Jul 27, 2018

Raising crops and children—another reason I love our local yochien!

When I was dropping my daughter off at her school today, I noticed something pretty awesome: 

Raising crops and children—another reason I love our local yochien! photo

It’s a plate full of veggies that the children had grown (with the teachers’ help, of course) in the large plot of land adjacent to the school.

I suppose one of the perks of living out here in the inaka is that the school is able to offer children the chance to farm their own produce.  

From a practical perspective, this is great way to be able to provide fresh fruit and veggies for school snacks and lunches. It also teaches useful skills to the children and gets them outdoors for activity.

Another thing that the school does that I find very interesting is that they ask each of the children what type of veggie they like to eat. For example, a child may answer, “Potatoes.” In that case, the child is put “in charge” of the potato plants. Of course, all the kids help each other out, but selecting their own crop to tend to not only gives the children a sense of responsibility, but it guarantees that they’ll be able to produce a fruit or vegetable that they’ll enjoy eating once it’s ready for harvest.

Pretty neat, right?

To me, taking the kids out to farm fruits and vegetables and using these methods teaches some priceless lessons—things like how hard work can bear fruit (and veggies, in this case); why you should appreciate food and not waste it; and pride in your effort (since they and the others will eat what they produce).

I love my daughter’s school, and it seems like every day I find out new reasons why it’s the perfect learning environment for children.

Does your local yochien have special activities that you find unique and worthwhile? Feel free to share them in the comments section below!



Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.

Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).