Approach to Teaching and Learning
It is our passion to foster positive associations of the Japanese culture within the children. In particular, for the children of Japanese heritage, we provide a meaningful cultural and language context through an immersive environment, within which they can develop their cultural identity. We celebrate diversity while cherishing the Japanese culture and community. As a group of educators, it is our responsibility to foster sensitivity, inclusiveness, and respect toward other cultures. In our classrooms, we encourage cultural awareness, the importance of accepting diversity and compassion for others from different backgrounds. We must be the role models for a caring and supportive multicultural community — we must all show the young children how to accept and get along with people of all cultures, races, and religions.
The curriculum is designed to inspire and foster the natural curiosity of the children. Through our play-based program, the children will have opportunities to explore a wide range of developmentally appropriate activities, which includes but are not limited to arts and crafts, music and movement, and science experiments as part of the overall whole child approach. Through the play-based curriculum, the introduction of math, science and literacy concepts is taught in a meaningful and experiential context. We are committed to creating an inspiring educational environment where the children have a joyful learning experience.
We believe that each child is a unique individual learner and that our teachers must understand the individual needs of each child. We use a developmentally appropriate approach to differentiate our curriculum and lessons based on the needs of the children in the group. In our play-based curriculum, learning topics are introduced in many ways and woven throughout everyday activities, but our teachers subtly adjust and change the lessons and the goals based on the specific needs of the learner. Our teachers always make sure to observe and learn about the each child in the class so that we can increase the achievement of all children.
Food / Dietary Education
Healthy food is also a very important part of the Japanese culture. We provide children a wholesome and healthy Kyusyoku (School Lunch) and snack everyday. We integrate “Food” into our curriculum each month, and through these activities, we teach the children the love and appreciation of the foods that they eat and the people who make the food. Our Kyusyoku chef, Natsuko-sensei shares useful and healthy diet information with the parents to encourage them to adopt these values and practices in their homes.
As long as weather permits, we take the children outside everyday. For the wholesome and healthy development of children, outside play is one of the most crucial time and component. In the outdoor play time, children naturally explore more and take more calculated risks. It encourages both fine and gross motor skill development. It is proven that outdoor place creates more neural networks in the brain and throughout the body, and encourages the entire body to become a tool for learning.
At Aozora Gakuen, we care about the environment and our planet. We feel that it is our responsibility to embody a lifestyle with as little impact on our planet as possible. Throughout the experience in the school, we strive to create good habits in the reduction of both the use of natural resources and the creation of trash by taking examples from small things we do in our daily lives. For example: economizing the use of electricity and water, separating garbage for recycling. We encourage to use reusable wet bags instead of single use plastic bags.