Students at Austinmer Public School have gained a deeper understanding of Japanese culture over the past two weeks thanks to visiting teacher Yoshiharu Kato.
During his time at the school, Mr Kato taught students Japanese words and phrases, shared Japanese games, gave a lesson in origami and told stories and fables, as well as assisted teachers with other parts of the curriculum.
A year 2 teacher at Katabira Elementary School in Yokohama, the second biggest city in Japan, Mr Kato visited the school as part of an International Internship Program that aims to promote friendship and understanding between countries by sharing knowledge.
Through Austinmer teacher and host Meli Theo, Mr Kato said he had enjoyed working at a school so close to the beach and had been touched by the generosity of the parents, teachers and students.
He had found the children bright, confident and articulate, and he was impressed by the interactive whiteboards.
Though there was a slight language barrier, Mrs Theo said the students had loved learning from him.
"Just connecting with someone from Japan has really excited the children; a lot are saying they'd love to visit the country, and it gives them an appreciation for another culture, and respect as well," she said.
Mrs Theo and Mr Kato are planning to establish a pen pal program with the children in their classes once he returns to Japan. As neither class fluently speaks the other's language, they will initially communicate through drawings.