Joan Bloom
First grade teacher at
Henry Barnard School at Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island

Japanese Friendship Dolls
Help Teach Students About Japan

Our school has three Japanese Friendship Dolls: Sakura, Kumiko, and Toshihiro. They came to our school last spring. The donor is Ms. Masayo Baba, who lives in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture in Japan.

Three Japanese Friendship Dolls
with American Friendship Doll
Ready to Go to Japan

Our Friendship dolls, Sakura, Kumiko, and Toshihiro, have been a joy. I introduced them to my colleagues last spring. I invited teachers who were interested in learning about and meeting the Friendship Dolls to join me for "Tea" after school. I served Japanese tea, sushi, and a variety of Japanese snack foods. I set up a display of the dolls, several artifacts, a kamishibai stage with a folk tale, and some lesson ideas. I explained the Friendship Doll program and informed the teachers of the materials available for use in their classrooms. From this we formed a committee to plan how best to create a school-wide program and a celebration.

Since September of last year, the three dolls have spent time in various classrooms. Some teachers have had their students assemble maps or books to send along with the American doll we are sending as our Ambassador to Japan.

On February 16, we celebrated "Friendship Day" here at Henry Barnard School. The entire school population wore slippers, as in Japan, and robes to represent kimono or yukata. Our school chef prepared a Japanese meal, and the children  greeted each other in Japanese throughout the day. The school community gathered together to sing songs of friendship and say "Good Bye" to our doll named Hope.

We think this program is GREAT!

Friendship Day Story Written Collaboratively by First Graders

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