K-4th Grade Counselor Mami Takahara
ECD and Lower School families have gotten to know our new K-4th Grade Counselor through her “Ms. Takahara’s Corner” in the division newsletters. In these monthly missives, Ms. T (as the kids know her) solidifies the critical home-school partnership by bringing parents up to speed on some of the tools and approaches she uses with classes and providing useful at-home tips to reinforce the social emotional learning.
Q: Having lived in Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and China, how do you bring the global perspective from your journeys in life to your work at the Oak Campus?
As I moved around to different places during my upbringing, I learned at a young age that it is normal to be different and everyone is unique. This is one of the essential perspectives I bring to my work as a School Counselor at CAIS. I was very fortunate to have first-hand examples of various nationalities, cultures, religions, and values and gained a non-biased perspective. This skill comes naturally to me, allowing me to provide non-judgmental support to the students at CAIS. Especially in such a diverse city like San Francisco, establishing a sense of identity is a complex process as we are all exposed to many different narratives and influences. I love helping students understand the idea of “you are uniquely you” and helping them embrace their individuality rather than see it as a barrier.
Q: What are some ways your work on social-emotional learning with students, teachers, and parents helps CAIS meet our Strategic Vision of Reimagining Our Culture of Learning and Reimagining Character and Community?
I am very excited to be part of CAIS during this evolving period and contribute to the Strategic Vision through Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). I do a lot of SEL lessons for all students and occasional check-ins with individual students, where I help students acquire knowledge, skills, and attitude to establish healthy and positive identities. SEL allows students to self-reflect and increases their self-awareness. It also allows students to learn essential life skills such as self-management, relationship-building, and decision-making. These skills will help them when they face challenging situations at school, work, and in life. I also cherish the school-family-community partnership to create collaborative learning environments. When everyone is partnering with one another for students’ success, students are able to thrive in their skin and grow to become their best selves.
Q: If pet-sized versions of Core Values Firedragons popped up at the dog park, which one would you and your pug be most likely to pal around with and why?
I got very excited about this question because I am a big dog person! I would love for my pug to be best friends with ALL five pet-sized Firedragons, so it is hard to choose one. But, if I were to choose, I would pick Kindness. I think Kindness is one of the most important human qualities and can be the underlying value of basically everything. It is important to remind ourselves that not only is it important to be kind to others but also to be kind to ourselves so that we can continue to be curious, inclusive, persevere, and courageous. With that being said, I think my pug would choose Curiosity because he always looks confused and looks like he is trying to figure things out.
Q: Have you found any restaurants in SF that “transport” you back to your previous homes?
Walking around Japan Town and China Town definitely makes me happy and feel at home (I wish there were “Towns” for all countries!). To be completely honest, I have not found restaurants anywhere in the world that transport me back to my previous homes. Don’t get me wrong, the food here in San Francisco is AMAZING! I am a foodie too, and I have had a lot of delicious food here. Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and China have a special place in my heart. When I think of food in those countries, I also think of the people, culture, and unique and special experiences to those locations. This is why I haven’t been able to “transport” back. But I am still new to San Francisco, and I am always looking for recommendations. So I would love to try out any of your favorite restaurants!