What is the name of your child's school? (Please report on one school per survey.)
New International School of Japan
In what town or city is this school located?
How would you describe this school? (i.e. American, British, International, Local, etc.)
International, Dual Language and Multi-age
What grade levels are represented at this school?
PreK age 3 o Grade 10. The previous reviewer said K to 10, which is not correct)
How do most children get to school everyday? (bus, train, walk, etc.)
Train, car, school bus, or bicycle.
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
I am a former parent. The classrooms, resources and staff were great, with several computers and an interactive whiteboard in each homeroom, two homeroom teachers per class, dozens of musical instruments--my child learned to play the violin as did all of the children from age 8 or 9 (now I think it is from age 6), an extensive library, and so on. No field, but there was a play area on the roof of one of the buildings and the kids had PE, TaeKwondo and the younger ones went to parks as well.. For a city school, not bad.
What has this school done to help your child transition from the curriculum in your home
country into the curriculum in your new country? Are there programs to prepare your child for repatriation?
My son was there several years, became completely bilingual in English and Japanese, and later went to school in the States. He had no particular problem transitioning. His friends, whom he still has contact with, "ended up" at schools like Mount Holyoke College, Waseda University, the University of Birmingham in the UK, Seoul National University, Carnegie Melon Universiity,, and others. How the previous reviewer could say the children "end up" weak in both languages is beyond me. Through middle school is not ending up anywhere--they are obviously en route-- and some were already quite strong in both languages by the time they graduated. Most importantly, they also had social skills, I think from the multi-age..
How would you describe the social activities available for parents through this school? Are there parent-teacher organizations?
There was no PTA but parents could participate in different ways, often related to the themes the children were studying, they could go on field trips with the children, offer clubs, and so forth. I understand that now the school has seminars every month as well.
There were lots of after school activities, some given by parents. Japanese was not at all the only language spoken, though the social language of the school was more Japanese than English depending on the students. (The school didn't require the children to speak English). When my son was there, maybe about 50 or 60% of the children were Japanese or had one Japanese parent, which was OK by me. I think not so different from most of the schools in Tokyo except for the ones with specific policies to restrict the number of such students.
The only downside for us were a few negative parents who tended to be more vocal than the positive ones. I suspect they would be the same no matter where they went. And, yes, I would probably be the same, too-- selecting the school carefully and then emphasizing the positive.
What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling their child in this school?
Visit first if possible, and any other school you may be interested in. I thought the previous reviewer was extremely unfair to the school and did not even care to get the facts straight, which is why I decided to write this review. Whether the school is right for an expat would depend on the expat. Obviously this one is not appropriate for someone wanting a monolingual education, but there were a number of sabbatical families at the school only for a year and they mostly found it a positive experience.. I visited several of the international schools in Tokyo myself and I thought this one was by far the most interesting and innovative. It depends on what one wants.