Enriching Early Childhood Experiences: Japanese Student Program

Introducing international students into care settings can offer a plethora of advantages for both the students themselves and the children under their care. From fostering cultural understanding to providing unique learning opportunities, the presence of students can enrich the childcare environment in numerous ways.

For the past 10 years Stepping Stones has been fortunate enough to have had many international students do work experience and compete practicum placement at the Service. Our partnership with Sugiyama University in Japan for the last 2 years has inspired our children and educators to delve into Japanese culture and has had a positive impact on our educational programs.

One of the most significant benefits of having Sugiyama University students at our service has been the opportunity for cultural exchange. The children have been exposed to different languages, traditions, and perspectives, helping to broaden their understanding of the world and cultivate an appreciation for diversity from a young age. Our Japanese student program helps children develop cultural competence. Through these interactions, the children and educators at Stepping Stones learn to respect and appreciate cultural differences, navigate cross-cultural communication, and build relationships based on mutual understanding and empathy.

Our Japanese students also bring unique skills, talents, and experiences to our setting, offering opportunities for hands-on learning and exploration. Over the years the children have been taught traditional Japanese dances, explored the art of origami, and have had countless opportunities to play new games and activities, and learn new words and phrases.

Integrating Sugiyama University students into our service has offered a multitude of benefits for all involved, from promoting cultural understanding and language development to enhancing learning opportunities and fostering personal growth. By embracing diversity and creating inclusive environments, we are supported in creating enriching experiences that prepare children for success in an increasingly interconnected world.