On August 20-21, the 3rd “Parent-and-child Hometown-rediscovery Class” was held, which took one night and two days.
JEN is hosting “Parent-and-child Hometown-rediscovery Class”, an out-of-door school for parents and their children in Ishinomaki, with the support of Ishinomaki city, the Ishinomaki City Board of Education and the Ishinomaki Nichinichi shinbun newspaper so that it may provide them an opportunity both to learn the history and appeal of their home town and to deepen the bond between them.
The latest class featured swimming and camping at Ajishima Island, a remote island off the coast of Ishonomaki. Shirahama bathing beach located to the west of the island has a shoal that blazes like emeradls and boasts one of the clearest water in Tohoku region. It was hard hit by the tsunami generated by the great earthquake, but was managed to reopen last summer thanks to islanders and volunteers from across the country.
The weather hadn’t look promising at first, but the sky cleared up when they landed Ajishima Island, the day becoming the perfect day for swimming. Some of the children had hated going to the sea after the disaster, but the sight of the sea before them caused them to jump into the sea with not much time being wasted on warm-ups.
Children called for extending hours allotted them for swimming.
It’s “Shima-no-gatsuko (our Island’s Kursaal)”, an accommodation facility opened in 2020, that the parents and children used this time. It was remodeled from Amicho junior high school closed in 2000 with the aim of promoting children’s sound growth by providing them with a joint retreat in Ajishima blessed with a good natural environment.
The elementary rule of this facility is “Take Care of Yourself by Yourself in Group Living”, and so according to this rule the children determined the roles to be shared by them, prepared dinner and cleaned up after dinner by themselves. Then they enjoyed a firework display that they had been looking forward to, with it finishing the day. They seemed to have fallen asleep quickly perhaps because of tiredness from swimming.
When JEN asked the parents about their motives for joining the class, the following answers came back: “to make up for the decrease in opportunities to play after the disaster”; “my child said he wanted to.”
When asked about “what changes in their children’s behavior they can see”, they made many positive remarks such as, “my child started to show aggressiveness”, “mental damage suffered from the disaster got to be eased” and so on.
The next morning also the children prepared breakfast and cleared up. Compared with the first day, an improvement in children’s independence was evident and so the parents as well as JEN staff members could see the significance in having this event. At the end of the class, everyone joining in the class cleaned up Shirahama bathing beach.
JEN is committed to continuing “Parent-and-child Hometown-rediscovery Class” as part of its efforts to provide an environment where children who will drive Ishinomaki’s rebuilding can grow vigorously.
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