Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Playing With the Letters

Got a bit of a surprise when I came home, Makoto presented me a flag that he had made after he had come home from school. Japan's NHK E has a program that comes on during the weekends that Makoto is fond of. It's a kid's show of course, but the main thrust of one of the segments is that everything is done with papercrafts. Japan had a long and glorious history of self-made toys. Children would often make them themselves, or have them had made by their grandparents. Nagano, which since olden times was known for its woodworking skills and the quality of its wood from the Kiso Valley, has been working to preserve these old toy traditions. In fact, the nursery school that Makoto attends as a Ojiichan (Grandpa) in residence whose main task, besides to help with the kids, is to make those old toys and teach the young children how to play with them.

Makoto of course has gone hog wild for this whole concept and just enjoys paper craft. Usually our house needs a through cleaning every weekend and I have to spend a great deal of time gathering various paper scraps, cut up newspaper and the like, and getting them ready to go out to the garbage for burnable trash day.

Makoto's very good at creating things, but as with all small boys, he loses interest pretty quickly in playing with them and proceeds to the next project.

Every day after school, Makoto usually bothers Beloved until she finally gives him the ads from the day's newspaper and some tape, he then goes upstairs to chop it up into something. Today he decided to make a flag by rolling a newspaper ad into a tight tube and then tapping a piece of notebook paper to it. It was a typical Makoto craft, but what caught my eye when he gave it to me was that the decoration on the flag, instead of being random scribbles or a face, was parts of the alphabet. Makoto had decided to decorate his flag with some of the letters, capital and lower-case, that he has been learning.

MAONMlCebBD spells Daddy's Happy
The lessons are starting to stick. Not only am I proud as a father, but as a teacher I've gotten my payoff, my student, without being prompted, has shown that he has learned the lessons I have taught him.

I'm going to save that flag I think, I'm pretty sure I'll be looking at it for a long time with pride.

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