Field Trip Offers Bilingual and Bicultural Immersion for Students of Japanese

By Mari Mitsuhashi-Reilly, Prep School Japanese teacher

 

On February 11, as a part of their Japanese folktale curriculum, the Prep School level 4 Japanese language classes visited the Kodomo no Kuni School in White Plains, New York. Kodomo no Kuni School is a New York State-chartered private school that provides Japanese-style education in a unique bilingual and bicultural environment to young children ranging from 3 to 6 years old. 

 

Each CGPS student translated a folktale into Japanese and created their original story panels for their project. The panel reading is a traditional storytelling method called “Kamishibai,” or paper theater. The students performed readings for the children and answered their questions. Chris O. '20 said, "Reading in front of the students was an enjoyable experience. I liked watching them get excited and scared at different parts of the story and really understand what we were saying." They also attended the school's morning assembly, participated in regular class activities, played games and interacted with the children and teachers in Japanese. They not only gained hands-on experience with the Japanese language and culture but also developed a special bond with preschool students through multicultural engagement. Sammi R. '20 said, "I thought it was a very good idea for us to interact with kids who only speak Japanese because it forced us to think completely in the language."