Tenri School of Japanese Language
There are many Japanese language schools in
New York City. There are schools that offer the same curriculum as Japan
for children who are going back to Japan in two or three years. There
are schools that cater to children born and raised in the US who have
a better command of the English language than the Japanese language, and
there are schools aimed at children without any Japanese backgrounds but
are interested in learning (the language). Since each school has different
goals and differs in the students’ progress, curriculum, and homework
routines, we as parents must make a decision on what school to enroll
our children in when they reach the respective age. When both of my American
born sons reached the age to enter kindergarten, I chose Tenri’s
Japanese Language School.
Besides the Japanese Kokugo textbook, tongue twisters and shiritori are
also taught to help students remember Japanese. The first thing they learn
is the AIUEO song with the same melody as the ABC song. My sons often
sing the AIUEO song. There are also annual events parents and guardians
are encouraged to attend. Every week, after returning from Japanese school,
my children tussle with their homework, even though the homework only
includes two sheets of Kanji practice and three journal entries. In Japan,
these Kanji are learned in lower grades; however, it is especially difficult
for children growing up in a primarily English-speaking environment.
In other Japanese language schools, I have heard that many children often drop out because it is too difficult. However, in Tenri Japanese Language School, everyone is looking forward to their class every week. (Of course they do not particularly like tests…).
One disappointing factor is that every two years the teachers return back to Japan. It is sad for the students and the parents when the teachers we have become close to leave. Of course we also look forward to meeting the new teachers coming from Japan every year, but I feel it might be nice to have them for at least three years.
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