If you want children to develop connections between themselves and the community, you need to take them into that community. We are fortunate enough to have a park close to school and take the children there to learn and play outdoors .
When we were leaving the park we saw some very old ladies in wheel chairs, they looked lost in another world, they gazed into the distance. The children were reticent to go near the ladies and we discussed what our body language tells other people. The children moved away and frowned with concern, they later said they were scared to see people like this.
We carefully walked past the ladies and gently encouraged the children to say hello in Japanese. After a few children did this the care-assistants began to beam. Slowly the old ladies realized they were being spoken to and started to focus on the children. By the end of the line one of the ladies was smiling at the children. We reflected on this with the children and thought about the power of a smile and a kind word. Simple acts of giving. It is one thing to give donations to charities and another thing to give a little of ourselves.