Sweet potato digging is a big thing at the ELC—and a popular fall activity for children in Japan. It is a little like the trip to the pumpkin patch in the United States. Our children and many of their parents headed off on a bus to the sweet potato farm in, of all places, Setagaya-ku. They had done lots of preparation in their classrooms before going, including growing their own sweet potatoes in some classes. This is one outing where we often have many dads join in for the digging. All the children dig and dig and dig and then return to school with bags of sweet potatoes that are then measured, drawn, lined up, counted, sorted, categorized, made into sculptures, cooked and graphed. If you stop by the ELC, you are likely to smell the aroma of sweet potato pies or muffins cooking or to see kids figuring out how many sweet potatoes tall they are. Our school is full of potatoes, vines, leaves and roots. A very good thing in a school in a building in the middle of a big city! What could be sweeter?
Halloween at the ELC is also very sweet! We hold a very small celebration, which consists of an all school, community sing along. In their music classes, Mayuka Suzuki has been teaching all of the children in the school the same five Halloween songs, which they love. The sound of the voices of 100 children raised in song is lovely. It was a perfect start to our Halloween Day. (Judy Beneventi, ELC Director)