Restore Hiroko's Japanese Classes - West Point Grey Community Centre

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Update: For the moment, Hiroko has asked us not to petition the community centre and other decision-makers in the city, as they are continuing to discuss these recent changes. (For example, West Point Grey Community Centre has offered to reduce the space between classes from 1 hour and 45 min down to 45 minutes.) We the parents of children in Hiroko's classes, past and present, will continue putting our names together, and have them ready to forward to all appropriate decision-makers if these discussions do not result in a reversal of these recent changes. 

To the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation,

We, the parents are writing to complain about the West Point Grey Community Centre's changes to the Japanese classes taught by Hiroko Kashihara for 3, 4 and 5 year-olds, which she has been doing for over 20 years. We ask the city to please intervene on our behalf to restore the classes to their original times and formats.

Hiroko Kashihara is one of the most dedicated, creative, gentle, loving teachers we have ever known, who goes above and beyond all our expectations, creating a wonderful community in which the parents often participate. We are shocked, hurt and angered by the new changes that are going to take place when the winter session of 2018 begins.

Change #1 - Increasing the break between classes from 15 min to 1 hour and 45 min 

Update: West Point Grey Community Centre has now reduced this space from 1 hour and 45 min down to 45 minutes.  A program not licensed as a daycare can only be 75 minutes at a time with a recommended break of 15-30 minutes before the next class.but we still are asking for a return to the original 15 minute space.

The way these classes took place for years was that there were two different courses offered almost back to back with a fifteen minute break separating them. Most children signed up for both classes for a three hour stretch of total immersion in the Japanese language, which suited the children as well as the parents. BC Beginning in January, West Point Grey Community Centre has changed the Japanese program to have a 1 hour and 45 min space between classes, and has added the following note in their program guide: "Please note the 9:15am and 12:15pm classes are the same class offered at two different times."

Change #2 - Narrowing the program description to limit it to children with Japanese language experience

West Point Grey Community Centre changed the program description of Hiroko's Japanese class for the winter 2018 session without Hiroko's knowledge or consent.

The description on all the former brochures read as follows:

"Preschoolers will learn the Japanese language. No prior experience with the Japanese language is needed. This Japanese program has been in operation for 20 years and continues to emphasize the importance of creativity and social development in the acquisition of language skills".

The new 2018 description brochure now reads as the following:

"Children will learn the Japanese language through activity based methods including reading, writing and crafts. Children need to have some experience with the Japanese language to attend this class."

Hiroko has never excluded children if they did not have any experience with Japanese. Several of the children in Hiroko's class came into her class not knowing one word of Japanese. This description change will limit potential students for Hiroko's classes, and may even encourage the public to complain that it is not inclusive. We don't know if this is an attempt to erode new sign-ups to Hiroko's classes, or if this is even an attempt to incite complaints against Hiroko's classes in an effort to further degrade them, but this needs to be immediately amended.

We, as a collective of all the parents, past and present, of Hiroko Kashihara's classes (Japanese for ages 3, 4 and 5) ask the city to please intervene on our behalf to restore the classes to their original times and formats.



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