Mon., Oct.16 Perkins Elementary School

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After visiting Countryside High School in the morning, we visited Perkins Elementary School. Most of the school building were two-storied.

Outline of the School (from my notes)

This is an elementary school to which about 560 children ranging from kindergarten to 5th grade attend. This school is somehow special school called 'magnet school of arts,' that emphasizes art, foreign languages and humanities. Children from kindergarten to 3rd graders learn all areas, whereas 4th and 5th children choose one area.@

The children are supposed to learn writing, reading, social studies, math, science, art, music and dance. Instrumental music can be selected, too. In music classes, 1st graders take violin, 2nd and 3rd graders can choose their favorite musical instruments, and 4th and 5th graders play in a band. A church next to the school is used as a theater.

Since selected children attend to this kind of magnet schools, 20 school buses run a long way even to a house which is 45 kilometers away from school, to pick up and send students home every day.

First we saw a Spanish as a foreign language class for the first(?) grade children. They were learning Spanish using a specially designed CD-ROM. The CD-ROM looked very interesting with a lot of pictures, letters, and moviing pictures with sound.

I saw a Performa 6300's(?) which is not sold in Japan, for the first time.

The children were writing stories with pictures, learning math, or drawing pictures with stories. By the way, prime numbers were seen on the screen of Performa 575, which 7th grade students learn in Japan.

The school has a kindergarten class. The children were playing rather than studying. In Japan, Kindergartens or nursery schools which pre-school children attend to are separated from schools.

In the computer lab, a lot of PowerMac G3's and 17" monitors here and there. I was so envious to see them.

This is a time schedule put on the wall of a classroom.

On the left is a dance class, while on the left are children working hard on drawing pictures.

I was so impressed to see plenty of musical instruments as well as the children using musical instruments so well. I was wondering if we have any public schools in Japan teaching how to play the violin to the children of their age. Also, the stage has fine lighting system which even my junior high school does not have.

On our way back...

Time for shopping was allowed to us when we go back to the hotel. I saw various members were buying various things, for example, cup noodle for dinner, sushi (it is sold there !), souvenirs, or alcohol for the night. I didn't buy anything there because I was shocked to hear that the shipping price for the 140 newspapers in St.Petersburg as souvenirs for my students in Japan would cost even $300-400 by plane ! That's because the thickness of each newspaper are about as 3 or 4 times as the one in Japan, even the price is only 25c. I talked about this with our translator who is originally a Japanese living in Olando, and with our tour conductor. I finally decided to reduce the amount of the newspapers down to 12. But I was happy to see my students were glad to have even just a page of the paper....

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