Celebrating Japanese Culture at Juanamaria Catalyst Kids
By Valerie Kelly & Robin O’Toole
It’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! Our 3rd graders at our Juanamaria center participated in a cultural diversity club this past March and April, where they focused on Japanese culture. The students learned how to write their names in Kanji, the Japanese alphabet. They also played Japanese games as well as bingo while utilizing Japanese symbols and writing system, either Hiragana, Katakana, or Kanji for numbers and colors. Writing blessings is a big part of Japanese culture and the children chose to write their own blessings, both in English and In Japanese, to hang up in the classroom. They even made Japanese fans!
A big part of every culture is the food, and the kids expanded their palate by learning to make banana sushi and using chopsticks. Next up, they’re exploring Japanese Anime art.
This project started with a desire to bring more awareness and appreciation for other cultures. So far, the kids have studied women’s history, Black history, and learned all about Martin Luther King. From there, it evolved into Teacher Mariah asking the children where they’d like to go next. The children had a discussion and shortly after, the culture club was formed, and Japanese culture was the first studied. We’re so excited to see what culture they choose to discover next! Greek, African and Samoan culture are currently some of the top contenders. The children will vote between the three cultures they have narrowed it down to and see which will be next.