Chi classes give a taste of the East

MASTERING the art of origami and learning how to make sushi aren t usually on the school curriculum. But children at The Leys Primary and Nursery School in Stevenage have been getting a unique insight into life in Japan since the arrival of their new Japa

MASTERING the art of origami and learning how to make sushi aren't usually on the school curriculum.

But children at The Leys Primary and Nursery School in Stevenage have been getting a unique insight into life in Japan since the arrival of their new Japanese teacher, Chi Tae Tsuji.

Learning about other countries and cultures is a tradition at the school, and calligraphy, origami and learning Japanese have fast become firm favourites with the pupils.

Headteacher Cheryl Salmon invited Chi, a music teacher and talented pianist, to come to The Leys through an international exchange programme.


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"We live in an international community and I have a personal commitment to children believing they can do anything and live anywhere in the world," she said.

"Chi's classes give that extra cultural dimension and the children have really taken to her. She's a real plus to the school."

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Serving sushi to parents and staff and at a parents meeting was a big success, and Chi's origami classes appeal to children of all ages.

"They've been incredibly successful, making origami pianos, houses and puppets," said Mrs Salmon.

"We tap into young children's natural interest and enthusiasm for other languages and cultures. We introduced French some time ago and every week in assembly we have children demonstrating that they can count to 10 in Turkish or say the days of the week in German."

Chi will be at The Leys until June when she returns to Fukuoka in Japan.

"All the children are really polite and very friendly," she said. "They are very interested in what I teach and want to learn Japanese.

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