By Steve Parker
Yokosuka, Japan – Two Yokosuka Complex Schools, The Sullivans School and Yokosuka Middle School have begun a mentoring program at Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka on board Yokosuka Navy Base in Yokosuka, Japan. The program is being administered by Cassidy Kemp, a Yokosuka Middle School (YMS) English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and Yvette Parker, a 2/3 multiage teacher at The Sullivans School.
The idea for the mentoring program began when Kemp was looking for a non-threatening way to encourage her ESL students to interact more using the English Language. Perhaps they would be more comfortable with younger children? Having worked in previous years at Sullivans, and being familiar with the faculty and facilities there, Kemp contacted Parker and asked about the possibility of bringing “about a dozen” ESL students over one day to meet the seven and eight year olds in Parker’s multiage class. Parker immediately saw the potential for a program because she had been searching for good role models to interact with her own students.
The first meeting between the students involved a craft and breaking ice. Eventually, the students moved toward team building activities and the older students began to help the younger students with understanding and following directions. The younger students began to listen and learn all the while basking in the attention from the older students who were genuinely encouraged to use their developing English skills while helping the younger learners. When it was time to go, Tina Martin from the 2/3 multiage class had one final question, “When can they come back?”