kodomo No Ie
Time really flies. It has been 5 years since my oldest started going to Kodomo No Ie (KNI). He is 8 years old now and attends KNI's Saturday class. When he started at KNI, he wasn't interested in group activities at all. Thanks to KNI's teachers' patient efforts over the years, however, he was participating in group activities in the Piano Room by the time he graduated from KNI in Sakura Class.

Parents are allowed to let their children play in the KNI yard after school, under parents' supervision. I often witness that children don't want to leave the yard even when their parents tell them it's time to leave. As a matter of fact, when my son was 3 years old, there were many days I had to carry him over my shoulder like a sack of rice, when I wanted to leave the KNI yard. Since September 2006, my daughter has been attending KNI. Both my children and I truly love KNI where kids can be kids and can play to their hearts' content.

During the arts & crafts time, KNI teaches our children to be creative with recycled materials, such as photocopied papers, milk cartons, and plastic bottles. That's because recycling everything is a part of KNI's policy. Also, children can pet small animals like rabbits and turtles in the KNI yard as well as experience the whole cycle of seeds to harvest of vegetables in the garden, learning how precious life is. In today's materialistic wasteful world of packaged foods, KNI's curriculum is packed with what we want to teach our children as parents.

Through volunteering for the school and at events, I have met so many great mommy-friends whom I can share parenting worries. Needless to say, my stress level and worries for parenting went down with having those friends.

Parents of the new pupils have been learning about Kodomo No Ie typically through word of mouth. We have families who come to KNI from far cities like Santa Clarita and Fontana, and even Torrance where there are many Japanese preschools. When KNI celebrated its 20th anniversary in August 2007, about 50 alumni and their family members flew in from Japan for the ceremony. That is the proof how much this school is loved. Far away from Japan and in this area with limited numbers of Japanese schools, I am truly grateful that we have an ideal Japanese school: Kodomo No Ie.

Kumiko Anicich, July 2008

It's been seven years since I left Japan and my originally-not-so-great knowledge about Japanese culture has gotten even poorer. After my baby was born and she started to walk and talk, I began to worry about the fact that I'd been teaching her random Japanese customs irresponsibly. That's when I learned about Kodomo no Ie.

The teachers at KNI teach my daughter what to do for New Year's, Setsubun, Tanabata and everything else in Japanese, while I enjoy freedom from the entire burden. The preschool is full of good values such as thriftiness and recycling which are not deemed too important in the U.S. where resources are abundant. KNI even has rabbits and the children are encouraged to talk to the vegetables they are raising. What American school can you expect to teach the idea that everything has its own life?

These are some of the reasons why I appreciate how Kodomo no Ie helps me raise my daughter who will naturally start to search for her Japanese identity.

Tashi Ohnsman, October 2008