St Columba's Primary School introduces Japanese language

 CULTURE: St Columba's Primary School pupil Stephanie, 10, dresses up for the school's Japanese Day on Friday. Picture: Lachlan Bence

CULTURE: St Columba's Primary School pupil Stephanie, 10, dresses up for the school's Japanese Day on Friday. Picture: Lachlan Bence

FOR the first time in its 105-year history, the Japanese language is being taught at St Columba’s Primary School.

To mark the introduction of the new subject this year, the Lydiard Street school held a Japanese Day on Friday, which featured a range of cultural activities.

St Columba’s Primary School Japanese teacher Erica Wilson said the event, which involved the school’s 309 pupils, celebrated Japanese culture and Australia’s connection with it.

“To introduce Japanese into the school communinity, we decided to have a Japanese Day and invite the community,” Ms Wilson said.

“We had lots of different cultural activites, including origami, making art work and learning about sumo wrestling.

“We had a shared lunch of sushi, which families attended.”

Pupils and staff dressed up in Japanese style, which included sumo wrestlers, samurais, ninjas, Pokemons and Hello Kitty.

The Japanese traditional garment, kimono, was popular among pupils and staff.

The children spent the day in their ‘kaziku’ (family) groups learning about the Japanese culture and participating in Japanese arts and crafts.

“Children got to mix with each other, they got to know each other more and meet new friends,” Ms Wilson said. 

Eight martial arts experts in their own field gave a demonstration, which the pupils found interesting. The experts then discussed their practices with the children.

Ms Wilson said the school decided to incorporate the Japanese language into its curriculum because many pupils would go to secondary schools that taught it.

“A lot of high schools teach Japanese. We looked at what schools students were going to in the future,” she said.

“The large majority of students were going to high schools that teach Japanese.”

Ms Wilson, the sole Japanese teacher at the school, will teach the language to prep to grade 6 pupils twice a week.

She said the pupils had already embraced the new subject and enjoyed celebrating Japanese Day with the school community.