This year's World Teachers' Day on 30 October will shine a light on the tireless dedication and passion of our teachers.
It is just recognition for Asako Kashima and Junko Mackowiak of Caulfield Primary Early Childhood Centre, who thrive on sharing their love for teaching the Japanese language and culture.
Asako and Junko have successfully implemented the Japanese Bilingual Language Program to engage children and provide useful resources to foster learning.
A native Japanese speaker, Junko is passionate about sharing her culture and language with young children, while Asako has worked as a kindergarten teacher in Australia, Japan and New Zealand for many years.
Asako said learning in another language helped a child's development and view of the world.
'It is vital for the children to understand that there is more than one language to be spoken in the world,' she said.
'It makes them so much more flexible and open to other people and experiences.'
Some delighted parents have told Junko their children were communicating better in English since learning another language.
Asako said families told her they were impressed by the language program.
'They have enjoyed their child learning all the wonderful phrases and songs and spent much time sharing these with their family at home,' she said.
'They love seeing children learning a new language and a different culture.'
The centre is one of 10 to receive a grant from the Victorian Government to run the Bilingual Kindergarten Program, allowing children to learn in Japanese for 12 hours per week.
The program provides a smooth transition for students to Caulfield Primary School, which is a Japanese Bilingual School located on the same site as the early childhood centre.
Benefits all round
Educational leader and nominated supervisor Karin Port said having Junko and Asako on staff provided many benefits to the three and four-year-old kindergarten programs, including:
- Collaboration and team teaching between the three kindergarten teachers and co- educators
- Building the capacity of the kindergarten teachers and co-educators to learn Japanese alongside the children
- Collaboration with the Prep teachers and the language coordinator at Caulfield Primary School and supporting children's transition to school
- Providing ongoing professional development and resources for the educator teams working in the four-year-old kindergarten programs.
Karin said the centre received constant enrolment enquiries from parents who were keen for their children to learn another language, particularly as the program supported a smooth transition to Caulfield Primary School.