A circle called "JOY Circle" was formed by Deaf children, the parents and teachers of the Deaf in May, 2010. It has been held regularly in Saga City, Saga Prefecture, a part of the southern island of Japan. The members join various activities such as a friendship exchange, a outdoors cooking class once every two months.
Because the chance that the Deaf children play with other children of the same age group is few, the circle was formed to secure the place for socialization. The members are calling those parents, who may be worried about where their child play, or who feel anxious about bringing up a child, to participate in the group.
About 20 people including Deaf children with hearing aids, their parents came to the classroom at the prefecture school for the deaf in the city on November 27, 2010. The children introduced themselves by using sign language and the finger spelling. They enjoyed making the boomerang made of the paper or the paper dragon and flying it.
The number of children enrolled in the prefecture school decreases every year. It has decreased from 63 children in 1985 to 32 in 2010. It is common for a class with only one student.
MORI Shota (12), a sixth grader, and his mother Sayoko (42) participated in the circle activity. They were happy, and mother said, "We were glad to have a place that we can be relaxed on on holiday". She says that her son hardly feel comfortable with the neighborhood kids, and used to stay home alone all day". Many parents comment that it is good for their Deaf children to come to the circle and play one another, which they really love to.
TSURUTA Atsushi (34), a teacher of the school for the deaf who acts as a circle leader, spoke, "We would like to make the circle a place where the children can build the interpersonal relationship while meeting other children and playing with them".