Get to Know Mirai no Mori Series #7 – Purpose of Program
Through this series, we deliver insights into the institutional care system in Japan, children in it, and Mirai no Mori’s mission. In this newsletter, we will tell you about the concept and component we use to deliver a consistent program content to the children. We hope you find it interesting and informative.
Series ＃7：Purpose of Program
Mirai no Mori has been planning and executing various programs at many different sites, and there is one thing we always keep in our minds: never to lose sight of the purpose. At a hiking program, for example, the goal of the activity may be to reach the mountaintop. However, the purpose of the program is different. The purpose of the program is for children to experience things they cannot gain in their day-to-day lives, such as a sense of responsibility by carrying their own water bottles and lunch boxes, being outside of their comfort zone in nature, and feeling of accomplishment after reaching the goal. Or in field game activities, the purpose is not to learn how to win games or win them at all. The purpose is to experience organizing their ideas and communicating to team members, be a leader and take the initiative in forming and executing a strategy, and feel a sense of fulfillment when succeeding as a team. At Mirai no Mori, we believe that the accumulation of such experiences is the key to the acquirement of “life skills,” and the purpose of our program is for the children to gain such “key experiences.”
“Key experiences” also happen outside of activities, such as traveling to/from program sites or during mealtime. Children are often asked to help with meal preparation during programs. Simple tasks like carrying lunch boxes for everyone provide a chance to experience teamwork, responsibility, accomplishments, and even mistakes. If an adult takes over this task simply because it is easier or more efficient, it takes away the valuable learning opportunities from the children. The purpose of programs can be missed when we are task-oriented; however, “key experiences” as a tool enable us to always keep the true purpose in mind throughout the programs. The concept of “key experiences” is the foundation of our programs, which allow us to provide consistent content regardless of locations or activities.
A crucial component for delivering “key experiences” to the children is the program staff members. They are at the front line of facilitating activities safely in line with our purpose and creating a fun learning environment for the children. Many volunteers their time for our program and act as great role models to children by bringing diverse cultures, backgrounds, and lifestyles to our programs. Some of them have been joining our program for many years, becoming one of a few adults to maintain a long-term relationship with children, and many children look forward to seeing the staff they know. Many staff also support Mirai no Mori outside of the program, such as aiding in our events and fundraising efforts.
Starting with corporate sponsors and individual donors, Mirai no Mori is supported by many individuals and organizations, including volunteers, interns, program partners, care workers, and care homes, to bring unique learning opportunities to the children we serve.
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