Friday was observation day at the yochien. The kids have free play time until all the buses have arrived, when they first get to the yochien they go and say good morning to the menagerie of animals and to the god at the shrine, put their bags away, take their jacket off, go to the toilet and then then can play. At 10am the sensei gathers their class and then everyone does the morning taiso (exercises) which includes running laps of the yard to the can-can being played over the loud speaker. Then they go inside, toilet, wash hands and get ready for whatever sensei has decided they are doing.
This year Ebi-kun is learning how to write hiragana (the first of the 3 Japanese scripts). It was interesting watching sensei, this yochien has a reputation for turning out kids with nice hand writing so the method must work!
After writing practice the kids got out their crayons and sensei put a box of snails on the table for the children to study. A couple of weeks ago they were studying turtles, the children get to pick them up and look at the closely.
They also go down to where the birds are kept and draw there, they have a parrot, peacocks, chickens, ducks and swans! Then later in the year they go out and study cows, it is a great way for them to improve their drawing skills and learn about the animals.
After all that it was time to tidy up and the parents were asked to go down to the hall and make paper flowers - we seem to do this everything we go! I imagine these are for the festival next week. I snuck back up to see what they were doing and the kids were playing a game with hajiki (flat marbles). At noon there was a lot of comings and going in the corridor, the children were collecting the lunch from the kitchen. They take it back to the classroom and then sensei dishes out the hot food but a couple of the children are appointed servers and take the bowls to the table.
On the menu was haiyashi, similar to beef stew (anyone form Stoke, the dish tastes just like lobby which was one of my school favourites) and they take in either rice or bread, fruit for pudding and a cod liver oil tablet. The drink is mugi-cha (barley tea).
We left as the children were finishing off, they have to clean up and take everything back to the kitchen and then brush their teeth, once they have done that they can go out to play. I'm not sure what time but at some point there is an announcement so the kids have to go in and collect which ever bags they need to take home and put their jackets on. They sing some songs and then it is home time. The kids who catch the late bus have some extra playtime. This day was so hot! there is no aircon at the yochien but a nice breeze blows through as they have all the windows and doors open, there was a fan in the class, just above sensei's piano! It is no wonder he comes home a stinky sweaty mess each day, I couldn't wait to go to the cafe for lunch so I could sit in a cool space, I am such a summer wuss.