Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kindergarten Sports Day

I spent about a half an hour at the Mifumi Kindergarten Sports Festival yesterday (rescheduled from Saturday). Lots of children... 130? Lots of parents and grandparents and siblings. And in the case of THIS kindergarten, lots of 6th graders!

The Sports Day takes a lot of preparation and a lot of equipment. The children are introduced individually and stand on a simple "podium" of sorts. They do relays and dances and chalk lines are drawn in the dirt so the children know where they are to stand or run etc. There are balance beams and walls and ladders to climb, nets to crawl under. There are costumes and balls and tunnels and drums. About 30 teachers do the directing and guiding (inevitably some child doesn't know which way to go) and comforting (some skinned knees) and running to the bathrooms ("I've got to go NOW!") with a little one who can't wait. The 6th graders are the equipment team and they are responsible for the muscle work of carrying equipment and drawing lines and setting up the next event. They are all alumni and are invited back to help, given box lunches and introduced to the crowds. The Sports Festival becomes a sort of class reunion for them!

Another interesting rule of Mifumi Kindergarten is that the parents aren't allowed to take videos of their children. Most Sports Festivals have parents following their child around with the video cameras and in some places it looks like a televised interview with tens of parents vying for a good shooting spot. Mifumi asks a professional video photographer to set up cameras and take a video of the day but parents are asked to watch their child NOT through a video camera lens. (Cameras are okay.)

All the flags were hand painted by the children as were their t-shirts. Most of the music for the various events is live too. That teacher is looking out a window over the piano watching the progress of the events and playing fast or slow according to who's up for the next event. (And don't you like the baby hanging on the young mother's back?)

Kindergarten Sports Festival bring back some of the best memories of my children's younger years.

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