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Part2 Educational Reform Q&A
Q28: I am thinking of creating a school where children,local people and teachers can freely participate using school buildings on Saturdays and Sundays,which are school holidays.Is it possible?

A:Such a school can be designed with creativ-ity and innovation.

Schools are the most familiar facilities for chil-dren to use.In addition,since they have facilities that can be used to provide a variety of activities and programs for children,it is important to use them extensively for purposes other than school education.For example,Shizuoka Prefecture conducts the"Fuji Leisure Club"to support extracurricular activities for children,mainly on holiday Satur-days.It also aims to support the creation of open schools using schools as centers for activities.At the Club classes in a variety of formats are provided in areas such as computers,sports,hands-on experience of nature,handicrafts,ex-periments and observation,and games such as go and shogi(Japanese chess),that children can choose and participate in freely by themselves to match their interests.The instructors are not limited to elernentary,lower and secondary high school teachers.The Club works to ensure a wide variety of ordinary local people with skills and experience as instructors.This gradually increasing use of schools by local people is very important in deepening under-standing of schools and increasing the awareness of schools' role in raising children together with households and the local community.In light of the importance of opening schools,the Minishy of Education,Science,Sports and Culture(MESSC)takes measures such as the Open Classroom Project to encourage the use of school facilities on weekdays as well as weekends.

Open Classroom Project

This opens the educational functions and facilities of elementary and lower secondary schools,which are the closest educational facilities for local people,to the community,It provides a place for children to enjoy educational activities together as well as a variety of learning oppor-tunities for local people.

[Proj ect examples]

Local performing arts activities,ceramics classes,observation of the constellations,folk tale classes,English classes,computer classes,cooking classes for parents and children,etc.

Creating a School with the PTA

Recipe:PTA-style enjoyable classes

Cooperation between teachers and parents(if either of these ingredients is missing,you won'tbe able to make the recipe)
School buildings(anything available is just fine)
Involvement of local people(preferably people with as varied experiences and knowledge as possible)
Children's autonomy(motivation is important)

How to Make:

1.Establish an Executive Committee

<Cooking tip>

The PTA will serve as the core of the Committee,but plenty of local people should also be included

2.Borrow an entire school building during a holiday

<Cooking tip>

If you explain clearly how delicious this recipe is,the school should happily lend its facilities.

3.Recruit people who would like to teach something at school(They can be teachers,par-ents or children).

<Cooking tip>

This will determine how the recipe turns out.Anything is allowed.For example,we suggest something like"XX Town:Then and Now"by the old man from the tobacco store who has lived in the town since he was a child;the"Seven Wonders of the Underwater World"by the coffee shop owner who goes diving around the world in his holidays;or"Let's Hula!"led by teacher A who is usually very daunting and does hula dancing for a hobby.

4.Make a timetable showing in what session and where each activity will take place.

<Cooking tip>

If you don'tdo this well,you won'tget many takers.The important point is how well and easily you can explain the flavor of what' s on offer.

5.Invite local people and children to participate

<Cooking tip>

The participation of a variety of people,whether with their families,friends,neighbors or on their own,will add to the mix.

6.Teachers and parents join together to run the event.

<Cooking tip>

Don'trelax yet.Run the event by clearly deciding the division of responsibilities.It might be a good idea to include a compensation system such as volunteer insurance.The specific method is as above,so everyone should think about"flavorings."Also,the in-dividual"tastes"may change.

Teachers who have tasted this recipe will serve up even better offerings(enjoyable les-sons)than before at school.Parents and local people will also become more familiar with the school.This is something everyone should try!

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