Among all of the learning clubs provided by Success4All, extra-curricular Japanese classes run in Walker Technology College every Monday led by Japanese lover and speaker Danielle King.
There is always a first time for everything, and the Japanese outing S4A organised last week was a first for 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 opens up a wide range of opportunities and chances to the children, young people and families in the community; the key to engagement and attainment in learning is to not only encourage it outside of school, but provide life experiences that will support that. S4A celebrates the culturally diverse communities where their learning centers are based – welcoming volunteers who are talented with languages and supporting them in setting up language clubs.
The Japanese language club has taught students all about Japanese culture and history, as well as how to speak and read Japanese. S4A wanted to give the children and young people attending the club something to work towards, and so arranged an 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. Once their bellies were full, the group headed for another life time first – to sit and watch a Japanese performance. 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.
S4A believes that to it is important to not only give children support and access to resources in the learning hubs, but also to open up their minds to different cultures and give them life experience and knowledge the delves past the classroom, in order to truly engage, empower and equip.
It was an outing that the parents could attend and get involved with too. It was a pleasure to meet the parents, and they were all proud in the interest their children had in learning. Engaging with parents and children is something which is very important to S4A.
Even with big cuts in social funding and the financial pressure placed on organisations in the third sector – S4A hopes to continue to give communities access to such opportunities.