For families living in or relocating to Japan, one of the biggest decisions is where to send their children to school. Particularly for those that are here only temporarily, Japanese schools present a huge barrier, both in terms of language and culture, as well as in terms of transferring the curriculum to a school abroad in the future. For this very reason, Tokyo’s international schools, as well as organizations that provide after-school and weekend programs for international children, are hugely popular with both expat and bicultural families. While many are country-specific in terms of curriculum, there are others that cater to children of virtually any background. Choosing the right school can be a daunting and laborious task, but read on to make that task a little simpler…
Saint Maur International School
Saint Maur International School is the oldest international school in Japan, with a caring and leading curriculum within excellent, modern and wellkept facilities. It was established in 1872, but still retains the pioneering spirit of ‘always answering a call’ in need. The school has a student body representing over 30 nationalities and staff from over 15 countries. It continues to offer quality education within a caring family environment to students from the international community of all genders, nationalities and religious denominations from the age of 2.5 (pre-kindergarten) through to 18+ (high school). In 2007 Saint Maur also established a French section in response to community needs and to support foreign businesses in Japan.
For more information call 045-641-5751 or visit www.stmaur.ac.jp
International Secondary School
The International Secondary School (ISS) is a non-profit, co-educational school providing a customized international education for exceptional, diverse, and at-risk students in grades 5 to 12. ISS has been very effective working with and supporting students who have had challenges limit their experiences and achievement in other schools. One of the school’s strengths is its ability to develop individualized programs that cater to each student, while providing small classes, highly trained teachers and a warm environment. ISS gives every student the respect, support and encouragement necessary to grow and succeed. Check out ISS’s workshop for supporting people with autism on April 23 and 24, and its open house on March 22.
For more information call 03-5730-1331 or visit www.isstokyo.org
English Studio Founded in 1985, English Studio consists of three unique schools in Mita, Meguro and Setagaya, as well as an English emersion international kindergarten (ESIK) based at the Meguro school. The school’s mission is to nurture confident, independent global communicators. By offering a range of theme-based courses for all levels, from beginner to returnee, the school places the focus on learning in English rather than rote learning of English. English Studio is a community school where students and parents feel a sense of ownership and get actively involved in events such as sports days, school festivals, Halloween, Christmas, and summer school excursions.
For more information call 03-3798-5829 or visit www.englishstudio.jp
Columbia International School
Columbia I.S. is situated on a spacious campus with expansive outdoor fields, a professional size gym, senior, junior and elementary buildings, and dormitories for girls and boys. The school is surrounded by abundant lush natural resources and is located just outside of Tokyo, easily accessible from the city by train or car. Columbia regards its highly accredited academic programs as one of its finest features, with accreditation from the Ministry of Ontario, Canada as an Ontario Overseas School, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (W.A.S.C.), and expected accreditation from the Japanese Ministry of Education. Columbia I.S. is the perfect choice for students looking for acceptance to top universities globally. The faculty encourages international families to become a part of their community, and challenges students to ‘step toward their bright future.’
For more information call 04-2946-1911 or visit www.columbia-ca.co.jp
British Football Academy
The British Football Academy has soccer classes that cater to all children, of mixed ability, between the ages of 3 and 12 years old. An interest in the sport is the only prerequisite. The school’s British coaches, all trained and qualified by the English Football Association, use approved coaching methodologies to deliver a fun, structured, skill-based coaching curriculum, within a multicultural, co-ed, friendly, energetic and productive environment. ‘Football fun for all’ is the maxim that underpins everything the staff do within the British Football Academy. Sessions take place at four different locations in Tokyo and one in Yokohama on a weekly basis throughout the year.
For more information call 03-3770-0288 or visit www.footyjapan.com/bfat
Evergreen Outdoor Center Education
Evergreen Outdoor Center Education and exploration in the outdoors is the passion of the staff at Evergreen Outdoor Center. Hands-on activities that cater to any age group, ecological studies, team building programs, and specialized school camps are just a few of the programs on offer. With a scenic lakeside spring and summer base, schools and groups can really feel like they are ‘getting away from it all’ while learning and playing in nature. The friendly, professional guides and instructors aim to allow for the growth and development of the human spirit through personal interaction with the natural environment, physical challenge, and team work, with a strong emphasis on individual needs and safety.
For more information call 0261-72-5150 or visit www.evergreen-hakuba.com
The American School in Japan
At The American School in Japan, students learn from the experts. Newbery Award-winning author Jack Gantos visits ASIJ this March to work with young writers. Known for his humorous books for children and characters such as Rotten Ralph and Joey Pigza, Gantos makes a third visit to ASIJ and follows other illustrious speakers such as President George H. Bush, Colin Powell, Herbie Hancock, and Yo Yo Ma. In April, as part of ASIJ’s Scholar in Residence program, author Alan Gratz (Samurai Shortstop) will offer a six-week intensive writing session, while Dr. Robin Bradbeer of Hong Kong University will visit later in the year to work with ASIJ’s robotics and marine science classes.
For more information call 0422-3453-00 or visit www.asij.ac.jp
New International School
New International School was established for the direct benefit of long term residents and international families in Tokyo, regardless of nationality. The school is child-centered like Montessori education, thematically integrated like PYP education, and highly social, as inspired by a Vygotskian approach to education and language acquisition. The children develop social and academic skills in both English and Japanese in spacious and well-resourced classrooms supported by developmental continuums and child-centered curriculum guidelines. Music, drama, and the visual arts are celebrated with an abundance of presentations and performances by children of all ages. Graduates go to international high schools, Japanese private high schools, or boarding or day schools abroad.
For more information call 03-3980-1057 or visit www.newinternationalschool.com
At Gymboree Play & Music, children learn as they play. Designed by experts, Gymboree’s age-appropriate activities aim to develop the cognitive, physical, and social skills of children in a fun and comfortable environment. Excluding special drop-off programs for children aged 2.5 to 5, all programs require parent involvement and encourage parents to participate in and understand their child’s development. In addition to Gymboree’s unique classes, the school offers daily ‘playgyms,’ where members can enjoy free play in the spacious gym room. A flexible cancel, make-up and class transfer policy makes it easy for parents to adapt their child’s class schedule to their changing needs. Drop in for a free trial class and see why families around the world love Gymboree.
For more information call 03-5449-2311 or visit www.gymboree.jp
Seisen International School
Seisen International School in Tokyo’s Setagaya ward is a Catholic, college-preparatory, girls’ day school with a co-educational kindergarten. Students of all races, nationalities and faiths are challenged in moral, physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional development. The three-year Montessori kindergarten is designed to take full advantage of the selfmotivation and sensitivity of each child. The elementary school offers the inquiry-based Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization. The high school’s rigorous academic program prepares students for college with the IB Diploma Programme and selected IGCSE exams. Many extracurricular activities in sports and fine arts are available at all levels. Seisen is accredited by CIS and NEASC.
For more information call 03-3704-2661 or visit www.seisen.com
Canyons Adventure Centre
Learning to enjoy the outdoors is an essential part of growing up. At Canyons Adventure Centre in Minakami, the staff are all about quality outdoor experiences throughout the four seasons, and Canyons Alpine Lodge is the perfect family base for a mix of excitement and relaxation. The professional crew of international guides and instructors are incredibly entertaining with both kids and kids at heart (adults). In the summer the main tours are canyoning and whitewater rafting. In the winter season Canyons offers skiing and snowboarding lessons in English, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and backcountry touring. Try all of this and more during the Spring Break Getaway from March 22 to 28.
For more information call 0278-72-2811 or visit www.canyons.jp
Summerhill International School
The Summerhill Studies Series is an exciting series of afternoon programs that address popular student needs. The school offers English lessons for beginners, art for kids, advanced English, and homework help, as well as Japanese for beginners. Each program is available on a one-on-one or group basis. The programs are designed for children between the ages of 4 and 12 years old, and are taught by qualified teaching specialists each trained in their fields of instruction. The school is conveniently located in Moto-Azabu, close to many embassies, offices and international-style housing complexes, and just a short walk from both Hiroo and Azabu Juban stations.
For more information call 03-3453-0811 or visit www.summerhill.jp
Aoba-Japan International School
With two Tokyo campuses, classes for pre-kinder to grade nine students, and bilingual education in English and Japanese, Aoba-Japan International School is well equipped to provide a high quality education to students of diverse backgrounds. Over 30 nationalities are represented in the student body, and students with little to no English ability are accepted and supported through homeroom-based intensive language study programs. Aoba is also a leader in mathematics and has a popular beginning band program and flexible independent study programs. The school is now accepting applications for enrollment to its Meguro and Suginami campuses for 2010 and 2011.
For more information call 03-3335-6620 or visit www.aobajapan.jp
Yoyogi International School
The mission of Yoyogi International School is to nurture yet challenge the talents of each individual child. Established in 1999 and a member of the Council of International Schools, the school has been committed to providing children in the international community a high-quality early childhood education. With an enrollment of 165 students from more than 30 countries, Yoyogi I.S. is now one of the most reputable international kindergartens in Tokyo. The school offers classes to children aged 18 months to 6 years, with programs based on a grade school preparatory international curriculum that prepares children to make a smooth transition to both British and US education systems.
For more information call 03-5478-6714 or visit www.yoyogiinternationalschool.com