It is tragedies like this that have pushed me to try and do something to help children who end up spending most of their lives in children's homes. My non-profit foundation, JOEE, (joee.jp) is in its infancy but we are already starting to provide immersive English-teaching with music, puppets, games and stories for kids growing up in institutionalized care. The children need positive experiences, connections and joy in their lives; and they need job skills when they exit the system at age 18 so they will have hope for the future. By beginning enjoyable English instruction at an early age, I intend to help the kids learn native-level pronunciation and, at the very least, basic English language capabilities. I know from experience that five-year olds can learn a new language in a single year through positive immersive language experiences. I hope that we can make a difference in the lives of these children. They need all the support that they can get!
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With 40,000 Japanese children spending their young lives in orphanages, and only about 400 being adopted each year, the much less selfish option would be to adopt children waiting and hoping beyond hope for a chance to be welcomed into a loving family. Lawmakers can help this miracle happen by passing more laws in favor of children’s rights over those of neglectful or abusive parents.
It is heart-breaking and ironic that these poor kids label themselves as unneeded and unwanted while the government officials encourage Japanese couples to have more children.
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Here’s the solution:
Begin English immersion instruction at the ideal time in a child’s brain development, at the preschool and kindergarten ages. Many of the students at our international school enter with little to no proficiency in English. Most graduate as completely proficient verbal bi-linguals.
The Japanese government emphasizes English instruction too late in the academic game. Young kids love learning a new language. It can be made enjoyable, challenging and compelling.
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