Ohana International School

By on February 27, 2010

There’s a new preschool in town! This month, Tokyo Families talks to Ohana International School’s director, Shelley Sacks.

Being the latest addition to the international schools in central Tokyo, what can you say are the qualities unique to your school?
 The qualities that are unique to our school are many and I suppose the ones that stand out are as follows:
It’s a small school that prides itself on limiting the number of children in each class; that embraces the local community; where glowing sentiments of parents are echoed all around the world; that focuses on eco-friendly equipment (all furniture, classrooms, and office materials have been either sourced from eco-friendly companies or constructed directly from recycled sources); that has an eco-friendly program: Children will sort garbage each day into appropriate containers and, wherever possible, things will be reused in an environmentally friendly way.

In this way, children will learn how to take care of the environment and the world that we live in. We will include activities that promote Japanese culture, respecting and honoring the country that we all live in; regular educational workshops guiding parents and helping them understand Early Childhood Development and appropriate teaching practices (all workshops will be open to the broader community); technology for young children and the benefits of using computers for learning, together with traditional materials; world-class staff – only trained Early Childhood teachers and assistants with experience in Early Childhood settings will be employed. We aim to pay world-class salaries and want quality educators working in our school. We offer after-school tutoring for all ages and have almost a full enrollment already. Even though our school will not initially be recognized by the government as a school, we aim to prove that we are a world-class educational institution with the principles, morals, ethics and ideals of educational institutions recognized all around the world. We want to be an example to all international preschools of how to raise the bar and truly operate as a school in Japan.

What programs/activities are available at Ohana International School?
We are experienced educators who have designed our program to develop the maximum potential emotionally, socially, physically, intellectually and cognitively in all the children who attend our school through: an educational program aimed at teaching children about the environment and how each of us can do something to help “save the world”; early literacy and language activities; math and number games; gross and fine motor activities; art, design & craft activities; science and discovery activities; how to live in the community and embrace difference; and how to express one’s thoughts and feelings in an honourable and respectful way.

What kind of children are welcome in your school?

We are part of the global community and welcome all families and nationalities. We have staff who are qualified in Special Needs and we therefore accept all children. Everyone has something valuable to contribute to the world and we can all learn from one another. We value each and every child and family in our school equally. We believe that school is an extension of the home and believe in working hand in hand with our families. We also value the participation and inclusion of our neighbourhood community in events and other activities.

Tell us about your school days/hours.

Regular day for preschoolers:  8:30am to 2pm. After-school care: 2 to 5pm. After-school activities: 2 to 3pm (drama, music, art with not more than 8 children per group). After-school tutoring: 2:15 to 6pm (hourly – individual or small groups with a maximum of 4 children per group).

Any after-school activities available for children whose parents both work? 

Our after-school care from 2 to 5pm includes activities, music, snacks, story time, and free play.

When do classes start?  How soon should parents sign up their kids to secure placement?

Tutoring started in August 2009 and a few places are available now. The preschool will begin operating from April this year and run through to July with a summer school program to follow in the summer months. The new academic year then commences in August 2010 and parents are recommended to sign up as soon as possible to secure places.

Ohana is having an Open House weekend on March 6 and 7 from 11am to 3pm. All families are welcome.

Ohana International School
2-17-8 Azabu Juban, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0045  
Tel: (03) 3451-0087
Email: International.Sch@gmail.com

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