In 2008, Full-Circle Learning developed a relationship with Japan’s Yamaguchi University, through Dr. MarilynHiggins. Over the years, this relationship took on many aspects: training Japanese schools, facilitating wisdom exchanges abroad, and defining how the educational model could prevent academic stress and trauma while promoting life skills and resiliency.
Ultimately, a team of professors from Yamaguchi University traveled to the FCL headquarters, where they identified, in particular, the value of infusing the habits-of-heart into guided imagery exercises. They encouraged the development of a bilingual treatment ofFCL’s related stories. The English version of The SkyBelongs to Everyone was published in 2020 by Japan’sPacific North Pacific Press and is available onamazon.com.
The Japanese visitors had also visited a Full-CircleLearning school in the US where children had studied the treatment of Japanese Americans living in internment camps. The children presented them with dioramas of unity garden, to thank the captured Japanese families for demonstrating a sense of unity by working together to
offer health, education, social services and rock gardens, despite the deplorable conditions and hardships of camp life.
In another act of reconciliation, a fourth-grade class inLos Angeles engaged in a wisdom exchange with aJapanese school. The children learned about radiation sickness in relation to the events of WWII. They read a book called Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.Because of the similarity of leukemia and radiation sickness, they learned the origami art form and made1,000 paper cranes to hang in a local children’s hospital.They made another thousand cranes and sent them to their wisdom exchange partner classroom in Japan. TheJapanese school exhibited the cranes at the WorldCurriculum Conference in the Philippines, recommending the project to other Asian countries.
Dr. Michael Higgins created recordings of guided imagery, complete with music. Dr. Marilyn Higgins spoke at conferences, taught the Full-Circle Learning model to local schools, and worked with the multicultural club at the university to translate wisdom exchanges. Her influence proved especially valuable for learners inside and outside Japan.
Below, students wore Thanksgiving costumes as they explored the customs and history of their wisdom exchange partner. Several teachers helped students integrate locally relevant coursework and context into their conflict bridge exercises.