Making a wish was high on the agenda at S Joseph’s Catholic Primary School Broadstairs this week when we celebrated the Tanabata festival (or Festival of Wishes) with 14 Japanese students from Chaucer English Language College Canterbury.
Becoming an honorary part of the Land of the Rising Sun for the day and funded by a generous grant from the Japan Society, our pupils explored and celebrated Japanese culture, food, history and language in a series of hands on workshops designed to introduce our pupils from Reception up to year 6 to the rich heritage of Japan.
The focal point of the day was a cross curricular celebration of Tanabata which our pupils learned is one of the most popular festivals in the Japanese calendar with Japanese school children making wish cards to hang on a specially constructed bamboo tree of wishes. Ranging from “I wish I could have a unicorn “to “I wish I can visit Japan when I am older”, the wish cards were translated into Japanese by our visitors who then gamely answered questions on a range of subjects shedding light on Japanese culture and traditions.
Our visitors assisted in workshops on Kanji writing although everyone’s favourite activity was unanimously the Design Technology workshops on Japanese food where the chocolate banana snacks were a definite hit, many of our pupils wishing that they could have seconds!
The celebration closed with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony where our pupils tasted green tea and leant about its place in Japanese life. As a co nation of tea drinkers, this activity seemed a fitting way to underline the connection and friendship between Japan and England.
We are grateful to the Japan Society who enabled us to provide this additional learning platform for our pupils to look at a country whose heritage and culture are often not featured on the curriculum within School.