International Dis-education?

Yesterday was parent-teacher conference day at the preschool. I was at work so Emiko went. In short, daughter Eli is fine. But son Yuto (and his parents!) have a few habits teach is not too pleased about. We arrive at preschool usually at about 9:15 or so. Doors open at 8:30, and we should arrive by 9:00. But it is a battle to get kids out the door, especially when son is testing about not having to go at all. Further, since I get home from work after everyone is asleep, I appreciate our relaxed mornings, breakfast together, conversations. Teacher says that this is just Father being selfish(!) and that it is more important for Yuto to arrive ON TIME, so that her schedule is not compromised.

That’s OK. Though I don’t appreciate the editorial, I can set the alarm earlier and arrive at school half an hour earlier.

But, that’s not all. They want Yuto to stop using English words at preschool. They say it is for “his own good” to learn in Japanese only. Apparently, they have corrected his English to Japanese several times (”no, not ‘bucket’, BA-KE-TSU”; “not spider, KU-MO”) etc. This may explain why Yuto asks everyday if he has preschool or not. I sure don’t think a 3 year old boy should have to look at someone’s facial expressions and consider the situation before he decides which word to use.

Emiko was angry about this development, too. We agree that they are denying a part of his identity when they refuse to respond to his English. And what a shame. They have a great ambassador for English education in their midst (Yuto, not me), but instead of saying, “Oh, a SPIDER! That’s how to say it in English?” They completely are shutting this part of him out.

Emiko says, “maybe we should think about changing preschools,” but Yuto already has a great group of friends where he is.

In a good development, Emiko’s mother fully supported her and her grandson, and told us to fight for Yuto’s RIGHT to express himself as he saw fit. That made Emiko happy. Also, the I CAN member’s reaction to this story was great.

Yuki, who at 14 has yet to calm down, and is usually bouncing off the walls from his diet of fast food and video games, and seldom has a serious word, says, “That really makes my heart hurt.” I looked to see if he was joking, but apparently he was really moved by this story. And remember May? She surprised me by saying, “Great! Now you can homeschool him at our house! We speak three languages: Japanese, English and Hebrew!”

Funny that you can get understanding from the most unlikely sources….

It looks like we will be continuing this discussion with the director of the preschool….

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