from Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute Cultural
Center News, March and April 1997
Japan, a Year of Discovery and New Understandings at Orchard Prairie School
Five members of our staff began preparation by spending an afternoon at the JCC perusing the material available. We then outlined the activities and lessons we wanted to implement into the unit of study. Included in this unit were a wide range of integrated curriculum activities. We feel the scope and depth of our study was immensely greater due to the gracious assistance of the staff at the JCC. For example, cooking became much more authentic; during the study of kites, we used samples from the JCC and all our students' names were written in Japanese by the JCC staff. The JCC staff also came to Orchard Prairie to teach specific lessons. One of the highlights of our yearlong study was the celebration of Hina Matsuri at Mukogawa. Our students were excited about the Doll Festival when we first introduced it through a video tape from the JCC. They became even more excited when they realized that our school would be part of this year's celebration and be a home to one of the Japanese Friendship Dolls.
The enthusiasm to prepare for the festival was felt throughout the school. The seventh graders, with the help of a parent, made an American doll to be donated to the Friendship Doll Program and sent to Japan. What better way to instill a sense of pride and ownership than through such an experience?
The special day finally arrived and over half the school and all the faculty were off to Mukogawa. A sense of friendship, pride, honor and tradition radiated throughout the building. We were greeted by Mukogawa students and presented with Miss Tokushima pins. The program was thoughtful and interesting.
The most unexpected benefit for our students was the interaction at lunch. Mukogawa students escorted our students to lunch. At first it was awkward with different cultures and languages. But what fun to see the group start to talk, then giggle, and the hands move with wilder and wilder gestures. They took many pictures with their friends.
We were fortunate to have valuable resources at the JCC. The materials provided became the centerpiece of our study, which would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and generosity of the JCC.
Our yearlong study of Japan is coming to an end, but the experience and understanding will last a lifetime.
Page | 1927 Doll Exchange | Japanese
Friendship Dolls | American Blue-eyed Dolls