MCAS Iwakuni service members visit preschool teach children English
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Service members from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, visited Josho Hoikuen in Iwakuni City during a community relations preschool event hosted by the Marine Memorial Chapel, Jan. 13, 2015.
The volunteers went to the preschool to teach the children English, according to Yamada Noriko, an administrative specialist with the chapel.
“I believe it’s best to teach them English while they’re young because it’s easier for them to learn,” said Pfc. Afriecka N. Weir, a food service specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron.
Harada Ayako, a teacher at Josho Hoikuen, agreed, saying she believes children learn best when they are young, especially when using interactive teaching methods like playing games and reading English picture books.
According to Weir, community relations events strengthen bonds between the U.S. and Japan while also building friendship with the Japanese while they’re young.
“Usually, Japanese children are somewhat nervous around Americans when they are young, but things like this get them used to being around Americans and makes the children more fond of them,” said Ayako.
The chapel visited the preschool during the holiday season last year dressed as Santa and his elves to sing and give the children presents, according to Noriko.
“I really do believe the children appreciate what we do for them,” said Weir. “They might not be able to say it because they’re so young, but their actions show it when they give us hugs or high-fives with big smiles on their faces.”
Ayako said she would like for volunteers to keep coming because it’s a great opportunity for the kids to interact with Americans.
The chapel hosts community relations events like this often, according to Noriko.
“I would encourage others to volunteer because it’s a great chance to get off base, meet new people and experience a new culture,” said Weir.
For more information on upcoming community relation events, contact the station chapel at 253-3371.