Our Kindergarten Program, available to children aged 3 to 6, is a bilingual, developmentally appropriate and child-centered learning program with an emphasis on active learning through play and guided inquiry.
We are committed to providing students in the Kindergarten Program with choice, voice and ownership in their learning in a safe, nurturing and supportive environment. Our small class size (each class has two homeroom teachers with a maximum of 20 students) ensures that learning is personalized to meet the needs, strengths, and interests of each child.
The Kindergarten curriculum is based on the English Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP), and is designed to foster the skills, knowledge and dispositions that will support our students throughout their time at school and beyond, as they become lifelong learners.
Fostering Student Well-being
The physical and emotional well-being of all students is pivotal to the Kindergarten Program. Emotionally and physically healthy children are happier, more resilient, and more likely to form positive relationships.
Well-being is essential for lifelong success and is closely linked to learning. We are committed to providing a caring and supportive environment to ensure the emotional and physical well-being of every student.
Learning Through Play
We believe that active, experiential, structured play is critical for learning in early childhood. Through play, children make meaning of the world around them, learn how to solve problems and think critically.
Play also supports the development of children’s social and self-management skills as well as their fine and gross motor skills.
Young children are natural inquirers. Asking questions is one of the ways in which children make sense of the world and their place in it. The Kindergarten Program uses this natural inquisitiveness as a basis for learning throughout the day.
This approach to learning is embedded in our Units of Inquiry in which children explore a big idea or meaningful concept through guided inquiry over a period 7–12 weeks.
Nurturing Global Citizenship
In the Kindergarten Program, we are committed to actively fostering international-mindedness in our students. We aim to inspire our students to act as responsible and open-minded participants in a global society. Intercultural understanding is nurtured by the diverse cultural backgrounds of our learning community—both students and teachers—as they interact, share their different perspectives, and learn from each other.
The development of global citizenship is also embedded into our Units of Inquiry and nurtured through a variety of cultural events held throughout the year and directly through our bilingual curriculum. Additionally, students have the opportunity to learn French and Chinese in our after-school program.
Supporting Learner Agency
Children become “agents” of their own learning when they are given a voice in the classroom, choice in how they learn, and ownership of their learning. In the Kindergarten Program, we value students as active participants in the learning community.
We view students as co-collaborators who help co-construct learning experiences and the learning environment with their peers and teachers.
Bilingualism is central to the Kindergarten Program. We view language learning as a means of expressing and affirming cultural identity and developing international-mindedness.
Students in the Kindergarten Program spend part of their time at school learning in English and part of their time learning in Japanese. Students learn in a fully immersive environment, fostering proficiency in both languages. Learning experiences and content are closely aligned in both English and Japanese (e.g., Units of Inquiry and mathematics) to maximize learning and achievement in both languages.
Six Areas of Learning and Development
The Kindergarten Curriculum is divided into six Areas of Learning and Development:
The Importance of Japanese as a Mother Tongue
Although our Kindergarten students come from a variety of language and cultural backgrounds, most of our students speak Japanese as a first language. We recognize the importance of promoting the development of the first language in emergent bilingual children—important in it’s own right and also as a foundation for second language acquisition.
Furthermore, when children are learning Japanese at school, they are also learning about Japanese culture, traditions and history.
Classes conducted in Japanese
Japanese language classes
In Japanese language classes, children communicate with each other and their teachers in Japanese. Students engage in a variety of learning experiences, including shared reading, nursery rhymes, and children’s songs. In addition, children experience traditional Japanese cultural events such as Setsubun and Tanabata, play traditional children’s games, and make crafts related to the seasons.
Children also work on reading and writing Japanese characters (hiragana, katakana, and simple kanji). Additionally, students write picture diaries and letters to classmates and family.
Children will also learn mathematical concepts and skills that they are learning in English classes.
Unit of Inquiry
Children will explore a single theme in both English and Japanese classes through Units of Inquiry. Connecting what the children are learning in both languages helps to strengthen their understanding of new concepts.
K1, K2, K3
(Except for K3 at Kobe, Ashiya and Higashi Osaka campus)
Ashiya & Kobe & Higashi-Osaka K3
About 1 hour (K1 only)
All students are required to bring a healthy snack (e.g., fruit, rice balls) to school every day.
*Student will dismissed at 2:30 pm without having snack on short day.
Communication with Parents
We value parents and caregivers as partners in their children’s learning and development. We communicate with parents and caregivers in a variety of ways:
Daily lesson report, communication book, ManageBac (mail), Portfolio & Progress Reports, Class newsletters (each unit), Open Days, Parents and Teachers Conferences