Original Japanese written by staffer
The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese
The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA
At its “Waku Waku Square,” St. Paul’s Kindergarten, Koriyama, Fukushima, held a program named “Kids’ Yoga and Massage,” targeted at children aged 2 to 3 years and their mothers. The program was meant to provide some time for relaxation to both mothers and their children. They enjoyed yoga, finger plays, massage with aromatic oil, and so on. The instructor was Ms. Yoshie Hatakeyama.
First, they moved their bodies to music. Held in their mothers’ arms, the children greeted one another and were very happy. The instructor explained that kids who have good physical exercise before beginning school tend to suffer fewer injuries at school than those without such exercise.
When their bodies were warmed up, their mothers applied oil and gave them a massage.
With rounded palms, the mothers tapped on the backs of their kids. Then they took the socks off their kids to apply “circular motion” massaging on the toes and ankles, which made the kids feel great. Then, they made some big rings out of newspaper, and the kids jumped over them and walked through them.
To conclude the program, the instructor and the mothers had tea together. The instructor told a story of how she herself had positive body contact with kids to build a sense of togetherness with them. The parents, all relaxed, listened carefully. The massaging gave everyone a good time, and both parents and children were smiling hugely when the program was over.