The PTA - unsung heroes

A lot of my mum-friends are vehemently opposed to the PTA (yakuin) system here in Japan. It's a well-known fact that nobody wants to be the leader as it's hard work, stressful and time-consuming.

I was pleasantly surprised this year when one young mum stepped up immediately to lead our group. She'd heard that it was fun. Both of her kids are either at kindergarten or school so she has the time. And she's a natural. Quiet and unassuming yet strong in organisational skills and efficient at rallying the team. She's super-kind and patient with me (taking the time to really make sure I understand what's going on. She speaks S L O W L Y and uses standard Japanese rather than the local dialect).

Yesterday my group spent a few hours together planning for the big upcoming event - the kindergarten fete or bazaar. I'm really fortunate to be in the coolest group. The mums are all very good friends as most of them have been in the same group for at least three years and some longer since they all have older kids as well. The groups are assigned based on where you live and your mode of transport to and from kindy. We're the drivers (or bikers or walkers). Since we're all neighbors one of them usually picks me up since I never know where the restaurants are. See what I mean about bending over backwards for me.

(The lovely what she wore today mum is in my group too and I am delighting in her transition pieces as the weather cools down).

Me and Noodle , five years ago at his first Sport's Day in the mum / kid dance
Based on my own experiences the PTA is a tremendous support to the kindergarten. The leaders put in a lot of time and energy. They're the grease that keeps the engine running smoothly. For example at the Sport's Day the PTA is in charge of setting up the field between each event. They have one of those white powder machines for marking the lines. They gather up the props, balls and equipment. Twice during the relay race a kid's shoe came flying off - the PTA was there to grab it. On other days, like when we have a class observation, the PTA mums supervise parking. The carpark is very small but they pack it to the gills with care and precision.

I guess I would like to express my thanks to these unsung heroes. I only wish I could do more to help.

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