The children at Kenmore Park are exploring culture and language through the Kindy’s Japanese program.
Please click here to listen to Anne Kelly’s ABC Radio interview about learning a language.
The program, which began in 2012, has proven to be a great success. “What began as an idea from our parent run management committee has evolved into an amazing experience for our children.” Says Annie Kelly, the director of the Kindy “Knowing a second language helps young children to understand how diverse our world is; that everyone is not like them.”
It is the cultural experience as well as the language that sets this program apart. Earlier this year the Sakura Dance Company performed for the children and local community to commemorate World Harmony Day. The dancers wore traditional costume and involved the children in learning the stories told through dance. Later this term the children will be involved in cooking experiences to try new foods specific to the Japanese culture- foods that the children may or may not have had the opportunity to experience in their homes.
The weekly Japanese lessons foster cultural understanding in addition to learning the language. The children learn about traditional customs and festivals such as ‘Children’s Day’ which is celebrated in early May. Ali Sensei uses a variety of games, songs, books and puppetry to engage the children. They embrace each lesson with huge enthusiasm and a desire to learn. Parents and staff are equally impressed, seeing how quickly the children are learning, using the language incidentally in the playground and singing songs around the dinner table at night with their families.
Studies show that learning a second language at an early age has a positive effect on intellectual growth and leaves children with more flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language and improved listening skills, all such valuable assets for growing young learners. Young children have a natural curiosity about learning which is evident when they engage in learning a new language. They are also open and accepting of people who speak other languages and come from other cultures.
If you are interested in more information about this innovative language program or to find out about some of the amazing learning experiences taking place at Kenmore Park Community Kindergarten please contact us on 3378 4469 or firstname.lastname@example.org