Kyo no Machiya

I'm Ready for School
PlaySpace Exhibit - First Steps to Kindergarten
PlaySpace Exhibit - First Steps to Kindergarten
Museums and Libraries: Catalysts for Learning

Story 2

Each player has a set of fifty cards with poems printed on them. The players compete to be the first to find the card that matches the poem that is being recited. Whoever collects the most cards wins.

Story 1

While I was growing up, my family, my relatives, and my neighbors – practically everyone - was working for the silk business in some way. Today, people no longer wear kimono as often, so as demand declined and so did the Nishijin silk industry. Many machiya houses where silk artisans and merchants lived and worked disappeared, replaced by modern buildings and wider streets. Yet, while wandering around the very small, narrow back streets in Nishijin, I still find myself hearing the sounds of the silk looms.



The Art of Japanese Architecture

Young, David & Michiko. The Art of Japanese Architecture. Tokyo: Tuttle, 2007. Comprehensive overview of Japanese architectural history up through the present day. Illustrated with photographs, watercolor paintings, floor plans, and woodblock prints.

In Praise of Shadows

Tanizaki, Jun'ichiro. In Praise of Shadows. Trans. Thomas Harper and Edward Seidensticker. Stony Creek: Leete’s Island Books, 1977. (Originally published in Japanese in 1933.) An essay by esteemed author and novelist Tanizaki (1886-1965) on traditional Japanese aesthetics in contrast with technological developments in interior design and Western architectural encroachment. Tanizaki describes essential Japanese design elements such as wabi sabi and mono no aware primarily in relation to Japanese architecture but also to crafts and even food.

Japanese Traditions

Broderick, Setsu and Willamarie Moore. Japanese Traditions: Rice Cakes, Cherry Blossoms and Matsuri: A Year of Seasonal Japanese Festivities. Illus. Setsu Broderick. Tokyo, North Clarendon, VT, and Singapore: Tuttle Publishing, 2010. Background on seasonal traditions and monthly customs from Japan, based on the author’s childhood memories. The lighthearted and busy illustrations feature cats in place of people. Recommended for all ages.


Sato, Shozo. Ikebana. Tokyo, Rutland, and Singapore: Tuttle Publishing, 2004. Print. Asian Arts and Crafts for Creative Kids. Provides a background of the traditional Japanese art of ikebana, or flower arrangement, as well as detailed instructions for several variations of flower arrangements. Designed for readers ages 7-12.

Tea Ceremony

Sato, Shozo. Tea Ceremony. Tokyo, Rutland, and Singapore: Tuttle Publishing, 2004. Print. Asian Arts and Crafts for Creative Kids. Describes the history and cultural significance of the tea ceremony, as well as providing detailed step-by-step instructions for performing a tea ceremony at home. Designed for readers ages 7-12.


LaFosse, Michael G. Origami Activities. Tokyo, Rutland, and Singapore: Tuttle Publishing, 2003. Print. Asian Arts & Crafts for Creative Kids. This book provides a background of origami folding as well as a variety of origami activity prompts. Designed for readers ages 7-12.

Wabi Sabi

Reibstein, Mark. Wabi Sabi. Illus. Ed Young. New York and Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2008. Picture book in which a cat named Wabi Sabi goes on a journey to discover what her name means. She consults a cat, a dog, and a bird before seeking out a wise monkey on Mt. Hiei, who helps her understand the feeling of beauty in simplicity that is wabi sabi. The prose is interwoven with translated haiku poems by master Japanese poets, and the collage illustrations also represent the wabi sabi aesthetic. Recommended for PreK-1st grade.



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Powering School Readiness

    • Countdown to Kindergarten is a model classroom where children and their parents can have a typical kindergarten experience. View

    • The first exhibit of its kind anywhere, PlaySpace, was created specifically to spark creativity in young children ages 0-3. View

    • Executive function skills are learned and are crucial for a child’s development. View

    • For a child, play is the vehicle for learning and connecting with others. View

    • Play fosters language development and builds the foundation for communicaiton and conversation. View

    • Active play fosters physical, emotional and mental health. View