One of the biggest events on our school calendar, and for schools around Japan, is Sports Day. Families come together to watch, cheer for, and support their children. Everyone gathers under the hot sun with their folded chairs, snacks, drinks, and packed lunches. Most everyone brings their own tents to have some shade, hoping that they haven’t forgotten anything important, like their cameras or phones to get some snapshots and recordings of their children’s performances.
For our teachers and students, there is so much more to the preparation process than one might think. When the date of the event was set, the teachers had already started having meetings to decide the details of the program, such as: the students’ dance presentations, games, times of practice, and other practical matters. After everything was agreed upon, practice began. As is always the case, good practice is needed for at least a month.
For the kindergarten, specifically, practice is very important. It is good for their growth and development when they move their bodies. They learned how to stay in a nice line and to follow the rules and instructions that we teachers give them. They were taught how to work together as a team and win every game. Practicing their games and dance is always fun for them. They tried their best to memorize and sing along with their dance songs. They liked singing about bugs and fruits.
More excitement showed on their faces when they had dress rehearsals. They got to wear their wings and antennas as they sang and danced. They all looked so cute dressed as little ladybugs, honeybee, firefly and butterflies. For their obstacle course, they dressed as little chefs in colorful aprons. In the beginning, they pulled a big, cardboard pan with a pancake. Next, they crawled as fast as they could through a tunnel. Once they were through the other side, they threw a ball through a hula-hoop. They tried their best to get it through the first time. Lastly, they had to catch a big fish. (The fish that they caught were special, because they got to cut out and design their own fish.) When the actual day came, the children didn’t have any idea that we teachers put some snacks in the fish as a special prize for finishing their course and for all their hard work.
With the joint effort of the teachers, the students had many creative costumes for the dances and props for the games. I think that during this process, each of the teachers revealed hidden talent for customizing props and costumes.
This year is quite different for we held our sports day in October. We usually have it before the summer break. Thankful for the nice weather yesterday and successfully we had it after the cancellation last week due to the typhoon. This time the program was shortened, no lunch together to follow the social distancing policy, games were exclusive for students only and after every game they needed to have their hand sanitizer or wet tissues. Parents were not able to participate in the games, but some alumni students who came were able to join the teachers-students race as the finale game. Both teachers and students were competitive so I guess it was a tie score. The last part of the program was the announcement of the result. And this year’s champion is the yellow team! Everyone had a great fun time!