Seisen International School
Seisen International School (SIS), founded in 1949, is an all-girls, Catholic school. Students and faculty from over sixty countries are represented at Seisen, with English being the main language of instruction. Seisen International School offers Montessori Kindergarten for boys and girls aged 3 to 5.
The school has grown since its first Montessori kindergarten class of four students in 1949 to its now approximately 725 K-12 students. The coeducational kindergarten school embraces the inquiry-based teaching approach central to the Montessori philosophy, which allows for and recognizes differences in learning styles and pace, as well as comingles age groups, so that children between three and five are all mixed in classes together. This gives older children an opportunity to learn how to look after themselves and others, and younger children a chance to learn to socialize. In addition, the Montessori program prepares the children for first grade in the elementary school’s Primary Years Program (PYP). In turn, the PYP prepares students for the highly challenging and internationally competitive IB program, which offers college credit for certain courses that can be applied to a student’s course credit count at university. Of the first to twelfth grade teachers, about sixty percent have a master’s degree or higher, an invaluable resource for helping to prepare students for university. All the kindergarten teachers are certified in the Montessori program.
While appreciating the representation of many different countries is an important part of the learning, so is recognizing the country in which the children live. Japanese language classes are required for grades 1-6, with the option for them to continue in junior high and high school. Once students reach junior high, they also have the option of choosing to study French or Spanish. In addition, from the first grade on, in accordance with the school’s Catholic affiliation, the curriculum includes a religious course; however, students may choose a Catholic, Christian, or multi-faith class, described as a sort of ethics course. The most popular choice is currently Christian, followed by multi-faith, and then Catholic. Given the range of instruction available, children of all spiritual backgrounds are able to integrate easily into the diverse student body.
A full range of extra-curricular sports and academic activities is available.
There are 35 general classrooms, 3 indoor playrooms, a multipurpose room and a kindergarten hall.
In addition to classrooms, the facilities include three science laboratories (for biology, chemistry, and physics classes), a cafeteria, a drama room, a music room, an art room, a pottery room, a media center, and a computer center which includes a large computer classroom, a smaller, drop-in computer lab which is available both during and after school, and an Information Technology room. The school has an infirmary and a full-time nurse on duty. The facilities also include a convent building and a chapel.
While there are a range of international schools available in Tokyo, Seisen International School offers an option for each level of schooling for girls as well as an adaptive Montessori kindergarten for boys and girls. The strong academics and IB program helps students in families who are planning to leave Japan some day, or who had been outside Japan previously, maintain a continuity in education format while also supporting the students and their families alike at all school levels.