Monday, October 22, 2012

Japan's Shiraishi Island strives to teach Compassion

On Shiraishi Island, an island in the Inland Sea of Japan, the teaching of compassion for all living things to their children has become a priority

The campaign for compassion began when the dean was troubled by the increasing number of students leaving the island to go to the mainland on weekends and swimming in the local pools and the decreasing number of students swimming in the sea, fishing, kayaking, and just spending time playing in nature. 

To begin the movement towards teaching compassion, Amy Chavez was called in to give a speech to the third and fourth year students of Shiraishi Island Elementary School about the nature on Shiraishi Island and having a true appreciation and compassion for everything within nature. 

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She described to the students some of the unique and beautiful sites the island had to offer. She picked the seasons and had the students describe to her what came to mind when when they heard words like "autumn". The students responded with words such as bamboo, chestnuts, figs, and leaves. 

Chavez then taught the students the importance of being in nature and appreciating all it has to offer. She concluded her lesson by having the children each write down what they thought the point of the discussion was. 

Responses included things like "I didn't realize that most people don't see the sun set over the sea in the evenings" and "Shiraishi must be a beautiful place if Amy came all the way from America to live here."  

To learn more about the cultural and diversity taught at Fujimini Island, please click here.
Even after Chavez's lessons had concluded, the school is continuing their project for promoting compassion by having the kindergarten students participate in the raising of animals such as rabbits and chickens. Each grade stretching from kindergarten all the way through elementary school has a garden which the children are in charge of growing and maintaining fruits and vegetables.

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