Maple Street School Teacher Visits Japan
Maureen Chaffee, third grade teacher at Maple Street School, recently completed UVM’s Asian Studies Outreach Program in Japan. After attending classes at UVM to participate in language, history, and culture lessons, Chaffee and nine Vermont teachers traveled to Japan for three weeks this summer. The group visited Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Miyajima Island, Tokyo, and Mount Fuji.
For Chaffee, a highlight of the trip was a visit to an Elementary school where she experienced traditional music, games and Japanese calligraphy and participated in a sixth grade English class.
Chaffee said, “One hears that education in Japan is very rigorous, and while we did see classes that were all lecture and students taking tests, it was wonderful to see the joy for learning that the young students exhibited. They were delighted to host us.”
Visiting Hiroshima and the Peace Memorial Park and Museum was a moving experience for the group. The fourth graders at Maple Street School read ‘Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,’ so Chaffee will share her photos of Sadako’s exhibit and memorial, to which MSS students have previously sent cranes.
“It was moving to walk through the exhibits in silence and significant to note that the message of the museum was not anti-U.S.; it was that everyone should remember this horrific event and there should be peace between all nations.”
Chaffee will weave her learning of Japan’s Creation Myth into her teaching of Egyptian Mythology by doing a compare and contrast.
In addition, all Maple Street School students will participate in a Japanese Festival this fall using resources from the ASOP program that are made available to schools throughout the state. Exposing the students of
Vermont to Asian cultures is a mission of ASOP, as well as a desire of former parent, so it is appropriate that some of the funding for this experience came from the Kiki Janik Endowment Fund. For information on Maple Street School, visit maplestreetschool.com.