An Earth-Shaking Revelation

, , , , , | Learning | June 22, 2018

I work in an international preschool in Japan, teaching three-year-olds. As a combination of their age and English being their second — or third — language, their understanding of things can be rather skewed, and funny as a result.

We have an earthquake drill one day, the first one that my class has ever done. I talk about it beforehand to make sure they have a general idea of what to do. I explain earthquakes in a very basic, kid-friendly way, emphasizing the shaking and “things breaking and falling” aspect, and areas of the room to stay away from, for safety. I remind them that it is all pretend, but important to remember in case of a real earthquake in the future.

The drill begins after lunch, and we make our way outside once the alarm stops ringing. They all find it very funny to wear the safety cushions to protect their heads, but there is minimal messing around. We make sure everyone is accounted for, and head back inside. One of my kids starts pointing around and speaking Japanese in astonishment, saying, “The building didn’t fall down! Nothing is broken?” I think maybe she expected the earthquake to happen inside the school, while we were outside?

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