Coming Back from Winter Break

Coming Back from Winter Break

Today was our first day back at school after a nice, long, winter vacation.

Each class sat in a circle and talked about how everyone spent their time. Some kids stayed home, others went to spend the holidays with their grandparents, and some kids stayed at hotels or went to attractions.

Before teachers went home for break, we invited anyone to come look at our Christmas lights in front of the school for a small light up ceremony. The lights looked beautiful at night!

Before teachers went on break ourselves, we enjoyed looking back at International Language House Kindergarten (+ Preschool) Christmas show.

Here are the links to both our concert portion and theatrical portion of the Christmas show on YouTube:


Every year, we choose a Christmas themed story to follow along in English as a winter performance. This year, our theme was Home Alone! The story follows a young boy named Kevin who gets forgotten by his big family during the holidays. While everyone spends their Christmas in Paris, Kevin spends it alone and has a lot of adventures!

It was a lot of fun making the scripts, creating backgrounds, and our favorite, setting up the traps for the robbers! Everyone was able to take part in show, giving a sense of pride to the project.

Now that it is time for the new year to begin, our teachers set up our 年賀状 picture to prepare for the Year of the Tiger.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a safe and healthy welcome into 2022!

Wintertime at the Kindergarten

Wintertime at the Kindergarten

The temperatures have dropped drastically, autumn leaves have fallen, and everyone is bundling up under layers and layers of clothes…

You know what that means: Winter is here!

December is now in full swing. We have welcomed in Christmas cheer early this year as we started practicing songs and English lines for our Christmas show on the 10th. The school also has been looking extra festive with our indoor and outdoor decorations.

Our new snowman makes a great addition to the school entrance

Another way we have been welcoming in the winter season has been planting and growing some new tulip bulbs in our garden.

Tulips are a special winter flower. If you plant the bulbs in the soil in the colder seasons, they will be fully ready and bloomed in the springtime. Now is the perfect time to start growing these tulips!

Last but certainly not least, preschool kids came to the kindergarten for song practice leading up to our Christmas show.

For the concert part of our show, the preschool had a bunch of their own songs to perform, and so did the kindergarten. Both schools also shared a performance of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” in between our class performances.

It’s been a great start to the winter months so far. We are excited for our last few days before Christmas break!

Using English in Performances

Using English in Performances

November Speech Day (on Zoom)

The past few eventful weeks have been full of memorizing English speeches and scripts for recent big events at the kindergarten. From the beginning of November, our selected Speech Day kids practiced their speeches every day with the English teachers. We started by reciting each word together and then practiced on the stage leading up the the big day.

On the 25th, we celebrated Thanksgiving by performing a short skit. Jupiters played turkeys, Saturns played Native Americans, and Mercuries played Pilgrims. Each class spent time learning some basic lines, then we performed all together while wearing our specially crafted Thanksgiving hats.

Our Native Americans gathering their harvest

As December approaches, our focus shifts to the upcoming Christmas show. This year’s theme is Home Alone, a story about a boy who gets left behind by his family on Christmas Eve and has to protect the house from burglars. Everyone has a lot to remember, especially Mercury class, so we’ve all been working very hard!

Mercury boys playing Kevin in Home Alone

When getting ready for a big event like these, whether it be a short skit, a speech, or a big holiday show, there are certain things we always work on with our kids.

  1. Getting them able to speak loudly in front of a big group of people
  2. Remembering certain words and phrases without teacher help
  3. Adding the right pronunciation and inflection to what they’re saying
  4. Showing them how to use their whole body for their performance

All these points are what makes a normal presentation into a great one!

We are so proud of our kids at the kindergarten for slowly becoming more confident in their English skills and performance skills!

Recording Memories in Art

Recording Memories in Art

Since our fall semester is so busy, it’s easy to get caught up in all our events and forget everything we have done up until now! In order to properly enjoy all our holidays, we make sure to talk about them a lot both before and after they have ended.

Our favorite way to keep school memories fresh is to draw them out on large pieces of paper. The kids start out by drawing the main part of our picture in crayon. After everyone finishes, we paint the background and let the pictures dry in the sun.

English Teachers will pull each student aside after the pictures have dried and ask the kids for a description of their picture. We then translate into English and write the description for them as a caption.

This month, we drew our memories of Halloween and our fall field trip to Kanazawa Zoo.

Our favorite moments from Halloween were our fashion show and –of course– trick-or-treating! It was so fun to see whose costumes were everyone’s favorite by looking at everyone’s artwork.

Our fall field trip from the beginning of November to the zoo was also so memorable! Many kids loved drawing pictures of the elephants, okapi, kangaroos, and other animals!

Looking back at our recent events, it’s been fun thinking about all the things we have done and seen together as a school.

Now it’s time to look forward to Christmas and other school events!

Leadership in Sports

Leadership in Sports

Every Year for Sports Day, our Mercury class takes on some extra responsibility with our special Sports Day Leader roles. Everyone in the class has a role for a different part of the event. Our 2021 graduating class is the biggest we’ve had, so we have included more leadership positions than last year!

The first leaders we choose as a class are our team captains. Everyone writes on a piece of paper a name of someone (not themselves!) from the class, and later we count all the votes to make a decision. The captain is in charge of their whole team and it is a tough job!

Captains leading their teams during tug-of-war

Alongside our captains we have our co-captains, who are equally as busy-if not MORE- than the captains. Co-captains are also in charge of leading radio taiso at the beginning of Sports Day.

The morning of the big event, all students will enter the field with a dramatic march! Leading the march, we have our drum leaders, baton leaders, and flag leaders giving us a colorful performance before the rest of the kids march in.

Before we get into our games, our cheer leaders take control of the field and lead their respective teams in a big cheer to get everyone’s spirits high! Later in the day, cheer leaders also take center stage during Red and White Team cheer dances!

Meanwhile, our MCs will be going back and forth to the front stage to announce the next event throughout the day. 

These leadership roles not only teach the Mercury class how to connect sports with responsibility, but also gives them a sense of pride as it is their last Sports Day at International Language House Kindergarten. Saturn and Jupiter classes can look up to them and get excited to grow up and do the same cool things themselves in a few years!

Sports Day Next Week?!

Sports Day Next Week?!

The days leading up to Sports Day are getting shorter! As we are getting closer to the competition day, our practices are becoming more often and more serious!

Mercury class has been focusing a lot on their soccer skills and jump rope skills.

Saturn class is focusing on their obstacle course for their class game this year.

Jupiter class has been practicing their animal-themed relay as well as getting used to “Ready, Set, Go!” commands.

Since September, Red Team and White Team have been working on their energetic cheer motions and dances every day.

We have also been increasing the amount of Park Days to also work on our group competitions, which include relay, sprint, and tug-of-war.

Not only are we getting a physical workout, our brains are also working very hard. We have been creating designs for our 2021 badges, practicing Mercury class’ Opening and Closing Ceremony speeches, counting points during practice, and memorizing vocabulary for some of our games.

This year’s badge 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners

With the collaboration of volunteer parents, our kindergarten teachers, preschool teachers, and other volunteers, our teachers are hard at work coordinating every detail for each part of Sports Day.

We are looking forward to next week!

2021 ILH Matsuri

2021 ILH Matsuri

This September, we held our 2nd annual Matsuri event at International Language House!

Last year was such a huge success and we are happy we could do it again!

This year, our matsuri had 5 stations:

Yo-Yo – Everyone grabbed a yo-yo from one of our water tubs outside!

Goldfish Scoop – Whatever kids could scoop, they got to put into their bags!

Snack Lottery – Each kid had a chance to pull a string from a group of strings. The string pulled would decide which snack they got!

Target Game – Each kid would throw a ball into one of 5 hula hoops and got a balloon!

Photo Booth – Everyone took a picture in front of a cute lantern design!

Before going into our different stations, all ILH kids and teachers broke into Bon Odori dance. We danced to two different songs together in the sunlight.

The days leading up to our Matsuri event, each class spent time making full-faced character masks out of different colored pieces of paper. We had so many different characters, including Pokemon characters, Doraemon, Ultraman, cats, etc.!

It was so fun to see all the girls dressed in their yukata and boys in their jinbeis! Many girls had their hair done to look fancy, so boys wore their masks while walking around to each festival station. We were so happy to have preschool kids join us as well 🙂

It was fun for the teachers to think of activities and games leading up to festival day. For the English teachers, we haven’t seen or heard of all the activities before, so it was fun to learn about each one and think of ways to set up our station.

Enjoy our video of the festival on YouTube by following this link:

Leader Board

Leader Board

One of the biggest changes in second semester is having Jupiter class being added to our unique ILH Leader Board.

What is the Leader Board?

Our school goes through a rotation every week, and a few students are chosen at a time to be that week’s leaders. The leaders are broken up into categories: Group Leaders, Teacher Helpers, Room Leaders, Daily Leaders, News Leaders, and Outside Leaders.

Under each category, the leaders each have various responsibilities.

Group Leaders

Lead Radio Taiso every morning and head up the lines

Teacher Helpers

Bring the role call sheet to the teacher, take care of the lunch box coolers, and help feed the fish

Room Leaders

Set up chairs for lunch, wipe off tables, and sweep floors

Daily Leaders

Lead morning and afternoon greetings and Show & Tell, and organize the library

News Leaders

Announce weather, the day, month, and day of month in the morning

Outside Leaders

Water the plants, pick up leaves or flowers, and clean up the sandbox toys

Teachers help make sure each Leader knows what job they have, and give commands in both English and Japanese. This helps Leaders each week to practice using everyday phrases in both languages.

Because Jupiters had all of first term to watch Saturn and Mercury classes take on Leader Board responsibilities, they all should know what is expected of them as they join from second term.

Not only does this help Jupiters participate more in our daily life at school, the Leader Board teaches life skills to also use at home, and brings out a stronger sense of responsibility from within.

Reuniting After Summer Break

Reuniting After Summer Break

Welcome back to second term!

We have been back at school for one whole week now! Our teachers have been so happy to see some familiar faces again at the kindergarten! Some kids have gotten taller, some kids have gotten faster at getting ready in the morning/afternoon, and some kids have gotten new haircuts!

Jupiters have been working on how to hang their uniforms on their personal hangers.

Teachers have also made a lot of changes for the new semester. First, our school also has a new sanitizer station, included with a thermometer to measure everyone’s temperature on their wrist. Second, we have also asked students to make sure they stay home even if they feel only a little under the weather. None of our students have gotten infected up until now, and we intend on keeping it that way while the virus continues to spread.

After welcoming everyone back to the kindergarten, we took some time in our individual English classes to talk about what everyone did over summer break. Everyone brought photo collages and hand-drawn pictures to show their friends what they were up to.

From second semester, many programs are added to our normal daily structure at ILH. Jupiters will be included in Show & Tell and also will be given the same Leader Board responsibilities as their upperclassmen. Project BOB will also be added from the middle of September to help supplement everyone’s daily English learning.

Besides additional English, everyone will be busy getting ready for our various fall and winter events. It may turn into a busy time, but with a lot of support from our teachers, it will be a fun, fast, exciting couple of months!

Stay tuned for more updates this fall as things get started!

Emergency Drills

Emergency Drills

Every month, we practice emergency drills at International Language House to prepare us for any potential natural disasters that may occur during the school day.

Types of emergencies we have drills for are fires, earthquakes, and intruder drills. Everyone acts out the situation as if it were really happening. We allow the kids to feel fear or surprise in the moment since they may feel the same way during an actual disaster, but also encourage them to use courage despite what they may be feeling.

After going through with the simulation, we make sure every one knows the incident is over and have a talk with everyone. Teachers make comments about what went well and what we need to work on for future drills with the kids. We also review some important steps to emergency reactions:

No running!

No screaming or panicking!

Don’t go back inside the school after you’ve left!

If it’s a fire, don’t breathe in the smoke. If it’s an earthquake, put on your shoes and cover your head!

Once we review the rules, we are ready to return to our normal school day.

Every year in September, we conduct a simulation of a large earthquake similar to Kobe 1995 or Fukushima in 2011.

On this day, we display a video of what those earthquakes looked like, talk about it, and hold a simulation.

When it’s time to go home, all parents must come to pick up their kids on foot. This is because if an actually big earthquake comes, the roads and train tracks will not be safe enough to ride on.

waiting to get picked up after our large earthquake drill

The more we practice for an emergency, the more prepared we will be in the future. Here’s to everyone’s safety moving forward!