Encouraging uniqueness through international understandings
by Marie Teather
Coming up on it’s 10th anniversary, PAL International School is one of the oldest and longest running English speaking pre-schools in Minato-ku. With dozens of other schools to compete with in the district, PAL continues to thrive as the place to develop your kid’s pre-elementary school needs. So what has been keeping the parents and kids happy over the past decade?
Perhaps it’s the impressively low teacher to student ratio of which the school boasts. At one teacher for every two students under the age of two, one to six for the under four age group and increasing to just one to seven for pre-elementary groups, parents are assured their little ones are getting the personal encouragement and support that each child needs.
At PAL, maximizing personal attention has encouraged kids to express their specific needs and allows the qualified teachers to design stimulating and individualized scholastic programs.
With over 50 percent of PAL students from overseas and the remainder being generally kids of a multi-cultural background, students are taught to embrace the differences in each other; learning mutual admiration in an international setting. Unlike many other international schools however, PAL does not neglect multi-cultural learning. As the school walls are encompassed by a Japanese society, festivals such as Hina-no-matsuri (dolls festival), and Mamemaki (bean throwing ceremony) are a fixture on the school calendar, just as in the rest of Japan. Japanese songs, all important survival Japanese phrases, and learning manners—essential for allowing a child to be accepted into and to appreciate life in Japan—are all part of the syllabus at PAL.
And, it’s never too early to start! Rockin’ Horse class welcomes young learners from just 18 months to two years of age, Trike class— up to three years of age, and Bike for those around four years old. Completing pre-school education is the Unicycle class, which will focus on students’ future needs and train each child accordingly, to create a successful post-PAL tomorrow at elementary school.
Pre-school lessons run daily from 9am–1:30pm and to encourage students from Japanese kindergarten or elementary school to join in the fun, there are the afternoon Awesome Ants and Cool Cricket classes. Here children are given the opportunity to experience a different culture through songs, games, arts and craft—all within an English-speaking environment.
Recent events at the school, a spacious three-storey house behind Arisugawa Park in Hiroo, have included Mothers Days activities, a field trip to Tama Zoo, and pot-luck lunch parties where all parents are encouraged to join in.
PAL’s philosophy is to ‘strive to respect each child’s individuality and uniqueness’ and in the cross-cultural environment that is Minato-ku, parents and kids will surely continue to appreciate this refreshing ideology for years to come.
PAL International School is always open for a free trial lesson. Please contact the school directly at 03-5770-8166 or see www.pal-school.com for more details.