13th July 2001 at 01:00
A week in the life of Sherington CE first school, Milton Keynes

The land of the rising sun came to Milton Keynes recently, when Sherington first school held a Japanese week. Last year, as part of the OxfamChannel4 On the Line millennium project that linked people along the meridian, the school had a week of "Ghanaian stuff", says early years teacher Colin Storey, and this year decided to explore another country's culture.

Surrounded by Japanese companies, and with a Japanese governor, Sherington faced an obvious choice. So, with the help of a grant from the Milton Keynes Arts Association, pupils got the chance to try their hands at a range of oriental activities.

Professional puppeteer Sue Leech helped younger children stage a shadow puppet show, Momo-tara-san; the Japanese Cherry Blossom choir put on a concert and showed the children origami, calligraphy and a traditional tea ceremony; and one of the parents, who is also a dance teacher, held a couple of workshops. And, with just 49 pupils at the school, "everyone could have a go", says Mr Storey.

The week also turned out to be very special for Sherington in other ways. As the school was looking east, news came through that its long-serving secretary, BettyFeasey, had been awarded the MBE. Not wishing to rest on her laurels, Mrs Feasey - "the hub of the school", says Mr Storey - showed her skills by teaching the children ikebana, the Japanese art of flower-arranging.

And with this being the last Snapshots until September, what better way to say "sayonara".

Little devils: early years children play the demons

Oriental expression: preparing for the puppet show

One lump or two? The tea ceremony

Different strokes:brushing up on calligraphy

Just fold and wear: making origami hats

Shadow play: the performance of Momo-tara-san

Go, go, flower arranger: Caroline demonstrates ikebana

Put it there: Mayor Pat Seymourcongratulates Betty Feasey MBE

Snaps by Colin Storey

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