Friday 14 May 2010

A few snippets about yochien....

Well, Ebi-kun has settled in well, this is his first full week on full days and he is loving it. The main reason we decided to send him was for the social aspect, there are next-to-no kids in the area that are not in yochien at his age so he had no playmates during the week, we also wanted him to be prepared for school and yochien life helps with that too. Not the educational side more the rules and how things are done in Japan side, that I can't teach him.

One of the things that has surprised me is his eating, although he is VERY adventurous with his food - he will try ANYTHING you put in front of him, he is also a very slow eater and I was worried about this. I was worrying for nothing, he has started eating much quicker, he says that he is never last in class! He is also eating quicker at home too. The first couple of weeks they had the older kids serving the food, I think the idea is for the new ones to see how the routine goes and to get used to eating there. All the food is prepared on site except for rice or bread which the kids take from home.

Yesterday was the first day they had to serve themselves. Some of the kids and the sensei go to the kitchen to collect the food, drink jugs and bowls.
In the classroom they set up the table and chairs, each kid gets a metal tray so they put their own homemade mat on the tray* Then they go to the sensei and she asks if they like the food that she is serving, if they don't she only gives them little bit but they still have to eat it all, they also get fruit and a small yellow, lemon sweet (took me quite some time to figure out that it was a cod liver oil capsule!). They get out their own cups and I think the sensei serves the drink which is green tea (apparently Ebi-kun asked her if it had caffeine in it and whether it was OK for kids to drink LOL). When they have finished each kids cleans up and washes their own bowls/bento box and tidies everything away and then they all brush their teeth.

*remember I had to make all the bags and bits, many of them are a required size, this is why!

So far he has liked everything they have served, from the top of my head he has had, curry rice, niku-jaga (beef and potato type stew), spaghetti with meat sauce, chicken and vegetables and  chikuwa and cabbage all 'proper' food and no junk. There is only one day when he came home and said he didn't eat it all and that happened to be the day before he fell ill and he said the girl serving gave him too much.

I know some yochiens give out sticker rewards or stamp your hand if you eat everything but that doesn't seem to be the case, I asked Ebi-kun what happens if you don't eat it up and he says everyone just eats it all! I imagine there are pickie eaters in the class, maybe the no fuss, no nonsense, no rewards attitude of the sensei works - who knows! Or maybe the kids are all starving come lunch time, they have no mid morning snack.

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