International Kinder House

By on July 26, 2009

The first thing that strikes visitors when they enter the International Kinder House is the attention to detail. The founder of this new preschool, Tomoko Nohrenberg, has thought through every aspect, from the carefully chosen wooden toys to the coat hangers, which are color-coordinated to match the rest of the interior. The result is a beautiful bright classroom, which at the same time manages not to overload the senses.


This is key, since pupils of the school in Azabu-Juban will receive much of their mental and intellectual stimulation through another means – music.


While other preschools include music within their syllabus, what sets the Kinder House apart is that its philosophy is built around music. While reading, maths, science and art also form the syllabus, music plays an integral role. “Research shows that music education has a profound impact on brain development,” explains Tomoko. “Learning about note-length helps with maths, playing an instrument helps coordination and developing fine motor-skills.”


For the two- to five-year-olds, there will be music and movement classes, the opportunity to experiment with percussion such as xylophone, glockenspiel, and accordion. They will become familiar with the violin, piano, and guitar through touching and listening and will learn about rhythm and playing musical notes. The older children, from ages three to five, will also be able to take private lessons in the afternoon. Tomoko is a strong advocate for starting music lessons young. “Girls especially have the ability to start learning the piano from the age of three.”


The idea for a music-centered pre-school came to Tomoko after she set up a company, Musik House, to manage classical musicians while living in New York a few years ago. “Many of the musicians were also great teachers, with the ability to be both structured in their teaching and open-minded.” Still running her business, but now from Tokyo, the mum of two is planning on bringing some of her proteges over to give concerts to her pupils during the school’s opening month. 


Aside from morning classes, International Kinder House also has a comprehensive after-school program which will include music, science, art and Japanese as a second language. Separate classes at the weekend for parents in cooking and craft-making are also being considered. 


The relatively small size of the school  (the maximum number of children will be 16, divided into two age-groups) will enable pupils to work together on special projects. “Nowadays, kids expect things to happen very quickly, but I don’t like to do things at such a fast pace. Instead, pupils will work on a project related to a different theme every month. For example, if the theme is dinosaurs, they will have to research the subject through reading, move and make sounds like a dinosaur during movement and sing songs about dinosaurs during circle time. They will have time to practise their playing, produce art displays and make costumes, so at the end of the month they can give a musical recital.” Drumroll please…


The school is closed for the first two weeks of August 2010.

Term starts on August 17, 2010.

E-mail Tomoko at info@the

Phone Tomoko on (03) 3455 5437

Look up International Kinder House at

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