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PreK Lesson Plans on Japan

written by: Akili Amina • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 3/2/2012

Explore the very rich culture of Japan with your pre K children or class. Bring the Japanese heritage to your students by teaching them the beauty of diversity at a very young age with the books and activities within this article.

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    Japanese Culture and Life

    Japan is a large island off of the east coast of Asia. You will find mostly Japanese people there, but there are other races such as the Chinese who reside there also. This country is mostly made of majestic mountains and even some volcanoes. The famous Mt. Fuji is the highest in the country and peaks over twelve thousand feet.

    There are three concepts concerning this country that are within this article. They are designed to help the preschool students become more familiar with one of the most ancient of cultures in our society. The Japanese culture has a beauty of its own and they are most famous for:

    1. Origami or a beautiful work of art made with paper.
    2. Most of their meals consisting of rice, fish, and sushi.
    3. Out of respect for each other, they bow as a way to say hello.

    Your class will enjoy learning these concepts that enrich them as a whole. There are suggested activities and books that will help reiterate each of these ideas, and it is best to talk to the students about each concept before beginning the lesson.

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    Books

    There are three great books that you may or may not want to use in conjunction with this lesson. The first book is by a Japanese author who has captured the essence of thos culture in beautiful depictions within the pages of a book titled My Japan by Etsuko Watanabe.

    The second book is called The Way We Do It In Japan by Geneva Cobb Iijima. This book is the transitional journey of a Gregory, who has a Japanese father and Caucasian mother, as the family moves from the United States to Japan. This book will introduce the culture shifts made by the main character allowing the students to experience it along with him.

    The last book is titled The Samurai Cat (Marco: The Manx Series) by JoAnn Roe. This book is based on a cat that stood up to a bully dog and was named the Samurai Cat. The illustrations are captivating and the verbiage is well written. Any of these books are great suggested reads for this prek lesson plan on Japan.

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    Activities

    • Origami Crane - You can use the instructions on creating an origami crane that is very easy teaching them the basics in this ancient art created by the Japanese.

    • Desert Sushi - Ingredients: You will need a variety of Fruit Roll ups packages, Rice Krispy Treats, and toothpicks. You will need to open up the fruit roll up leaving the plastic wrapping side down on the surface. Microwave slightly to soften the rice krispy treat and spread it over the fruit roll up. You will need to roll another flavor of fruit roll up lengthwise and cut it for the filling. Place the filling on one edge of the layered fruit roll up and begin to roll it close. Place a toothpick in it crossways to hold the dessert sushi together, and these treats are ready to eat.

    • Greeting - Demonstrate the way that Americans usually greet each such as shaking hands and waving hello and goodbye. Demonstrate to the children the way that the Japanese usually greet each other as a sign of respect. Show them how the Japanese usually bow with their hands clasped when they greet family and others. Talk about the differences, and have the children show you an example from each culture.

    This lesson plan should bring a taste of Japan to your students and classroom. This lesson should help them learn that our globe is so marvelous in that we have many different people from diverse backgrounds. They will be sure to benefit from learning early about the various cultures we share on Earth and from the Japanese especially.