Open House of the Japanse School

The Japanese School of Detroit holds an "Open House" every year in fall. This is an event that we invite teachers of the local schools who teach Japanese students in class.

The purpose of this event will be

1. To gain a better understanding of Japanese education and the purpose and activites of the Japanese School of Detroit.

2. To establish further opportunities for continuing cooperation and communication among educators concerned with the education of Japanese students in classrooms.

We provide the local teachers an opportunity to observe the classes and to enjoy activities with their students and parents. We also plan a presentation by American educators who participated in a program called "Educators to Japan" which is sponsored by Japan Business Society of Detroit. They will share their experiences and insights they gained on the trip to Japan which will help understand our students better.

You can read their reports on the JSD Today on our homepage. Please go to Parent Association of Japanese School page.

The Focus at Our Annual Open House

Fall 2008

Keiko Hong

Assistant Principal/Consultant MA LLPC

The Japanese School of Detroit

It is our Open House for the educators of Japanese students. The day starts with lively conversations among children and their teachers in the class: "Mrs.~~told me she is coming here today!", "My teacher is very nice!", "I think our ESL teacher will be busy visiting many students here today". Children are excited from the morning with great anticipation of meeting their local school teachers on Saturday at the Japanese School. Thery are simply excited to see familiar faces of everyday school and feel proud of themselves fo being observed by them learning in their native language. We can say that these children are the focus at our Open House.

There is a period of an open class for visitors to observe lessons. Every child anxiously waits for a visitor glancing often at the door while the lesson progresses in the class. When a child finds familiar faces coming through the door into the classroom, his/her face suddenly lights up with joy. They wave at them, exchange smiles with them or whispers to others "that's my teacher!" There are heartwarming scenes of some teachers squatting down right next to students and talking to them softly.

After the open class, we have time for everyone to enjoy activities together. Children enjoy thier activities that they plan with all the visitors. Some children proudly show them how to make a box with an Origami paper, and others enjoy Japanese traditional games together. It is obvious that they are all so exhilarated. A child, who feels that he/she is just one of many chileren at their local school and who is frustrated with not being able to express themselves in English as much as he/she wants to, understands that the teacher came to see him/her and it allows him/her to get sole attention for that short period of time at the Open House. Some children maintain bashful smiles others enjoy active conversation with visitors.

For a child whose teacher participates in our Open House, one thing seems clear that this is an opportunity to deepen the relationship between a child and his/her teacher.

There are currently about 1,000 students from kindergarten to high school at the Japanese School of Detroit. Some students have just arrived to Michigan from Japan and they are starting their new lives. These newcomers go to an unfamiliar local schools and struggle to adjust their lives at the beginning to this foreign country where everything is new and different. Some have been already living here for a few years and made Michigan their home. These studnets who have been in this country for a while go to the local schools where they enjoy meeting with friends and learning in English. All students, new and otherwise, attend our school every Sat. Most fo them enjoy our school where they can express their thoughts in Japanese, and feel achievements in learning, while others who acquired English as their everyday language started to feel difficulty in keeping up their learning in Japanese.

The Japanese School of Detroit holds our annual Open House every fall. We alternate every other year to hold it at Seaholm High School where students in 4th grade and up attend and at the West Maple Elementary School where Kindergarten through 3rd grade students attend. This year, we are hold it for the lower elementary school students. We invite everyone who is important to these 1,000 Japanese students in their everyday life here .... teachers, counselors, school administrators, ESL coordinators and tutors, who positively affect their lives in many ways.

We hold many meetings prior to Open House to plan it so that we fulfill its purporse of enhancing participants' better understanding of Japanese students as well as expressing our sincere gratitude toward everyone who make students'lives more enjoyable at local schools. Japanese teachers plan appropriate lessons, and many parents actively involve with all the preparations and make every effort to welcome everyone.

We often hear from the participants that it was the great opportunity to not only become better acquainted with children but also to understand their cultural background. Many enjoy the experience of learning writing in Japanese, using chopsticks, wearing Kimono, as well as the exhibitions and presentations. It seems significant for them to experience for the first time to be in the class where they do not understand a single word. They say that they experienced how Japanese studnets feel in their class.

We had this year's Open House today. I hope that every child become the focus shone by bright spotlights. I hope that the happy-ending story was unfolded around every child this morning.

Please check the date of this year's open house with your Japanese children or contact us by e-mail. We will welcome all of you.