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Challenger K8 kindergarteners take a mock trip to Japan

Ashley Bowerfind, 5, tries her hand with chopsticks recently as she digs into Japanese-style treats. Children in Margie Yurtinus’ kindergarten class took a mock flight to Japan and later enjoyed shopping, eating and learning a few new words.

Photo by PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE

Ashley Bowerfind, 5, tries her hand with chopsticks recently as she digs into Japanese-style treats. Children in Margie Yurtinus’ kindergarten class took a mock flight to Japan and later enjoyed shopping, eating and learning a few new words.

SPRING HILL

Challenger K8 kindergarteners in kimonos (or bathrobes, if kimonos were not readily available) worked their way along the arrows on the floor as they prepared to check in for a mock flight that would take them to Japan.

Margie Yurtinus' students began the boarding process with Challenger Airline's reservation taker, who handed out tickets, priced at $1,200. The next step was a swish with the security wand before reaching the gate.

They moved to the passport check and finally boarded. The airplane was four rows of chairs with an aisle separating them. A table in front became a cockpit. Books were offered to the passengers to help them pass the time.

When the airplane landed, the children exited into their own version of Japan. The first stop was a fine Japanese restaurant. Parent volunteers Kelli Bowerfind, Rebecca Cook and Nicole Williams served egg rolls, Americanized sushi and fortune cookies to children fumbling with chopsticks.

After lunch, the children spent their mock yen on candy with Japanese characters on the wrappers (one yen), fans (two yen), little parasols (three yen) and yo-yos (five yen). "We incorporated math into our study of Japan," Yurtinus said.

The Japanese adventure was the culmination of a unit on air, water and land transportation. The lesson incorporated story writing, finger plays and songs. The children learned origami (for fine motor skills) and some Japanese words, including arigato (thank you), ahayo (hello), sayonara (goodbye). They tried writing their names in Japanese characters.

The children made their yen, tickets, passports and the fans for sale in the store.

"We did learn a lot about the culture of the Japanese people," Yurtinus said. "The curriculum is really strong in what we do, social studies and language arts, especially."

Challenger K8 kindergarteners take a mock trip to Japan 02/16/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 7:47pm]
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