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


Boston Children’s Museum was founded by educators interested in providing a space where children could explore natural history specimens to further their learning. The collection quickly expanded to include ethnographic materials. Anna D. Slocum and the Women’s Education Association worked with several Boston museums to give children access to cultural objects for learning about other countries, their history, and their people. Anna D.

The beginning

Friendship Dolls

Pate, Alan Scott. The Japanese Friendship Dolls of 1927: Art as Ambassador.  Available at:

Life in Kyoto in the Early 20th Century

Nakano, Makiko. Makiko's Diary A Merchant Wife in 1910 Kyoto. Trans. Kazuo Smith. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995. The diary kept by the young wife of a merchant in Kyoto, detailing everyday life with her extended family in a home that also functioned as a store, just like The Japanese House at Boston Children's Museum.

Exploring the Boston-Japan Connection

Benfey, Christopher. The Great Wave: Gilded Age Misfits, Japanese Eccentrics, and the Opening of Old Japan. New York: Random House, 2003. Tells the story of Bostonian connoisseurs and collectors (such as Edward Sylvester Morse, Edward Fennolossa, and Isabella Stewart Gardner) who traveled and lived in Japan during the late 19th century and brought back art and artifacts along with a love of Japanese culture.


Picken, Stuart D. B. Shinto Japan’s Spiritual Roots. Tokyo: Kodansha International Ltd., 1980. Describes the importance of the Shinto religion in Japan, including festivals and rituals and its place in everyday life.


Hartz, Paula R. Shinto World Religions. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1997.  Part of the World Religions series for students by Facts on File, discusses the origins and history of the Shinto religion in Japan, including festivals and rituals and its place in current Japanese society.

Yoko's World of Kindness

Wells, Rosemary. Yoko’s World of Kindness: Golden Rules for a Happy Classroom. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 2005.  Stories about students adjusting to the first year of school, learning academic and social skills such as how to get along with one another. Recommended for Grades K-2.

Japanese Folktales

Sakade, Florence. Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories. Singapore: Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc., 1958. Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories is a collection of 20 famous traditional Japanese folktales. From Peach Boy to The Old Man Who Made Trees Blossom, this book has enchanting and cultural stories that are easy to read and a perfect length for bedtime stories.

Hachiko Waits

Newman, Leslea. Hachiko Waits. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2004.  A story about a professor’s loyal dog, who waits for him at the train station every afternoon, and continues to do so for ten years after the professor has died. Based on a true story and including a glossary of Japanese words. Recommended for Grades 3-5.


Subscribe to School Readiness | Boston Children's Museum RSS

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