Important Message from Gakko Board

Dear Gakko friends and families,

Today, with very heavy hearts, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to cancel the 2020 Kokoro no Gakko program in light of the still-growing COVID-19 pandemic. While we considered simply delaying the program, there is so much uncertainty in what the state of the virus and social distancing requirements will be in the summer, that we are concerned it could be unsafe to convene the program. We also would not have the lead-time necessary to prepare a successful program later this year. For those of you who have already paid for the 2020 program, we will be refunding you in full. This may take a few weeks to complete. If you do not receive a refund check or notice from Paypal by April 30th, please let us know via email.

We know how much students looks forward to Gakko and the unique experiences that come with each year of the program. Because of this we will be “holding back” all classes in 2021. This will allow us to honor the 6th grade students who would miss their final year of Gakko in 2020, for all returning students to complete the entirety of the Gakko program, and for each grade’s group of students to stay together. There will, inevitably, be some confusion in 2021 with 3rd graders in the 2nd grade class, and 6th and 7th graders in the 5th/6th grade class, for example. But we can work through that with clear instructions during the 2021 registration process. In addition, the confusion will be temporary: we will combine kindergartners and 1st graders in the 2021 kindergarten class to get us back on track! Please reach out if you have questions or concerns about this approach.

We sincerely hope that our entire Gakko community – families, friends, teachers, resource specialists, and volunteers – is safe and healthy, and we look forward to reuniting in 2021! O genki de (be well) and te o aratte kudasai (please wash your hands)!

The Gakko Board of Directors

Kokoro no Gakko – or “School with a Heart” in English – is a two-week summer program dedicated to the culture and arts of Japan and founded to pass on an understanding of Japanese American culture. Children between kindergarten and 6th grade learn traditional Japanese customs and practices through hands-on activities, including bonsai, ikebana, origami, calligraphy, cooking, language arts, singing, and much more. The program closes with an Open House showcasing the cultural skills acquired by the students, a raffle, and potluck dinner. Gakko is held at the Watsonville Buddhist Temple and is a parent-cooperative venture, thriving on the support from all the children’s families and the generosity of the classroom and resource-specific senseis.


Registration will open in February for the 2020 summer session. Gakko is available for children who have completed kindergarten through the 6th grade (by June 2020).

School Dates: June 22 through July 2, 2020.
Location: Watsonville Buddhist Temple, 423 Bridge Street, Watsonville.
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.