decision for all of us.
So, we decided to have a day camp in the classroom instead. This is because the children have been quite into camping after the summer break.
The class started to discuss what they wanted to do for this program. Based on their ideas and requests, we set up tents and a campfire… no worries, of course, we didn’t make a real fire in the classroom!!
They were busy making fishing rods to get food, decorating their tents, roasting marshmallows and fish on the campfire, etc.
As we were having so much fun, the time literally flew by so quickly. Before we realized it, it was already time for dinner.
We had a very special, miraculous and tasty dinner!! Our lunch vendor, Restaurant Aquila Volans, had a special surprise for us. They arrived with huge boxes in their hands. When they opened the biggest box, we found a huge fish inside! It was so big and heavy! Hmm, but it didn't look like a real fish… What is this? They told us that the fish was made of salt and something was hiding inside!!
WHAAAAT????? We just can’t wait to see! Can we crack it open?
Ms. A started to tap it with her hand. Hmmm… This is sooooo hard. We need to try harder. How about this time!! CRACK! She made it. She made a crack on it. She then started to peel the salt cover from the crack. What was hiding inside were packages of food. They were still warm.
Let’s get ready for dinner! Let’s sit in a big circle and say a prayer, “Thank you for this special food! Itadakimasu!” The food was so delicious that the children asked for seconds although it was quite a big amount of food!
This definitely marked another unforgettable happy memory at YGK.
We are so thankful for all the support we have received from various people. We know how blessed we are to have such good people around us.
The children are soon graduating from YGK. We always wish that they will grow into someone who not only trusts and loves themselves but also makes others happy, gives a helping hand for someone in need and rejoices with others at all times. And we are quite sure that they are developing in that way, being filled with all the love and support from many people, just like this.
Lastly, let us introduce a message from Aquila Volans. We are totally impressed and blown away by their professional pride. As we have received a baton of caring mind from them, we believe that it is our turn to pass the baton to someone else to pay it forward.
【Special Experience for Children】
The preschool for which we deliver lunches daily are having a day camp for the graduating class and we are asked to cook their “dinner”.
They requested something like this, “We would like to pretend camping and have a special meal around a campfire. It would be really nice to have a big plate and serve them by themselves. But, as we still have to have counter-virus measures in place, please prepare bento boxes.”
We understand the teachers’ feelings.
We can tell the teachers wanted something very special that can be memorable for the children.
We do understand it.
Hmm, this is the time to show our wisdom with our 26-years of experience as restaurant managers.
As they requested fish for the main dish, we chose “White-fleshed fish and mushrooms with cream sauce baked in paper”. We made small portions of them and covered and baked them in a salt crust.
You will definitely be amazed!
We usually put meat or fish inside a salt crust.
Not only will it prevent infections but also liven up the party and become a cherished memory.
The total amount of salt for this special meal was 5 kg!!
As one of their neighbors, I thought like this, “It’s about time for them to start eating. I hope they are enjoying their meals…”
Just recently, we discussed and shared our beliefs with all the staff of our restaurant.
Our belief is that,
“We do not scrimp on.”
As professionals, there are quite a lot of things that we can do.
Some people may make excuses to avoid doing this. But the only thing that we need to go all out is to have “a little bit of extra time”.
It’s just “a little bit”.
When we put “a little bit of extra time and effort”, we are blessed with memorable moments in return.
We may miss something precious if we are stingy.
I often talk to the staff members like this, “It may seem that we have no benefits at all or even we have to lose more than we gain. But let’s look carefully beyond it. You might see some other aspects.”
We could see “Happy and Big Smiles” in return and that’s more than enough for us!
A Big Smile of ”I did it!"
YGK Joey class is our youngest class at YMCA Global Kindergarten. The Joey children are growing at a tremendous speed every day or even every second.
They went for a walk on a warm sunny day. After a while, everyone came back with big smiles on their faces. Some friends are happily singing. I bet you had a great time at the park.
So, what are we going to do after coming back from the park?
…Yes, you are right!
We need to change our shoes!!
One child was struggling with his shoes. Putting his heel in his shoe is the challenging part. His class teacher sat next to him and calmly encouraged him to take on a challenge. She believes he can do it.
The child has been working hard for quite a while. But, finally… he made it!
SMILE! …Oh, how I wish I could get a photo of this big moment!!!
I know how proud you are of yourself not giving up and doing it.
Seeing each child grow at their own pace day by day, or moment by moment, is purely our joy. We appreciate all your support and trust. It’s such a great thing that we can always share these joyful moments with each other.