Starting this year, the Shichigo Elementary school in Sendai, located in northeastern Japan, will be looking to fully include aspects of disaster awareness in its curriculum.
It is the latest in a series of measures by the school to break down the information about preparing for natural disasters to children and their families and to develop a mindset of being able to help oneself and others in the event of a disaster.
Similar to the integrated learning approach, which is used in the Jamaican school system, students across grades one to six are introduced to different aspects of disaster awareness and preparation in different subject areas.
The third-largest public elementary school in Sendai, Shichigo, has 1,089 students on roll.
When journalists hosted under the Pacific-Caribbean Journalists’ Program visited the school recently, grade one students were learning about some of the dangers that could come with an earthquake, identifying objects that could fall, move, or collapse.
Grade four students were learning how rice farmers, whose livelihood had been wiped out by the disaster, were able to rebuild their lives. Through a rice-planting project started in May, they will have hands-on experience.
“Other schools spend only one or two hours. we complete 10 to 15 hours in a cluster and compiled this to be used as disaster education,” vice-principal Masaki Nakatsuji said.
This is for a total of 30 hours annually.
He says that the information is designed to fit each grade level and covers units like environmental and integrated studies.
“Often, when we do disaster education, it