Amongst all of the learning clubs that we provide, we have our extra-curricular activity Japanese that runs in Walker Technology College every Monday led by our Japanese lover and speaker Danielle King.
There is always a first time for everything, and the Japanese outing we had last week was definitely a first for our 8 children and young people from Walker Technology who got the opportunity to order traditional Japanese food for themselves and a parent, followed by Kodo One Earths show at the Sage Gateshead.
Success4All open up a wide range of opportunities and chances to the children, young people and families in the community. We believe that the key to engagement and attainment in learning is to not only encourage it outside of school, but provide them with life experiences that will support that. The communities where we are based are very culturally diverse which we enjoy to celebrate. We welcome any volunteers who have are talented within the languages and support them in setting up a language club.
The Japanese language club allowed us to teach creatively. They have been able to learn all about Japanese culture and history, as well as how to speak and read Japanese. We wanted to give the children and young people attending the club something to work towards, and so arranged the outing where they could use the vocabulary and cultural knowledge that they had developed by ordering food at a restaurant and attending a cultural Japanese show.
For all, it was a first to order food and drink in a different language. One brave student mistakenly ordered the Teriyaki Eel, but being a true Geordie lad, rose to the challenge and found he really enjoyed it. Though all tried, but not all mastered the art of using chopsticks, everyone was happy with their meal – with the unexpected delight of the evening being the fun of the self-carbonating Ramune Marble Lychee drink.
One their bellies were full, the group headed for another life time first – to sit and watch a performance that Japan had to offer. Even with a country and culture that differs from ours, similarities were found as one child remarked “I wasn’t expecting twerking!”, referring to Miley Cryus’s dance craze.We believe that to it is important to not only give the children the support and resources that we have in the learning hubs, but also to open up their mind to different cultures, give them life experience and knowledge the delves past the classroom, in order to truly engage, empower and equip them.
It was also very significant to us to make it an outing that the parents could attend and get involved with as well, it was a pleasure to meet them, and they were all proud in the interest their children had in learning. Even with big cuts in social funding and the financial pressure placed on organisations in the third sector – we hope to continue to give communities access to such opportunities.