Japan is especially prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and typhoons. A study published in September 2011 by the Earthquake Research Institute (ERI) of the University of Tokyo gained much attention as it estimated the probability of an earthquake in Tokyo and Yokohama of a strength comparable to the March 2011 earthquake in Tohoku, to be at around 70 percent within the next three years.
A group of parents and staff at Saint Maur International School grew concerned by the evident need to provide immediate professional first aid for natural disaster-related injuries. They looked into the Malteser model of teaching first aid at school. With its practicability within the normal working week and its sound pedagogy, it appeared especially suitable. It was also flexible enough to allow diverse age groups to be rigorously trained in emergency first aid only, for punctual intervention, or for comprehensive first aid.
The connections between French/German doctor Monica Ledoux and the German Malteser organization, allied with Malteser president Constantin Brandenstein and his ancestor Philipp Franz von Siebold, whose wish was to bring their tried and tested first aid training program to Japan, a country for which Constantin felt a certain affinity, led to the start of classes in Japan in November 2011.
And, thanks to Saint Maur International School’s openness to this initiative, six First Aid Trainers were certified in March 2012. Two of these new trainers are from the German School of Tokyo-Yokohama, the first school in Japan to have a Malteser-trained first aid teacher. Since then, Saint Maur International School has been able to offer first aid courses to more than 220 students and adults. By the end of the academic year 2013, Saint Maur International School will have certified over 50 individuals in first aid! The school’s aim now is to stabilize and expand the training program. Several more courses for teachers, parents, and children are in session.
The pillars of first aid training at Saint Maur International School are the integration of four First Aid Units into the 7th grade curriculum and a First Aid Club for middle and high schoolers on Wednesday afternoons. The club prepares students to take a responsible and caring part in the larger world — an attitude much in keeping with the Saint Maur International School philosophy.
In view of the rapid turnover of international parents, it is of particular value to have long-term staff members as instructors, thus ensuring continuity.
Another 12-hour training session for adults is scheduled on the first four Fridays in March from 9am to midday. Interested parties should email [email protected] for information and to sign up. — GILLES GAURY