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Our program provides opportunities for students to develop skills and strategies for language acquisition. The students are encouraged to use their current skills and strategies with their teacher and peers in order to acquire higher order skills via these shared exchanges.
The content is presented to the students using resources that make meaningful connections with their personal world and developmental interests. The content also encourages the students to explore contemporary and traditional Japanese culture.
Our Japanese room has many authentic resources to help our students experience some elements of the Japanese way of life. We have genuine tatami which have been imported from Japan to allow our students to experience and practice the customs related to their use. We have had a purpose built genkan added onto our Japanese room so that the students can experience the procedures that Japanese students experience when entering a classroom. Our most recent addition has been Japanese bamboo and plum trees potted nicely beside the entry to the Japanese room.
Woodvale Primary School has many Japanese visitors each year. Most of these visitors stay for an entire day at the school and interact with our students in the Japanese room as well as the school yard at recess and lunch times. During these visits we play games, have quizzes and participate in Japanese cultural activities with our visitors. All activities are designed to facilitate a language and cultural exchange between the students.
We have an annual exchange program with the Year 6 students from Gunma Kokusai Academy. Woodvale students from Year 5 and Year 6 are eligible to host a Japanese student for two weeks in October (generally weeks 2 and 3 of Term 4). This is a great opportunity for our students to learn so much more about Japan, its language, its culture and its people than could ever be learnt in a classroom environment.
Gunma Kokusai Academy is an English immersion school so the visiting students can speak English very well. This helps the host families with the day to day management of their exchange students.
We are also in the process of acquiring a set of Taiko drums for the school so that students can experience Taiko lessons as part of our program as well.