For all you parents looking for a preschool that suits your kids, we’re hoping to add a little something to aid in your search. Parents of children who attend various preschools on island have filled out a series of questions about the schools for the benefit of the rest of us. We welcome more than one voice on each school since everyone has a different experience, so please feel free to add in your two cents in the comments.
CONTRIBUTED BY SARA
Name of School: AI International Preschool
Ages of Your Kid(s) in this School: 3.5
-What is the maximum number of students that your school has? Not sure
-What is the current number of students? In the 3 yr old class there are approx. 15 children
-Is enrollment open/year-round enrollment or per semester? Year round
-Does my child have to be potty-trained to attend? Mine was potty trained when she started but there are a few in the class that are still learning and they do a great job with that.
-Can I bring my child in for a pre-enrollment visit? Yes I brought my daughter in 2 times before she started to give her a feel for how it would be.
Days and hours:
-What are the school’s hours? 6am to 6pm, I believe
-Is the school on a Japanese or American schedule? A mix of both, the principal is Japanese but married to an American so the schedule reflects this, but they are surprisingly accommodating and school is only closed for ‘Major’ holidays.
-How flexible is the school with pickup and drop-off times? Very flexible. I never had a problem picking her up early or bringing her in late for appointments etc.
-What are the registration fees? When I registered it was $50.
-What are the tuition fees? My daughter is in program #1 which is 2x/week 9-1230 (you pick the days) and the fee is $80/month. It goes up to Program #4 which is 5x/week all day so you can really tailor the schedule to fit your needs. There is also optional school lunch program. It is Japanese food and my daughter loves it which surprised me pleasantly. That costs an additional 250 yen per day.
-If any, what are the assessment and school supplies fees? Every 3 or 4 months there is a short list of supplies that each child has to bring in (usually costs less than $20.)
-Are any discounts offered for referrals, siblings, volunteering, working there, etc.? I am not sure.
-Is there a late-pickup fee? Yes, I don’t know the exact fee since I have never had to do this. I know they offer before and after care and they have a program called ‘Gakudo’ (I think) that is an after school program.
-How and when does the school require payment (in yen, dollars, etc.)? Within the first week of the month they accept Yen or Dollars.
Parent Involvement and Interaction:
-Does the school encourage spontaneous visits from parents? I have come by unannounced a few times and none of the teachers minded as long as I did not come in and interrupt the class.
-How do you communicate with parents? Is there a regular newsletter, or a notice board? There are newsletters that go out in the beginning of every new month along with a calendar and lunch menu.
-Is there a daily report or other process for informing parents of what children did during the day (naps, BMs, snacks, etc.)? Each child has a ‘notebook’ that the teacher writes in the activities of the day and parents are encouraged to write in it to communicate with teachers and also to bring up any concerns.
-Are there parent/teacher conferences? I have never had a ‘conference’ but there are “parent days’ every once in a while where we go to school with the kids for a short period of time and go through their daily activities with them. Classroom Structure and Size: -How are the kids grouped? grouped by age
-What's the teacher-child ratio in each group? For the 3 yr olds in a group of 15-20 there are usually 3 teachers sometimes 4.
-How many full-time teachers do you have? How many assistants? In the 3 yr old class there are 4 teachers and 2 assistants, total (they rotate days).
-What is the school's educational philosophy? Is the school program developmentally-based or does it have an academic focus? The principal believes in Montessori theory and it is a good mix of both developmental and academic. There are different days of the week that are set aside for each ‘academic’ subject and they have developmental activities throughout the rest of the day.
-Is there a playground for the children to play on? There is a large playground in the back with a roller slide that goes down from the 2nd floor to the playground which the kids LOVE. They are also very close to many neighborhood parks including Araha (pirate ship park) and they walk there occasionally.
-What do the children do on any given day? What’s the general schedule/routine? They have greetings and circle time in the morning and they have ‘academic class’ then lunch followed by outdoor time and free play. They also do crafts and some singing and dance in the afternoons.
-Are there extracurricular activities or field trips? They have occasional ‘field trips’ to the library or nearby parks.
-How does the school discipline children? They usually try to guide the children to resolve conflicts on their own but if a child gets out of hand they do a time out/ quiet time.
-How does the school comfort children? All of the teachers are very loving and SO good at comforting kids that are shy/nervous etc. My daughter had a tough time adjusting at first and they never hesitated to talk to her and engage her in an activity that made her comfortable and love staying there and wanting to come back everyday!
Final Comments or Observations about the School:
I cannot say enough good things about this school. My daughter loves it and it is very interactive. I feel very aware of everything that goes on there. The principal is always in and out of the classes everyday and she is very involved with the children and the parents. Any problem that I have ever had was handled so quickly I was amazed. This school is very flexible in all aspects which works very well for me since my schedule changes frequently, but they manage to remain flexible without compromising the security and comfort of the children.
Note: This post has been edited from its original query asking for reader feedback about Ai Preschool. The template filled out above was taken from a reader's comments and added in place of the original post for ease of reading. Thanks!