ECE Graduate Takes Seneca's Teaching Methods to Japan
Fumiko Fujikawa started her journey as an english major in Japan. She found ECE to be interesting and inspiring but had no background in the area. At the time, she was working with an english tutor from Toronto, who was helping her study to get in to a TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) program in California.
While studying, Fumiko changed her mind and thought she would like to go to Canada. Her tutor mentioned Toronto and suggested Seneca – which had a great reputation among the locals in Japan. She did her research and ultimately ended up attending the ECE program at Seneca. In her time there, she was very engaged in class and with a variety of activities related to the program.
Lynn Caruso was the ECE program coordinator at Seneca. Each year, she would take 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 in the cause, donating her time, educating, raising awareness and support, and contributing so much to Jamaican communities in need. She made origami items to be used as teacher resources and ran a fundraising campaign, donating the proceeds to build a small house in Riverton for a senior citizen. Lynn and Fumiko were also heavily involved in projects, such as the International Friendship Project and Flat Stanley Project, connecting children in Jamaica, Japan, and Canada in a fun, creative way.
Fumiko went back to Japan in May 2007 and began working for an international kindergarten, which she did for two years. She then became an english teacher and implemented her ECE techniques in her classes, which was a great success with her students and their parents.
After that, she gained the confidence to open her own school in February, 2011 – her longtime dream. FLAT English School teaches the english language to children as young as one-year-old and even adults. “I'm extremely proud of what I have learned at 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”, said Fumiko.
Fumiko expanded her school to create space for Seneca ECE and BCD (Bachelor of Child Development) students to work there in field placements, and also be involved at other schools and childcare centres in Japan. She 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.
Her goal is to change english education in Japan.
“I love Seneca and that’s why I keep going back every year. I'm very proud for having the opportunity to learn there and I can’t thank the college enough. My whole ECE experience made me realize that I was born to be a teacher.”