Precious Life in Ponds, Streams, Rivers and Lakes

IT WAS A WARM SUNNY DAY, a perfect day for the culmination of the month’s theme. Lessons and activities in the month of May centered on living things in fresh water.

Classrooms were decorated with children’s work – multi-colored fish big and small, imaginary marine lives, sparkling lakes, flowing rivers and gurgling streams. They learned to be thankful for the food from these bodies of water and to understand the importance of taking care of living things and nature.

A fieldtrip to a farm was the ideal activity to further enrich the month’s themed lessons. We visited the Shinpatake Farm in Funabashi City to do crayfish fishing. The farm’s pond was large enough for hundreds of crayfish. The children also had the chance to pick flowers to take home for mommy, daddy and grandparents.

It was the first time for everyone to do crayfish fishing, so the excitement was very high. Each child had a fishing pole and line and stood around the pond unsure to catch anything, so there were shrieks of joy every time a crayfish held on to the bait and was placed in buckets. Close to a hundred crayfish were caught. The champion crayfish fishers were 3-year old boy Akira Takiguchi (total 14) and 4-year old girl Yuzuki Nishizawa (total 19).
The children understood that each class was to choose only one to keep as a classroom pet and the rest would be returned to the pond. They said thank you and good-bye to all the crayfish not chosen as pets as they were set free again.

The classes have had several lessons on how to take care of their pets prior to the trip – feeding, cleaning and changing the water. The chosen pets are now in the homerooms. They even have names decided by each class. Every morning the children say hello and hi to Rexy (Kai Class), Mimichan (Kuahiwi Class), CLERCK (from the initials of Makani Class pupils) and Kroppy (Lani Class).

Last stop of the fieldtrip was the flower garden section where blooms of all kinds of colors had the children amazed. They were allowed to choose four flowers each to pick very carefully and take home as gifts for their parents. The favorite choices were pink and yellow daisies.

With the children hugging softly their flower bouquets, and the pet crayfish safe in four tanks, we returned to school enriched by the experience and more convinced that nothing could beat pre-school’s learning fun.