ELC & Kindergarten
On June 4th, as a part of Dental Health Awareness Week, we had some activities to learn about the importance of keeping our teeth and gums clean.
Higashi Osaka Campus
At Higashi Osaka campus, the ELC students learned how our teeth are essential for eating the delicious food that everyone loves. The students also learned about cavity prevention and they had conversations about it using simple, age-appropriate phrases!
Teacher: What is a cavity? How do we stop cavities?
You have to clean your mouth and teeth to prevent cavities.
Let’s practice brushing our teeth together so that we can brush the cavities away
Teacher: What is a cavity? How do we stop cavities?
You have to clean your mouth and teeth to prevent cavities.
Let’s practice brushing our teeth together so that we can brush the cavities away!
Children: Dentist? Noooooo
Teacher: Do you want to get cavities? You don’t want cavities, do you? Let’s take good care of our teeth!
Can you do it
Children: Yes, we can!
After the talk, everyone practiced tooth brushing using some big teeth and a giant toothbrush. Everyone brushed their teeth after lunch much more carefully than usual! It was fun learning about the importance of our teeth.
The K3 class at Hirakata campus began Unit 1 with the central idea that "Making balanced choices about daily routines enables us to have a healthy lifestyle." To explore the central idea, the students started by first writing down all the things their mothers say to them every day. Then, they discussed why their mothers say these things and why they are so important. One of them was: “Brush your teeth!” Next, the students created a mind map to find out how much they knew about brushing their teeth. The students understood that if they don't brush their teeth, they will get cavities.
In a discussion about why they get cavities, one of the students said, “I bet the bad guys in our teeth attack the part with chocolate or something on it.”
“It must be Baikin-man!” said a second student.
“No, isn’t it a cell?” replied another. “Like ‘Cells at Work!’ on Netflix!”
The students were able to use all the knowledge they had!
So, to explain that the protective enamel on our teeth can get dissolved by the acid produced by bacteria after we eat sugary foods, we coated half of some eggshells with fluoride and the other half were left uncoated. Then, the eggshells were placed in vinegar that played the part of the nasty, tooth-dissolving acid. Then, bubbles popped out from the non-fluoridated half. “It's dissolving, it's dissolving!” cried the students. We learnt that it is very important to protect our teeth with fluoride.
Now, we have learnt that brushing our teeth is important, but are we brushing our teeth properly? We asked the students what properly means to them? Then, we told them that today we're going to test if everyone is brushing their teeth properly! So, we coloured the plaque using plaque-staining tablets. The children were very excited to see their teeth stained pink. Looking in the hand-held mirrors they brought, the students shouted, "Oh, my back teeth are pinker!"
“I'm brushing them pretty clean now!", said another.
They recorded which parts of their teeth were still stained on their worksheets and then brushed their teeth while looking in the mirror.
They also learned how to brush their teeth properly using a model of a large mouth and videos. Also, the students learned about keeping their teeth healthy in both English and Japanese. They carried out a test to see how much sugar is in some of their favorite soft drinks and snacks. We wanted to find out which ones are less likely to cause tooth decay. The students learned that we must make sure we're keeping our teeth healthy during this important time in our lives, when our adult teeth are coming through.
Getting Dressed: Developmental Stages
Children always have the feeling of “wanting to do things by themselves.” Help them start to develop that feeling from their first year by saying, “Let’s put your hand through the sleeve.”
1 year old
Children start to recognise “changing” as a form of play, and become interested in it. Using words such as “front”, “back”, “elbows”, and “heels” will help them learn the words and actions that follow.
2 years old
Little by little, children are able to do more, and before they turn 3, they will be able to change clothes that are easy to put on and take off. Even if it takes time, let your child try getting dressed by themselves.
3 years old
At this age, children can put on their pants while standing and put on their shoes and socks by themselves. This is also the time for them to try doing up their buttons and putting on their jackets.
4 years old
Children at this age can change clothes mostly without the help of an adult. They will start to learn how to zip and unzip their clothes. They will also start to notice the inside and outside of their clothes, and begin folding their clothes after taking them off.
5 years old
Children are learning to put on and take off clothes depending on the temperature, to fold their clothes neatly, and to tuck their shirt in. They can also start learning how to tie their shoelaces.
Preventing Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a general term for sun stroke and heat stroke. Sun stroke is caused by exposure to strong direct sunlight, while heat stroke is caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures even indoors.
Children are particularly susceptible to heat stroke as they cannot regulate their body temperature effectively and can be easily affected by temperature changes. Also, as it is difficult for children to put on and take off their clothes, and rehydrate by themselves, they are especially prone to developing heat stroke. The temperature gets particularly high in vehicles, so never leave your child alone in a car.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke:
Red face, labored breathing. Skin sensation is hot, no sweating even with increasing body temperature, dizziness, headache, nausea.
Pale face, abnormal sweating. Skin sensation is cold, dizziness, nausea.
-Wear a hat while outside during the day.
-Avoid staying outside for extended periods on hot days.
-Choose clothes that cover the shoulders and are moisture-absorbent and moisture-wicking.
-For hydration, provide drinks that contain electrolytes, such as oral rehydration solution (ORS).
The school checks the heat index every day. On days exceeding WBGT 31, we refrain from playing outside. Also, we take breaks in the shade, and rehydrate more often. During summer time, we allow children to bring sports drinks to school.
Nail and Scalp Hygiene
Fingernails that are too long or cut too short can be a problem.
Long fingernails can result in scratches:
Children’s skin is very thin and easily scratched by long fingernails. It can easily be scratched. Also, long fingernails can easily get caught on clothing. Please check your childs’ fingernails once a week and keep them short.
Cutting nails too short can lead to ingrown nails:
If the nails are trimmed too short, they may become ingrown. This occurs when the edges or corners of the nail grow into the skin.
Head lice are small insects, about 3 mm in length and whitish-gray in color. They spend their entire lives on people’s scalps, laying their eggs at the base of hair shafts. They feed by sucking human blood, which causes itching. They are visible, so please check your childs’ scalp for lice eggs regularly.
How to check for head lice:
Head lice eggs are white and about 0.5 mm in diameter. They look like dandruff. Please check the roots of your childs’ hair for any eggs. Head lice eggs are firmly attached to the hair shaft and are difficult to remove by hand or by brushing.
Use SMITHRIN (lice-killing shampoo) every day. After shampooing, use a fine-toothed comb to remove both head lice and their eggs, and cut any hair with eggs still attached. Repeat the procedure for 10 days.
Air the futon daily, and change pillow sheets, bed sheets, towels, and underwear every day. Avoid sharing these items. Heat-treating bedding and clothing in the dryer or with hot water before washing or ironing after washing is also effective.
It is important to keep rooms clean at home to prevent other family members getting infected. Also, use a vacuum cleaner to collect hair that falls on the floor.
Elementary & Secondary
After the end of the rainy season, it gets sunny and hot. Please pay attention to heat stroke.
Conditions that can cause heat stroke
・Lack of sleep
・Not eating properly (especially breakfast)
・Poor physical condition
・Not accustomed to the heat
・Sudden increases in temperature
Tips for preventing heat stroke
・Bring a hat and water bottle with you to school every day.
・Wear your hat.
・Drink plenty of fluids.
・Maintain good physical health (get enough sleep, eat well-balanced meals, etc.).
・Avoid extended periods of play outdoors in the hot sun.
・Wear cool clothing (moisture-absorbing and breathable fabrics).
Measures to Prevent Heat Stroke
▶︎ WBGT (Heat Index)
Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) is an index that is based on three factors: (1) humidity, (2) ambient heat environment such as solar radiation and radiant heat, and (3) temperature. We measure the WBGT index using a WBGT measuring device at school and use it as a guide for PE and other outdoor activities to avoid heat stroke.
▶︎ Masks and Heat Stroke
Wearing a mask in high temperatures and humidity in summer may increase the risk of heat stroke. For this reason, we remind students to remove their masks outdoors (including during commuting to and from school, recess, and PE class). However, when using public transportation, including school buses, wearing a mask is recommended.
As for inside, under the guidelines of the Kobe City Board of Education and taking into account the learning environment of KIA students, we call for students to wear masks. However, depending on their individual physical condition and the climate, we encourage them to remove their masks and take a break without overdoing it.
▶︎ KIA Playground
We use sprinklers to keep the temperature down. We also use other safety measures, including setting up tents as sunshades.
▶︎ Sports Drinks
Hydration is important, but too much sugar in drinks can lead to a loss of appetite and physical weakness. Juices, as well as sports drinks, can be high in sugar. While they may be recommended when the exercise is strenuous, excessive consumption can result in problems such as obesity and tooth decay due to excessive sugar intake.
▶︎ UV Protection
Too much exposure to ultraviolet rays has been shown to affect the skin and other aspects of health. Therefore, it is important to take measures to reduce exposure to ultraviolet rays from childhood. In order to prevent the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays, we ask for your cooperation in taking appropriate protective measures at home.
Although it is possible to use insect repellents and sunscreen together, sunscreen should be used first before insect repellents are applied. In order to prevent allergic reactions and other accidents, we ask that you teach your children at home to follow proper usage rules, such as "do not lend or borrow items from friends" and "use items properly and at the right time".
▶︎Adjustment of Clothing
In summer, we often think it is too hot and tend to wear only a T-shirt. However, just one layer of underwear can absorb sweat and lower the temperature inside your clothes. Please make sure your children wear clean undergarments that absorb sweat well and dry quickly.
In addition, we regulate classroom temperatures with air conditioners to prevent heat stroke in the classrooms. Depending on the child and where they are seated, there are differences in how children perceive temperature. Students are encouraged to bring a jacket so that they can adjust the temperature to suit them.
▶︎ Air Conditioners
Air conditioners are installed in classrooms so that students can focus on their studies even on hot days. However, depending on the child and where they are seated, they may feel "cold" in the classroom. We will use the air conditioners on hot days, but we will also take care not to set the temperature too low.
We would greatly appreciate your donation to help us create a comfortable environment for each of our classrooms by using air conditioners and circulators in combination. We will take good care of your donation and use it in each classroom.
Leaving sweat on the skin can cause itching and discomfort, as well as physical discomfort due to the cold. Please encourage your child to bring a towel for wiping sweat.
It is necessary to be careful of insect bites during the summer, as clothing becomes thinner and more skin is exposed. Children often have difficulty resisting scratching when their skin feels itchy. Children who are "particularly prone to insect bites" or "have severe swelling or fever when bitten by insects" should take measures at home, such as applying insect repellent before coming to school.
How to treat insect bites
①Rinse the affected area well with water.
②Apply insect bite medicine (it is effective to apply it immediately after being bitten).
③Cool the affected area if the itching is severe.
④Cut nails short (to prevent impetigo).
*If itching is severe and swelling of the affected area persists, please see a dermatologist.
When scratching skin damaged by insect bites, eczema, heat rash, etc. with fingernails, the wound may become infected with bacteria, resulting in "impetigo (contagious impetigo)". Strong itching and blisters with an oozy appearance may occur. The itching is so severe that scratching causes the blisters to break open and the fluid inside the blisters spreads rapidly, which can be very serious. If your child is diagnosed with a case of impetigo, please cover the area with a piece of gauze.
Head lice parasitize the hair of the head and suck the person's blood. This can cause strong itching. Head lice are transmitted through head to head contact or by sharing personal items (towels, sleeping materials, hats, combs, etc.). The transmission of head lice can happen to anyone, regardless of the cleanliness of their hair. The eggs of the head louse can be seen as white dandruff-like clumps. The head louse lays several eggs each day, which hatch and grow into larvae and then adults, multiplying rapidly. Daily checking of your child's hair is important to detect and eliminate them as early as possible. Although there is no suspension of attendance due to head lice, please contact your child's homeroom teacher if you find head lice on your child's head.
How to find head lice
・Check the roots of your child's hair, especially around the nape of the neck and ears, and look for head lice eggs.
・Head lice eggs (white ovals about 0.5 mm in diameter) may look like dandruff.
※Adult head lice are hard to find because they are few. Their eggs are difficult to remove by brushing or by hand.
If head lice are found
・Use a medicine or shampoo specially designed to kill head lice for a certain period of time. Washing hair with normal shampoo will not get rid of them.
・Use a special fine-toothed comb to remove head lice eggs.
Although shampoos specially designed to eliminate head lice can be purchased at pharmacies, we recommend that you first see a dermatologist or pediatrician for a diagnosis, as head lice eggs are often mistaken for dandruff. A dermatologist can also provide anti-itch medication for severe itching, which is the most painful symptom of head lice (the saliva they produce when they suck blood causes the severe itching).
Lifestyle During the Summer Break
Summer break will be starting soon. This summer will be hot again. Let's maintain the rhythm of our daily lives so that we can stay healthy.
Tips for a “good rhythm" of life
①Have a regular routine (early to bed, early to rise, eat nutritious meals).
②Open the curtains when you wake up.
③Make it a habit to do physical activity during the daytime.
④Follow the set usage time for TV, games, and smartphones.
⑤Refrain from using smartphones and iPads before going to bed.