Today I had a class at one of the local kindergartens (youchien). All of the kindergartens in town are fun, but this one is a special favorite. Not only do some of my good friends in town work there, but the head teacher is awesome!* She went to school in BC somewhere, so her English isn’t too shabby, and they teach the kids a lot of English. Even the littlest ones can introduce themselves in English.
It was my last visit this school year. Next month, the oldest class will join the Grade 1 class. I can tell they’re going to be crazy.
So, in honour of it being the last class of the year, Shuko sensei asked me to think of something culturally themed for the kids to enjoy. Easter may not be for another month or so, but I’ve been doing pysanky in my spare time (much to the chagrin of my shodo teacher – I should be spending more time practicing my calligraphy!), so my first thought was “Let’s paint eggs!”.
I only get 20 minutes with each class though, so that idea didn’t even get past my lips.
Instead, I decided to introduce my kids to one of my favorite parts of Ukrainian Easter – krashanky! For the uninitiated, krashanky are coloured eggs. Not pysanky with their intricate designs, but just plain one-colored eggs. I made mine pink. The fun part is breaking each others’ eggs. The idea is to take turns bashing someone else’s egg with your own, and the one whose egg comes away unscathed is the winner. What little kid doesn’t like smashing eggs? There are 40-some kids at this school, so we decided only to use four eggs in each class. Four kids, three rounds – enough so that the kids can see, but not as time consuming or difficult to prepare for as everyone playing all at once.
It was a great class. We did some more educational stuff to start – some number games and TPR. The krashanky were a hit. The kids were really excited to play, and even just to see the coloured eggs. One of the students even asked me if all Canadian eggs were pink! Must have something to do with me trying to convince the kids that the pink eggs came from pink chickens…
Unfortunately, I managed to forget my own camera. I was looking forward to getting some pictures of these little Japanese kids playing a Ukrainian Easter game. Hopefully the school will send me the pictures they took. I asked for copies, but Shuko sensei warned me that she isn’t very good with a computer. If I get any, I’ll be sure to post them.
* Sadly, I found out that Shuko sensei will be moving to Sapporo next month. That’s another one of my favorite teachers gone! For the record, that will make four (although two of them left/will be leaving on maternity leave).