Skip to content

Meet the Teachers -Beanstalk English School-

【Beanstalk English School for Children and Parents 】

Ms. Kikuko Shimizu, Owner (Nasushiobara City, Tochigi Pref.)

beastalk 1-001.jpgBeanstalk, an English language classroom, which is located in Natsushiobara in Tochigi Prefecture opened in April 2010. It took its roots from a parent-child English conversation circle called Beans Club which started in 2007. About 50 parent-child pairs with children aged 5 months to 3 years took part.
Followed by their mother, students enter the classroom by cheerfully saying May I come in? (from Let’s Go Let’s Begin Unit 4). This is how the parent-child lessons begin at Beanstalk! Because we value each individual’s learning pace, lessons at Beanstalk are devoted to one parent and one child only and last for thirty minutes. First, I go over the Let’s Talk skit (from Let’s Go 1 – 6 depending on the student) with the student or do a chant or song with them. After this, we review the language from the role-play. beanstalk2-001.jpg
Once the child has mastered the language, I usually have them role play swapping with their mother, while I watch. If the student can talk smoothly, they are ready to move on to the next part in “Let’s Learn”, etc. This practice of new language forms the homework that I assign to mother and child.
All the mothers who bring their children to Beanstalk take learning very seriously. They open the textbook, watch and listen carefully and take good notes during lessons. Even when I say “Let’s try this skit together!”, they gladly do so. They are amazing! Whether competing with their child to sing the songs, or trying their best to learn the skit, the mothers learn hand in hand with their child, they know, see and feel every “Well done!” “Good luck!” “Yeah!” and “Oh no!” that the child experiences. I am really happy to see how mother and child can grow in this way together.
beanstalk HW2014 5.jpgThe mothers serve as teachers of their child at home. Many of them come to me for a Parents’ Class where they can get extra guidance on teaching techniques, how to engage their child in learning or how to improve their own English. The other day in the Parents’ Class, we learned the Drills adopting the MAT method, one of the methods that can be used to teach Let’s Go. In pairs, the mothers did the flashcards so well it put a teacher like me to shame. We also hold parent meetings at Beanstalk. Some of the more active mothers also hold a pow-wow where they share ideas on how to learn more effectively and discuss worries and concerns. Seeing their mothers’ efforts to learn in this way, the children naturally want to deepen their own interest in learning.
beanstalk HW2014 3.jpgThis really is learning by example.
The fourth goal of the MAT method is that students talk together in English. So once a month, we gather all the students for a group lesson.
We do “Find a partner” with a Q & A interview game or conversation catch-ball where students talk while throwing a ball. We also have fun playing other games that I have learned in my training from IIEEC or Oxford. In group lessons, to allow students to express themselves, I have been trying Show & Tell. The children get the chance to practice talking about their own English picture book or diary in front of others.
In May, we held an outdoor “Field Adventure” event to further develop study of the senses (Let’s Go 5, unit 7). Surrounded by a beautiful green forest, the mothers and guest teachers were stationed at differen ‘t sense spots’ that included activities for each of the senses. The students formed teams and with maps in hand, moved from spot to spot. At the ‘touch & feel’ spot, for example, students were asked the question” Which bottle is the same weight as the yellow one?” They would then have to choose from a variety of bottles to find the one with the same weight. At the ‘smell’ spot, they were asked “What does it smell like?” and had to guess the smells of coffee, vanilla, garlic chives, etc. from a bottle without knowing what was in it (apparently distinguishing between garlic, garlic chives, and green onions is very difficult, but exciting!). In October, we plan to open a one-day ‘Halloween Café’ where students will dress up as waiters and waitresses, take orders in English and serve drinks and cake. Please visit our home page to see the event report:

beanstalk HW2014 4.jpgFrom now and into the future, through our English lessons, we hope our students will:
• Gain confidence in speaking English with the support of their parents
• Deepen the bonds with their parents through speaking English
• Grow their knowledge and ability to its fullest like a growing beanstalk

School Profile
Students: 4 to 13years old and parents
Material: Let’s Go, Oxford Reading Tree, etc