ECE Grad Takes Seneca's Teaching Methods to Japan
Fumiko Fujikawa was an English major in Japan with an interest (yet, no experience) in early childhood education (ECE). Unable to elude her true passion, Fumiko altered her route from a California TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) program to ECE at Seneca – which had a great reputation among the locals in Japan.
It was at Seneca, that Fumiko met a lasting friend and mentor, Lynn Caruso, ECE program coordinator. Each year, Lynn took a group of students to Jamaica in support of Students Crossing Borders to work in some of the most impoverished areas in the country. Fumiko became extremely involved educating youth, raising awareness and growing support for communities in need. She made origami items to be used as teaching resources and ran a fundraising campaign with the proceeds going towards the construction of a small home in Riverton for a local senior citizen. Lynn and Fumiko were also heavily involved in projects like the International Friendship Project and Flat Stanley Project, connecting children in Jamaica, Japan, and Canada in a fun and creative way.
Upon completion of Seneca’s ECE program, Fumiko returned to Japan in 2007 and began working for an international kindergarten. She then became an English teacher and implemented her newly found ECE techniques in her classes, which became a great success among students and their parents. By 2011, Fumiko opened her own school fulfilling a long time dream.
FLAT English School teaches the English language to both children from the age of one, to adults of all ages. The school has also created space for Seneca ECE and BCD (Bachelor of Child Development) students to work there in field placements.
“I'm extremely proud of what I’ve learned through Seneca and am trying to prove that the philosophy and theory of ECE, ‘Learning Through Play’ is the best way for children to learn English,” says Fumiko, who also conducts workshops for educators and parents, promoting ECE and play-based learning. She inspires and influences others with her methods and is the organizer, translator and driver of these workshops and lectures.
Fumiko’s goal is to change English education in Japan.
“I love Seneca and that’s why I keep going back every year,” says Fumiko. “My whole ECE experience made me realize that I was born to be a teacher.”