Hirayasu Yochien

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.

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CONTRIBUTED BY STACY HAWLEY

Hirayasuyochien

Name of School: Hirayasu Yochien
Address: 346 Noborimata, Nakagusuku-son, Nakagami-gun
Phone: 098-895-6655
Website: www.hirayasu.ed.jp (in Japanese)
Ages Accepted: preschool (3 to 5)

Ages of Your Kid(s) in this School: 3

Admissions/Enrollment:

Is enrollment open/year-round enrollment or per semester? Enrollment is only once a year. Last year I signed up my son and paid the registration fee (300.00?) in November- so that he could start school in April.

Does my child have to be potty-trained to attend? No. Actually they do a fabulous job of training them. They also taught him to dress himself.

Can I bring my child in for a pre-enrollment visit? Sure. There is one teacher that speaks English, so it is best to go through him for your correspondence with the school.

Days and hours:

What are the school’s hours? You can drop off as early as 7:30- at that time kids are outside- but the actual school day starts at 9:00.

Is the school on a Japanese or American schedule? It’s on a Japanese schedule- with Japanese holidays. My son has also been off from school for all of August.

How flexible is the school with pickup and drop-off times?  Drop off is flexible-pick up time is 2:00. At that time, the part time kids are getting ready to go home- and the full time kids are preparing for naptime.

Costs:

What are the registration fees? (I think I paid around 300.00 to hold his space as well as his registration fee)

What are the tuition fees? 26000 (around 260.00 per month- part time, Mon-Fri)

If any, what are the assessment and school supplies fees? I want to say that I plunked down about 300.00 for school supplies (really cool stuff- as well as his summer and winter uniforms).

Is there a late-pickup fee? Not that I am aware of.

How and when does the school require payment (in yen, dollars, etc.)? They require payment in yen, monthly- by the 5th of each month.

Parent Involvement and Interaction:

Does the school encourage spontaneous visits from parents? Yes. It’s a busy and lively place. Parents can also volunteer to read on Tuesdays. They also expect/hope that parents will volunteer with one major festival throughout the year. There is a summer festival (9/6), Sports day, Winter festival (12/20), Music Festival (2/21) and a Bazaar (11/15- where I went to buy some used uniforms).

How do you communicate with parents? Is there a regular newsletter, or a notice board? It’s entirely in Japanese. You need your own translator- or have a laissez faire approach.

Is there a daily report or other process for informing parents of what children did during the day (naps, BMs, snacks, etc.)?  They have a daily record book of BM’s, child’s temperature, mood, hours of sleep, etc. but again, it’s in Japanese. Again, laissez faire here.

Are there parent/teacher conferences? Yes. An English-speaking teacher will be there.

Classroom Structure and Size:

How are the kids grouped? By age

What’s the teacher-child ratio in each group? 15 with a teacher and two -aides

How many full-time teachers do you have? I think it goes up to Kindergarten.

What is the school’s educational philosophy?  Is the school program developmentally-based or does it have an academic focus? I’d say it’s a healthy mix of both- but more of a traditional Japanese school (so I have been told).

Is there a playground for the children to play on? Yes. It’s outdoors and quite large. They also have a goat!

What do the children do on any given day? What’s the general schedule/routine? Morning- PE time, they have music (with the piano and the kids are taught rhythm as well as to feel the emotions in the music)…Example: scary sounds: be a shark. They also play a 3 colored harmonica. They also work on memorizing flags of the world, various art projects, reading your name in Kanji, etc. They also eat a really healthy Japanese lunch every day.

Are there extracurricular activities or field trips? Field trips this year- potato digging in October.

Final Comments or Observations about the School:

Things that I appreciate:

  • My son LOVES healthy Japanese food
  • He’s learning great routines
  • He’s soaking up Japanese
  • He’s learned to adapt to an intense environment

Things that are hard and real:

  • I have to be okay with the fact that I don’t always know what’s going on
  • It is stressful to be the only kid who speaks English in your class
  • He has “two lives”- he definitely interacts differently with his Japanese classmates, as opposed to is American friends
  • I feel that it’s important for him to have an English social life outside of school- so there is work in keeping him involved in other activities

Directions: If you leave the Legion gate out of Foster, go straight across the intersection (with the lights). You will make your first right (across a busy street of traffic) and head straight. The expressway will be on your left side. Pass the expressway entrance, keep going straight. There will be a light. Veer left (you will have a mountain on your right, expressway still on your left). Look out on your left hand side- you’ll see a school that had a pencil top roof. There will be a large red sign (I think it says Hirayasu in kanji- turn left into a huge dirt lot). There you are!


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13 Comments
  • July 10, 2013

    Hi Katrina,
    Welcome to Okinawa! Just got your response today. After visiting and comparing several preschools ( including Busy Little Bumblebees) we chose Golden Mind Achievers International. We felt its the right fit for our us. He started this week and loves it. The staff and owner of the school are very caring. Good luck and hope you find the fit for you and your son.

    Tel
    Reply
  • June 27, 2013

    Hi Tel,
    We just got here yesterday and are looking at a school tomorrow, Early Learners International School (http://www.elisokinawa.com) and also Busy Little Bumblebees Preschool (http://busylittlebumblebees.com/home). I’ll let you know once I look at them!
    Katrina

    Katrina
    Reply
    • December 12, 2013

      Hi Katrina – we are moving to the island this month and I was wondering what your opinion was of early learners international school? It is one of the schools I have in mind for my 4 year old

      Allison
      Reply
  • June 27, 2013

    @Katrina, Any luck at finding a pre-school for your son? My son will be 4 also this July and I’ve been searching for an off base preschool close to Kadena. So far I narrowed it down to this school, Santa Monica Int. and Rainbow Montessori of places to go visit.

    Tel
    Reply
  • March 27, 2013

    Hi all,

    My son and I will be PCSing to Kadena the end of June and I have been looking for a school for my son. He’ll be 4 in July; how far away from Kadena Air Base is this school? Their website doesn’t translate very well (according to Google) and I was wondering what the earliest we can drop our children off…if possible I’d like information on a “full” day since I am active duty, single parent. Any information is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!
    Katrina

    Katrina
    Reply
  • June 21, 2011

    Can anyone post decent directions to this school? If it helps, we live on KAB.

    Min
    Reply
  • February 22, 2011

    This message is for Ron Simms, I was just at this school today and it appears that the classes for my sons age (he’s 3) is full and there appears to be 9 kids on the wait list. Do you know if there is any chance of being able to get in? Do you happen to know of any other yocheins? This is our last year here on Okinawa, and I really really want my son to be able to attend one somewhere. It’ll be such a great experience. I really liked this school when I visited. It seems like such a great school, but I feel as if there is nothing that I can do, and with me being lost w/the language and not knowing the process I feel even more at a loss. I just want to see how I can get him enrolled in one. I’m hoping it’s not too late. Any help on the subject would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.

    Jessica

    Jessica
    Reply
  • July 1, 2010

    I am currently the English teacher at this school. The encho sensei (principal), as well as her mother and sister (it’s a family run school) understand English pretty well and speak it decently too. Otherwise I’m there from 10:00am to 2:30 pm M-F.

    Reply
  • February 20, 2010

    Does somebody know the youngest age this school accepts? Also, are there any Japanese preschools that take 2 year old?

    Michele
    Reply
  • October 14, 2009

    You can probably contact Mami here:

    http://www.simplyokinawa.com/Welcome.html

    She does that sort of thing for a living.

    Snuff
    Reply
  • October 11, 2009

    Our family will be moving to Okinawa in late spring. I have a son who will be just over 3 years old when we arrive. I heard about the yochien from a friend, and would love to find out more information about the school and the process of getting registered and enrolled. What is the best way to contact the English speaking teacher at the school?

    Sarah
    Reply
  • May 14, 2009

    I’m really interested in putting my son in a japanese school but the directions to the school are not very good. Is there a better version of directions? Thanks for your help!

    Gail
    Reply
  • August 17, 2008

    thanks for the info.

    Rene
    Reply