International Schools in Japan. (Special Advertising Section).
From kindergarten to primary, secondary and post-secondary education, Japan is endowed with a plethora of options for international schooling. Whether the size of the school, denomination, gender make-up, sporting facilities, teacher-child ratio, accreditation, staff qualifications, entrance grades, music programs or computer facilities are important to you--and of course, these factors will depend on the age of your child and the length of your stay--you will be sure to find a school to accommodate your needs in Japan.
One of the biggest concerns among newly arrived families in Japan is finding a school that will, in addition to giving your child an important introduction to Japanese culture, allow students to make the transition both from and to schools in foreign countries. Chia Ura, Director of PAL International School, a kindergarten in Tokyo, says PAL aims to alleviate such a common and understandable source of anxiety. Although our prospective students and families usually have a limited time to stay in Japan (2-3 years on average), the parents are naturally concerned about many factors in their child's educational environment. They don't want their child to fall behind their peers in their home country. They also want them to learn something about Japanese culture and Japanese language whilst in Japan," she says.
PAL is one of a number of international schools in Japan where only English is spoken but where the rudiments of Japanese culture are built into the curriculum. "Our school is based on a firm Japanese educational philosophy established by three of the founding members who have more than ten years of experience," continues Ura. "In all classes, only English is spoken, but sometimes we do use Japanese songs or games. Also we do the alphabet, mathematics, and lots of academic study on a daily basis. Prospective students and families choose our school because they can have a 'cross-cultural experience' ," she concludes.
Among early childhood schools, alternative educational methods that focus less on the academic and more on the practical and social growth of the child might be preferred. In this regard, several Montessori schools in Japan offer diverse educational choices. Kodomo no le, or Children's House, is one of the oldest and most highly respected Japanese Montessori schools in Tokyo and was founded nearly 30 years ago by current director and Head Teacher, Kuzuko Hotta. Children's House provides complete Japanese immersion within a Montessori framework and a unique opportunity for children to work and play within an innovative Japanese environment. Most importantly for foreign nationals, all children are welcome, regardless of language ability. In addition to the core curriculum, the teaching program includes art, music and physical education to ensure the focus is not only on the child's cognitive and academic environment, but also his/her emotional, physical and social development.
Though PAL, modeled around Japanese educational philosophies, and Children's House, offering alternative education methods, are representative of Japan's educational diversity, western-style schools, with accreditation from foreign institutions, are a common route for newly arrived expat families who want to maintain the same school environment for their children. St. Mary's International School, for instance, is a typical elementary and secondary boy's school catering to 950 boys from 65 different countries. "The diverse cultural, academic and religious backgrounds of our students culminate in a special spirit of understanding," explains Unryu Haku, Development Manager at St Mary's, of a school that successfully fuses Western education methods into a polyglot teaching environment. St Mary's, along with the American School in Japan, which offers an American-style curriculum for students from age 3 to grade 12, is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). St Mary's also has ac creditation from the ECIS (European Council of International Schools), while ASIJ's early childhood program is the only preschool program in Tokyo to have accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
St Mary's is typical of a number of international schools in Japan that ensure your child's preparation for university by operating according to the strict standards of accrediting associations such as the International Baccalaureate, which forms part of an advanced college preparatory study program. Even at Children's House, all teachers are Montessori Teacher Training certified by Sophia University. International schools in Japan are also mostly affiliated with the JCIS (Japan Council of International Schools), a body established to promote continuity between staff, teachers and administrators working in the international schools community.
The strict accreditation standards conformed to by international schools in Japan has proffered comparatively high academic achievement. According to the ASIJ, their students achieve above-average percentile scores on US-normed standardized tests and engage in classroom work above grade-level expectations. Also, ASIJ's high school offers 17 college-level Advanced Placement courses, and students regularly earn excellent results, with about 98 percent entering university immediately after graduation and attending a range of excellent schools in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and Japan.
Apart from academic credentials, these schools offer open, tolerant, multi-racial environments for students from around the world. "St Mary's aims to blend diverse elements into a unity that will enable our students to obtain a global perspective and respect for one another," says Haku. In a further effort to broaden their students' perspectives, St. Mary's is physically expanding, having purchased land adjacent to the school to embark on a new building project -- a rare feat in space-constrained Tokyo. "We have asked our architects to present a new building model and plan by the end of this year," Haku says.
International schools in Japan have a long and proud tradition. ASIJ is in the midst of its Centennial Celebration and is commemorating its 100th anniversary with a series of events culminating in a gala set for San Francisco in June 2003. With outstanding faculty and facilities, and its welcoming, international school community, ASIJ is known for its challenging college preparatory curriculum, its commitment to Japanese language and cultural studies, and its highly experienced faculty. A well-developed co-curricular program of athletics, music, art, drama, dance, and other special interest activities as well as three gymnasiums, an indoor pool, and two practice fields adds to each student's educational experience. As Headmaster Peter Cooper remarks, "We're very proud of the stellar reputation that ASIJ has earned throughout the world because of its innovative programs, its commitment to technology and its caring faculty. Prospective parents should visit our school to see for themselves how we can help their children to develop their full potential."
Tertiary Schooling and MBAs
Japan also offers significant scope for tertiary schooling in English, whether it be a bachelors degree or an MBA. The McGill MBA Japan program, for instance, has been designed to provide students with a world-class North American style graduate business education that emphasizes the international perspective required by today's top managers. McGill University's Executive MBA program is conducted on Yotsuya Campus of Sophia University, and has been popular with students of various nationalities. The program also aims to provide students with the theoretical knowledge and the practical skills they will need to meet the leadership challenges of the next generation. "McGill MBA Japan is a natural extension of the faculty's mission to deliver educational excellence and innovation in an international environment," says the Director Scott Maltby. "An MBA takes experts from one industry or job function and provides them the opportunity to broaden their management skills, knowledge, experience and networks," Maltby c ontinues. "It gives them the confidence that they're doing the right things in the workplace. It enhances the holder's opportunities for promotion or to find a better job." In today's competitive global business environment, it can be an advantage.
Living, working and studying in Japan also means learning the language, and there are a myriad of institutions that can help. But finding the right one will depend on time, budget and previous ability. For most working people the important thing will be flexibility. In this regard, Ell Language School offers varied schedules for taking classes (i.e. students can choose their own class schedules), and has 14 convenient domestic branches in addition to international ownership branches in England, Australia, Vietnam and Korea. If a person moves to another country, he or she can change the school location while remaining enrolled. In addition, all teachers follow the same teaching methodology, called 'Image Lesson,' so that students are able to learn under the same teaching systems at any school location.
Elsewhere, the Shinjuku Japanese Language Institute (SNG) offers what it calls a "guaranteed path" to Japanese language ability from basic conversation to university level. SNG is one of only 17 Japanese language schools in all of Japan that is certified by the Japanese Ministry of Education to prepare foreign learners of Japanese for entrance into Japanese universities. "Our school focuses on getting our students speaking and understanding conversational Japanese quickly in order to give them the skills they need to survive in Japan," says Eric Bray of SNG's English Operations.
Those with busy lifestyles who want to learn Japanese fast might be asking a lot, but SNG say it's possible. "Using a rapid drilling approach, we familiarize students with even relatively complex grammar from the outset. Due to our unique approach to Japanese grammar, which makes grammar easy to understand for anyone by giving each part of speech a shape and color our students are given the confidence they need to start conversations with native speakers and really learn Japanese," says Bray. Similar to Eli's 'Image Lesson,' SNG's Japanese teaching methodology does not labor over strict vocabulary, but promotes "fun, fast learning and easy understanding through continuous conversations between teachers and students or among students."
At Evergreen Language School, the emphasis is on small, intensive classes so students can progress quickly to business level Japanese, and ultimately, can become eligible for a cultural visa. With students from all over the world studying Japanese at the school, a particular effort is made to give individual, custom-tailored attention, notes Evergreen teacher, Motoko Ogawa. "In proportionately small classes, students will study progressively and teachers will get to know each student individually." Another Evergreen teacher, Mikako Arai, agrees. "Our school is not a large school, so students and teachers are very close and study hard together."
Evergreen has created a thorough teaching program focused around a one-month intensive course. But they also offer a range of part-time programs like these typically offered at other Japanese language schools, including a two days-a-week course, private lessons, lessons at companies or private homes, and a Japanese Language Proficiency Test Preparation Course (September-November). Evergreen also offers Pre-College courses for college and vocational school entrants. According to Evergreen, many students proceed to colleges or professional schools or acquire good positions in Japanese companies and embassies.
For English speakers who need basic business coaching and returnee Japanese speakers looking to further their business education and work in an international environment, there are a number of schools designed for language and business studies in English. New Leaves, for instance, offers business seminars in English aimed at native speakers -- which until now have only been offered in Japanese -- but primarily targets Japanese business people looking to study marketing, mail order or general management in English, including entrepreneurs looking to do business with other countries or Japanese people studying for an MBA.
For expats, bicultural students and returnees, New Leaves also runs weekend seminars in PhotoReading -- a whole-brain approach to speed reading. A student completing this weekend intensive course receives a certificate upon graduation, enabling them to take the course as many times as they wish, anywhere in the world, at no additional cost. New Leaves is the first school in Japan to offer PhotoReading seminars in English, and these have been very successful over the last year. New Leaves' special service is an "immersion weekend" for Japanese people wishing to brush-up their English before going abroad for work, or people who have to deal with foreigners in their business life. In addition, New Leaves plans to offer business coaching and self-development courses in English for expats in the New Year.
Japan's international schools offer a wealth of educational opportunity for expats, multi-racial families and returnees looking to secure an international education at the early childhood, elementary, secondary or post-secondary level. Not only are school students, MBA/university candidates, and language students able to broaden their educational horizons in Japan, but with the right choices, they will also be able to hold their place in an internationally competitive educational environment.
RELATED ARTICLE: ELT Resources
Tools to get the job done right.
One of the biggest gripes heard from ELTs and English conversation teachers is that they are forced to teach with inappropriately designed materials. We do not know who is more frustrated, the teacher or the learner; however, there is hope. We have found a company that is trying to do something about it. Macmillan LanguageHouse. Although they publish effective English language textbooks for the Japanese school market, and a wide selection of self study English textbooks, their best selling item -- the Macmillan English Dictionary -- is the foundation of any language learner.
Peter Schuetz, ELT Sales and Marketing Manager of Macmillan LanguageHouse, tells us of numerous cases of highly capable teachers who have their hands tied because their schools have not given them the proper books or resources. Besides their Macmillan English Dictionary (available for advanced learners in American and British editions), Macmillan has released numerous titles especially developed for young Japanese adult learners who have studied English for a few years yet lack the ability to understand, or the confidence to communicate effectively outside the classroom. "How many people do you know that match that description?" laments Peter. "It is a shame that I didn't have these (holding up a text and the dictionary) 20 years ago when I first got here. We are on our way to relieving much of the pain involved with learning English in this country as well as right across Asia."
Out of the many features inserted into the dictionary to facilitate learning, Macmillan makes a very important distinction between productive words that people need to use all the time in English, and receptive words that they read or hear but do not use, We believe that learners of English should also be using these very common words, and so we have printed them in red in the dictionary, There are 7500 "red" words, and these make up about 90% of all the English that you are likely to read, listen to, write, or speak.
No matter what the latest technology, Peter Schuetz assures us that Macmillan LanguageHouse's mission is to address the needs of learners and educators of English by providing the best English learning and teaching materials, thereby making life easier for both the teacher and, more importantly, the learner.
International Schools in Japan
International Schools The American School in Japan
Chofu Campus (Kindergarten Grade 12), 1-1-1 Nomizu, Chofushi, Tokyo 182-0031
Meguro Campus (Nursery Kindergarten), 2-15-5 Aobadai
Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0042
Tel Chofu Campus 0422-34-5300
Fax Chofu Campus 0422-34-5308
Grades Nursery (Age 3) to Grade 12
Transport 23 buses serve expatriate housing heighborhoods
Aoba-Japan International School
Suginami Campus: 2-10-7, Miyamae, Suginami-ku, Tokyo 168-0081
Meguro Campus: 2-10-34, Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0042
Tel Suginami: 03-3335-6620
Fax Suginami: 03-3332-6930
Students 580 (As of September 2002) (600 from April 2003)
Grades Kindergarten 1 to 4; Elementary to Junior High (Grades 1-9)
Curriculum International, dual language-oriented
Transportation School Bus, Inokashira Line, JR-public bus, Subway-public bus Uniform Yes
The British School in Tokyo
1-21-18 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0002 JAPAN
Grades Nursery to Year 8
Curriculum British National
Transportation Subway, bus, and train
4-1 Koyo-Cho, Naka
Higashinada-ku, Kobe 658-0032
Curriculum Canadian/American, International Baccalaureate attainable with external exams Transport School bus, monorail, train Uniform No
Christian Academy in Japan
1-2-14 Shinkawa-cho, Higashi
Kurume-shi, Tokyo 203-0013, Japan
Curriculum American-style with advanced placement classes available at the high school level
Fukuoka International School
3-18-50 Momochi, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka 814-0006 Japan
Tel 092-841 -7601
Fax 092-841 -7602
Grades Pre-K through 12
Curriculum American-based curriculum
Transport Train, bus
Gregg International School
1-14-6 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku,
Tel 03-3725-8000 or 03-3725-6495
Fax 03-3724-0577 or 03-5701-2554
Grades Age 2 through 6th Grade
Curriculum Standard American early childhood and elementary
Transport Train, bus, subway
Hokkaido International School
1-55, 5-jo 1 9-chome, Hiragishi
Toyohira-ku, Sapporo 062-0935
Fax 011-816 2500
Sex Coed; has a 20-student
dorm for boys and girls
Grades Pre-kindergarten through
Curriculum American and international
Transport Two bus routes, close to subway station
International School of the Sacred Heart
3-1, Hiroo 4-chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0012
Grades K3-12 (Boys in K3-K5)
Curriculum International curriculum
(US, UK, Australian-based)
Transport No school buses, subway nearby
K. International School Tokyo
3-31-5- Higashisuna Koto-ku
Grades Pm-K to Grade 9
Curriculum IB PYP (implementing)
Transport School bus, Toei
Kyoto International School
317 Kitatawara-cho, Nakadachiuri-sagaru, Yoshiyamachi-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8247
URL www, kyoto-is.org
Curriculum UK/US combined curriculum
Transport Public transportation
Marist Brothers International School
1-2-1 Chimori-cho, Suma-ku, Kobe 654-0072
Grades Preschool-Grade 12
Curriculum American/ international
Transport School buses and local trains
Montessori Children's House in Harajuku
202 Grand Mansion Harajuku, 6-18-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Curriculum Montessori method
Uniform T-shirt & trainer
Nagoya International School
2686 Minamihara, Nakashidami, Moriyama-ku, Nagoya 463-0002
Grades Pre-K to 12
Curriculum US (English)
Transport School bus available
Nishimachi International School
2-14-7 Moto Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0046 Japan
Tel 03-3451 -5520
Curriculum American-based, dual language (English/Japanese), multicultural program
Transport Bus, subway (Hiroo and Azabu Juban stations)
Okinawa Christian School International
P.O. Box 6, Yomitan Okinawa, Japan 904-0391
Grades Kindergarten to 12th Grade
Curriculum American-based, biblically integrated curriculum
Transport Bus service available
Osaka International School
4-4-16 Onohara-nishi; Minoh-shi, Osaka 562-0032
Transport School bus
Pal International School
3-5-38 Nishi Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan 106-0031
Grades 18 months-6 yrs old
Transport Train, bus, subway
St. Mary's International School
1-6-19, Seta, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-8668
Grades RP (Pre-1st) to Grade 12
Curriculum U.S. & International Baccalaureate
Transport Futako Tamagawa Stn.
(Hanzomon & Olmachi Lines)
Saint Maur International School
83 Yamate-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama 231-8654, JAPAN
Tel 045 (641) 5751
Fax 045 (641) 6688
Grades Pre-K-1 2
Transport Yokohama City Bus 20 & 21, by train JR Ishikawacho & JR Yamate stations
St.Michael's International School
3-17-2 Nakayamate-dori, Chueku, Kobe, Japan 650-0004
Fax 078-23 1 -8899
Grades Pre-K to Grade Six
(Nursery to Year 7)
Curriculum Based on the British
Transport School buses from
Ashiya and Rokko Island
Seisen International School
12-15 Yoga 1-Chome, Setagayaku, Tokyo 158-0097
Sex Coed Kindergarten, Grades 1-12 girls only
Curriculum US, international
Transport 10 School bus routes
Tohoku International School
7-101-1 Yakata, Izumi-ku, Sendai 981-3214, Japan
Grades K4-Grade 12
Curriculum International (US-based)
Tokyo International Learning Community
6-3-50 Osawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181-0015
Fax 0422-31 -9648
Curriculum American Individual
Transport School bus
Tokyo International School
4-17-26 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0073
Grades Preschool-Elementary school
Curriculum International school
Transport 8 school buses
Tokyo Union Church Preschool/Kindergarten
5-7-7-Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Grades Preschool 2.5 yrs through Kindergarten 5 yrs
Religion Multi denominational
Curriculum Learning through play, Math Their Way, Land of Letter People Kindermusik.
Tsukuba International School
C/o Shuel High School, 151 Shimana, Tsukuba-shi, Ibarakiken, Japan 300-2655
(alternate no. 0298-55-1907)
Curriculum International (combination American and British)
Transport Car pools, school and public buses
Yokohama International Christian Academy
Yokohama Chuo YMCA Bldg. 5F 1-7 Tokiwa-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama 231-8458
Transport 2-minute walk from JR and subway lines
Uniform Dress Code
Yokohama International School
258 Yamate-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama 231-0862 Japan
Grades Nursery to Grade 12
Curriculum International: IB
Diploma/I.G.C.S.E../Primary Years Programme/Reggio Emilia
Transport Public transportation
Uniform Only for elementary
Yoyogi International Preschool/Kindergarten Kindergarten
Suzu Bldg, 3F, 1-15-12, Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku 151-0063
Alshu Yoyogi 3F, 1-12-11, Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku 151-0063
Suzu Bldg, 2-3F, 1-15-12, Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku 151-0063
Fax 03-5478-67 13
Grades 18 months (preschool) to 6 years (kindergarten)
Transport Subway Chiyoda line, Odakyu line, bus
McGill Japan Inc
Sophia University, Building 11, Room 327, 7-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8554
Fax 03-521 5-1 383
Contact Person Scott Maltby (Director), Katsura Iwakura, (Program Coordinator)
Business Hours 10:00 - 17:00 (Weekdays)
Evergreen Language School
1-21-18 Yutenji Meguro-ku Tokyo
Contact Person Sachiko Naito
10:00-1 7:00 (Sat)
Closed on Sun. and national holidays
Eli Kyoiku Joho Kenkyujo
7F S2 Building, 2-15-22 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022
Contact Person Utako Sugimoto (English)
Business Hours 9:30 - 22:00
(Mon -Fri), 9:30 - 17:30 (Sat, Sun and Hols)
New Leaves Ltd.
Minamidai 2-48-23 #202, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164-0014
Contact Person Christine Foskett
Business Hours 10:00-18:00
Shinjuku Japanese Language Institute
9-7, 2 Chome, Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-0075
Contact Person Setsuko Ezoe (Vice Principal), Eric Bray (English Operations)
Business Hours 9:00-18:00 (Mon to Fri; Lunch: 11:3S-12:30), 10:00-17:00 (Sat)
Ryukakusan Building 8F 2-5-12 Higashikanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0031
Contact Person Peter Schuetz
Established in 1986, McMillan
LanguageHouse has become one of the market leaders in the publishing of: 1. English language textbooks for the Japanese school market, especially universities and colleges.
2. Dictionaries: both bilingual (English/Japanese) and monolingual (English) 3. Self-study English textbooks for Japanese students
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|Date:||Jan 1, 2003|
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