Monday, October 13, 2008

Sports Day

Yesterday Mrs. Furui and I went to the kindergarten to watch the Sports Day activities for about an hour. Sports Day is a big thing all over Japan and all kindergartens, elementary schools, Jr. high schools, and communities have Sports Day. For the kindergarten and elementary school especially, there is a lot of preparation and practice time before the big day. The children and teachers prepare dances and the parents get involved with making costumes etc. Basically though, there are lots of relays and obstacle course games and tug-o-wars etc.

The kindergarten where I teach English is fairly small but the yard was packed with parents and grandparents and siblings sitting on picnic blankets around the tiny area. There were lots of older kids around too, graduates of the kindergarten who have been invited to come and help during the day and their jobs were to carry equipment and draw lines etc. A photographer was present and a video photographer with various cameras set up here and there (later he will edit the day's videos and the parents have the option of purchasing the video or CD for a nominal fee. The kindergarten policy is that parents shouldn't watch their kids through a viewfinder so private video taking is discouraged.)

Mrs. Furui and I didn't really stay very long but it was fun to see the children putting out their all and all at various events. Reminded us of the days when our kids were doing the same things at this kindergarten and now these littlest ones could very likely be our grandchildren. We are getting to be that age now! Shock!

Here are a few pictures of the children participating in a few events.

I think this is the 5 year old class that is showing parents how they've learned to jump rope. Some of them can really race around the little track! Look at the cute T-shirts that they have painted themselves.

This is the little 3 year-old class and the kids inch along the balance bar and then crawl under a net (the teacher in the background is holding it down) then they climb up on a box and jump off onto a mat.

This little girl is climbing over a wall (board) and it looks like she knows what she's doing. The younger children learn to climb over the wall that is placed on the ground but the more agile kids are very proud at how high a wall they can get over.

I thought I did pretty good taking this picture. The kids climb up to the top of the ladder, stand at the top and then jump off onto a mat. It takes a lot of courage to stand up there on that little platform and I was watching the kids practice last week and there were a few tears and a couple of them got stuck up there. It didn't look like anyone had any problems on this day though.

I know, all these things look so dangerous to me too and I don't think you'd find too many kindergartens in the States that would promote these types of activities but this kindergarten has done the same things for years. At least 18! That's how long it has been since Takumi jumped off the ladder when he attended! I see they are still using the same board that he climbed over when he was 3! Aww! Wasn't he a cutie?


Laura said...

You're right about American kindergartens not allowing children to do some of those stunts! They barely allow them to run these days! I htink it's cute, the t-shirts.

Katie said...

Yes, he's very cute! :-)

Marilyn R said...

I noticed all involved, including the teachers were barefoot. I wouldn't have thought about skipping rope barefooted. Interesting.

Chocolate Cat said...

Takumi is SO cute!!! Loved all the photos of the games. Think we perhaps don't let our kids take enough risks these days!