Koza Seibo Yochien

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Koza_5

CONTRIBUTED BY MEREDITH NOVARIO

Name of School: Koza Seibo Yochien (Click on above photo for more pictures.)
Address: 1-4-1 Kamara, Okinawa City
Phone: 098-937-7065
Website: http://www.osanaki-iezusu.or.jp/kyouiku/kozaseibo07/newpage1.htm (in Japanese)
Ages Accepted: 2 to 5 years

Ages of Your Kid(s) in this School: 2 years old. The school takes children between the ages of .
General Location of School: Out Kadena Gate 2 and left at the 330 intersection. The exact address is

ADMISSIONS/ENROLLMENT:

What is the maximum number of students that your school has? Not sure what the enrollment for the whole school is but Eli’s class has 21 students.

What is the current number of students? The class doesn’t get higher than 21 students. Some kids have left but there is a waiting list and so those vacancies fill up.

Is enrollment open/year-round enrollment or per semester? I’m guessing it’s per semester but perhaps you can get on the waiting list of a particular classroom year round.

Does my child have to be potty-trained to attend? No. But they essentially potty-train them for you. Eli is home on break for summer right now and I thought I’d give the potty-training a go and he just knew what to do and I did NOTHING. Painless.

Can I bring my child in for a pre-enrollment visit? Not sure but they are pretty flexible so my guess is they would let you.

DAYS & HOURS:

What are the school’s hours? For the Angel Class which is the youngest class for the two-year olds begins at 9:00 am. You are free to drop them off between 8:00 and 9:00. Pick-up for them is between 1:30 and 1:45. The older classes have different pick-up times. Also there is an afternoon class or daycare program for kids whose parents work. It’s called the Gloria program. I don’t know the details of that.

Is the school on a Japanese or American schedule? Japanese. The school year begins in April.

How flexible is the school with pickup and drop-off times? I’m not sure. This is a delightfully structured environment. If only my whole life could be this structured! I don’t get the sense that there’s much flexibility here as it’s run as a school more than a daycare.

COSTS:

What are the registration fees? I believe it cost 5,000 yen, around 50 bucks, to hold a spot for Eli.

What are the tuition fees? It costs a smidge of 18,000 yen per month to have Eli in school 4.5 hours a day. Just under 200 bucks. Seriously. SERIOUSLY!

If any, what are the assessment and school supplies fees? The Angel Class is the only one that does not require a uniform and various other knick-knacks. Some things are required. I detailed it once HERE. Much more is required of older kiddos. So there is not supply fee but there is a list of necessary things. Also, we were asked to purchase plastic bags, two boxes of tissue and two bars of soap. Each student buys the same and are used communally throughout the year. GENIUS!

Are any discounts offered for referrals, siblings, volunteering, working there, etc.? Not sure. There is another American woman who has three children in the school. I’ll try to get in touch with her and see what she has to say.

Is there a late-pickup fee? Not sure.

How and when does the school require payment (in yen, dollars, etc.)? Payment is due before the tenth of each month. You will get a payment envelope and there’s a little mailbox for you to slip it in at the school. All payment is in yen.

PARENT INVOLVEMENT & TEACHER INTERACTION:

Does the school encourage spontaneous visits from parents? My guess is no. From April to July we were allowed more freedom as we were mostly all new to leaving our little ones. For example, they allowed me to stay in the classroom for as long as I wanted and come early and such. There is a detailed routine that they do upon getting to the classroom and every step of it makes sense and lends to their overall responsibility. They take off their shoes and put on their room shoes. They put their thermos on the thermos table. They get their attendance book out and put a sticker on the day. They hang their towel on THEIR hook. They put their bag in their cubby right-side up so that the zipper is accessible. They get a toy and sit quietly until nine when school starts. When they return to school in September the parents are no longer allowed to go through their morning routine with them. Just a drop off. So, not sure about the spontaneous visits. I would feel like I was interrupting if I dropped in.

However there is a program that happens monthly during the day where we are encouraged to come and do an activity with the kids. I love that they do this although it’s been in the gym which is not air-conditioned which is some kind of hot when we all get moving about.

How do you communicate with parents? Is there a regular newsletter, or a notice board? There is a monthly newsletter that Kaho KINDLY translates. It includes events and the menu and birthdays and rules or reminders.

Is there a daily report or other process for informing parents of what children did during the day (naps, BMs, snacks, etc.)? No, but they are happy to chat before or after school. The language barrier is huge for me but there are always people who help or body language to rely on.

Are there parent/teacher conferences? I don’t think so but I’m sure if you wanted to chat with them then you could make an appointment.

CLASSROOM STRUCTURE & SIZE:

How are the kids grouped? mixed ages / grouped by age: By age.

What’s the teacher-child ratio in each group? 2 teachers for 21 students. There are other people floating around that seem to help when necessary.

What is the school’s educational philosophy? Is the school program developmentally-based or does it have an academic focus? I’m not sure. There is a lot of routine and tasks done together and individually. Honestly, for Eli’s age I was mostly hoping to give him a chance to be immersed in Japanese culture and language. Furthermore, I wanted him to have social interaction with people other than myself especially while I wasn’t around. I wanted the school to feel welcoming and safe and organized. I wasn’t concerned with an educational philosophy. Lots of people ask how he fares with the language. I don’t know details. I do know that he loves to go back to school most days and that he sings songs in Japanese and that his shyness has lessened a bit. If it’s possible, it just doesn’t seem to bother him or occur to him that it’s in another language. My guess is he compartmentalizes Japanese as school language. And he just goes with the flow.

Is there a playground for the children to play on? Yes.

What do the children do on any given day? What’s the general schedule/routine? Routines and songs and lunch and playing and some praying. This is a Catholic school. We are not Catholic however I’m just as happy to introduce him to the religion as
I am to the language and culture.

Are there extracurricular activities or field trips? Not that I know of. Maybe for the older kids.

How does the school discipline children? I’m not sure if a policy exists. I’ve seen kids get taken for a walk outside the classroom but I’m not sure what discipline happens. Whatever it is, it doesn’t bother Eli. He is happy to be there.

How does the school comfort children? There is hugging and your standard comforting. I do like that they don’t coddle kids too much. When a parent leaves the class and a child cries the teachers give the kids a few minutes to work it out for themselves. If they don’t then the teacher will open her arms to them. I’ve seen the teachers with three crying kids hanging on her.

FINAL COMMENTS & OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE SCHOOL:

Maybe I’ve been vague here. I really don’t know the nitty-gritty details about this school. I do know that I love it and that Eli loves it and that every time I go there I am glad he has this incredible opportunity. He may never have a chance again to be so interjected into a different culture. The teachers and staff are warm and earnest and ready to help in whatever fashion you might need. We’re in Japan for such a short while, I can’t think of a better way to begin teaching Eli about the amazing kinds of culture and language and people and food that all fit so snugly into our world.


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61 Comments
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  • July 16, 2012

    Does this school have a web page?

    Kira
    Reply
  • July 10, 2012

    Hi!
    How do I make an appointment to see the school? I tried calling them but it seems the receptionist doesn’t speak english. Would really appreciate some input. Thanks!

    Jaycee Valenzuela
    Reply
  • January 2, 2012

    Hi, we’re looking for a preschool for our son who’s 3.5yrs old. After reviewing everyones comments we’d like to give this school a try. Does anyone know if this school provides bussing? Also what are the fees for 3-4yr old program/class.

    Jovi
    Reply
    • January 3, 2012

      When my son was attending a couple years ago, they did have some limited bussing. I would recommend that you make an appointment and go over and talk with someone at the school — you will need a translator. That’s the best way to get a feel for any school, I believe.

      Joelle Yamada
      Reply
  • September 12, 2011

    I am interested in Koza Seibo, however I see most of you had children start at two yrs old, my son is 3 and in another school on island, he is a March baby, so he would be registering in the 4 yr old class next year… has anyone started as an older preschool student? Is it more difficult to get in? Do they even allow older additions?

    Thanks for any and all help in advance.

    CostaMisses
    Reply
  • April 22, 2011

    I know there are still many Americans attending Koza Seibo – so it would be worth a phone call (you’ll need someone who speaks Japanese).

    Joelle
    Reply
  • April 21, 2011

    Are they still no longer accepting American children?

    Nicole
    Reply
  • December 16, 2010

    Please tell me exact directions to this place. I went looking for it and can not find it.

    Thanks in advance!

    Jennifer
    Reply
  • October 31, 2010

    @Beth – My son was almost 3 (July bday) when he started in the Angel class. He attended for 2 years and it was incredible. I’m so sad he wasn’t able to go for one more year because his Japanese was just beginning to explode. As far as not speaking Japanese, the school had someone to translate the main written information into English for us (notes home, etc). But we found it to be a bit incomplete and so hired someone to help us with additional translation needs including attending parent teacher conferences and the additional notes. But I learned enough to communicate basic things: Jake will be absent tomorrow. Or I’m picking him up early. Or he’s sick. Etc.

    Joelle
    Reply
  • October 29, 2010

    Joelle,
    At what age did your child start at this school? I checked it out w/a translator in Aug & liked it. Am considering having my child begin in Apr 11 at age 3 1/2. We speak only English, but I so want her to learn a 2nd language when she is little. Do you speak Japanese or do you use a translator? I’m worried if there were an emergency, I’d be extra burdened not being fluent in Japanese. Thanks.

    Beth
    Reply
  • October 22, 2010

    @Tania, Go out Gate 2 and down to the 330 (where Koza Music is) and turn left. Then start looking for a huge bowling bin on top of a Pachinko parlor — that is where you turn left. As @Gayle mentioned above, it also has a little sign with Koza Catholic Church and an arrow pointing left. On that road, you’ll pass one possible right turn and then the road will split — take the left road (with the sacred heart pix on a little sign). The school is then on your right. Good luck!

    Joelle
    Reply
  • October 20, 2010

    Please tell me how I can get there. From Gate 2

    Tania
    Reply
  • August 7, 2009

    Hi, we just went there today to see the school and talk with them about having the kids attend. I think that having the info on here was so helpful, not only to let me know about the school in the first place, but because (having brilliantly gone without a translator) I was able to understand a lot of what they were telling me simply because I had the background info. So thank you to everyone who’s put info up!
    I’d like to add a bit of my own, though, because boy was it hard for me to find the place! I ended up asking a woman I saw walking out of a hair salon with a child I assumed was 5 or 6. She very kindly (despite my not speaking any Japanese and her no English!) drew me a map to help me out. So – when you’re on 330, look on the left for a sign that in tiny letters on a large red arrow says Koza Catholic Church. Take that road down. There will be a place where the road curves and there is a smaller reddish road leading off that has a picture of the sacred heart on it. Take the reddish road and the school will be on your right. Looking at the pictures posted here helped with that as well. Sorry, I am a person who needs detailed instructions and felt the need to post that to hopefully save someone else 20 minutes of arguing with their husband about where to go!

    Gayle
    Reply
  • February 5, 2009

    One more question….

    After talking to a few parents whose children attend Koza Seibo, I am planning on calling and asking (through a translator I guess) if my son would be allowed to enroll in the 3 year old class in June, when he turns three. Do any of you who have children there think this is a possibility? If you’d like to shoot me a private email, please feel free at [email protected].

    Thanks!

    Nicole
    Reply
  • January 30, 2009

    Yes!!

    Joelle
    Reply
  • January 29, 2009

    Joelle,

    Nope, no older sibling…just a younger one. What a bummer. Would you be sure to post if anything changes on this?

    Thanks!

    Nicole
    Reply
  • January 29, 2009

    At this point, yes — that is what it means. Unless, of course there is an older sibling to enroll??

    Joelle
    Reply
  • January 29, 2009

    Hi-
    questions. I have a son who will be three in June. Does that mean he would need to be in the two year old class for the whole year?? Which, of course means there is no opportunity to enroll him, correct?

    I am really looking for somewhere with some good structure-and this was all sounding so good. 🙂

    nicole
    Reply
  • January 1, 2009

    Those are the new rules for the Angel class (which is the 2 year old “pre-preschool” class). For the 3-5 year old classes, new Americans will be accepted when a current student PCS’s or completes the 5 year old year. Basically they are trying to keep a reasonable limit on the Japanese to American ratio. I understand it because when my son started this year, half his class were American children (that is no longer true). I think that was hard on the teachers and actually decreased my son’s initial acquisition of the language, I believe.

    Joelle
    Reply
  • January 1, 2009

    There is a new policy this year. They are not taking any more American students unless they are siblings of currently enrolled students. It is too hard on the teachers to have too many non-Japanese-speaking kids in class.

    Reply
  • December 31, 2008

    I am looking for a school to take our daughter to part-time (a few hours a day 3 times a week), she turns two in February. Koza Seibo sounds great, but I don’t know if they are still enrolling for the 2008-2009 school year or not. Any information about this school or others would be greatly appreciated.

    Jill
    Reply
  • September 18, 2008

    I know it’s been a few months since posts but I am very interested in this school for my 2 year old and am wondering if anybody could help translate or just meet me there who has a child going there. I’ve gathered that registration is in Oct. so I would love to be able to visit the school in the next two weeks. I live up near Hansen but am not bothered by the drive to go to a quality school. I am interested in the Japanese immersion, the montessori and the 9-1 hours. If anybody could help I would be very grateful!!

    Angela
    Reply
  • June 30, 2008

    Does anyone have a link for Koza Seibo?

    DeAnn
    Reply
  • June 26, 2008

    Thanks for the information. It looks like the school year starts in April for the Japanese schools, so I’ll have to further investigate once I get there for my daughter. I won’t run into a problem with age in that case!

    DeAnn
    Reply
  • June 26, 2008

    Thanks for the information. It looks like the school year starts in April for the Japanese schools, so I’ll have to further investigate once I get there for my daughter. I won’t run into a problem with age in that case!

    DeAnn
    Reply
  • June 17, 2008

    Aside from the base CDCs the only other place I’ve found that will take children under 2 is the day care that is affiliated with Cherry Blossom Preschool. That’s not to say that there aren’t other places out there but just not any that I know of or would recommend.

    Not sure where you will be stationed but Cherry Blossom is located near Camp Foster in the Kitanagusku area. If you’re going to be up at Kadena it may be a bit of a drive. I don’t have any personal experience with Cherry Blossom but I have heard only positive things about their preschool. I’ve seen the day care before and liked it but ended up not going there for various logistical reasons.
    http://www.okinawahai.com/2007/05/cherry-blossom-.html

    Julia
    Reply
  • June 17, 2008

    Hi. I’m moving to Okinawa in August, and I’ve got a daughter who is 15 months old. I would really like to enroll her in a preschool program, but I see that everything seems to be for 2 years old and up…is that right? Advice?

    DeAnn
    Reply
  • May 3, 2008

    Just a reminder that the school is more strictly Montessori than any other I’ve heard of on the island. Having few toys that are simple but educational and that are to be played with one at a time and then put back before choosing another is a very typical Montessori play strategy. I’m desperately hoping it rubs off for our home play area as well!!

    Joelle
    Reply
  • May 3, 2008

    It sounds like this school doesn’t suit your needs. I appreciate how you gave details about how it did not work for you. It is definitely not the situation for every child to grow and every mother to feel at ease.

    I do see things differently than you do and would like to respond to the issues you were uncomfortable with. As my son completed the Angel class last year I feel like I can talk with a little perspective here.

    The Angel class for the 2-3 year olds started two weeks ago. For most of those children that was their first schooling experience. So it’s an adjustment for the kids, the teachers and the parents.

    In my opinion the teachers are setting the tone and routine for the school year that lies ahead. The school provides a lot of structure from where to hang their thermos to how to put the toys back to how to fold a smock and so on and so forth. I believe this is all intentional in part to teach children HOW to play with each other and respect the toy and the space and their classmates and teachers.

    The teachers do talk quietly and eventually the children talk quietly in the classroom because that is the tone that is set. And they will graduate to more diverse toys and the bigger playground and more freedoms as they demonstrate responsibility and respect for the rules and routine of their school.

    And the teachers do not speak English. It is a Japanese school. This year’s Angel class has more Americans than last year, maybe any previous year. In my opinion, if you are going to attend a Japanese school then you either figure out a way to become comfortable with the language difference by finding a translator or learning how to speak. OR you accept the ambiguity and roll with the punches.

    I think it’s fair to say that ALL kids like to learn things and keep busy. I do think this school offers that. It does not have the newest, shiniest toys or a small student to teacher ratio or translators on staff. That is all true.

    Maybe you have learned more about what you want and expect in a preschool. Good luck and thanks for sharing your opinion.

    Reply
  • May 3, 2008

    Its really not worth it, unless your child likes to be bored. Seriously, you drop your child off and there is only a limited # of puzzles the kids can play with. Kids have to wait for other kids to put them back. The first hour you drop them off kids are assigned seating, they are to grab a puzzle if one is available, go to their assigned seat and play quitely with it.

    When kids get noisy and are fightining over the puzzles they ring the bell. Most kids can’t hear over the screaming and yelling kids. The staff talks so soft, but they are trying to tell the kids to go to the center and sit in assigned spots for story time. That didn’t work out, but they kept trying to get them to sit in their assigned spots. Kids wandering around being told to sit in their assigned seat on the floor, kids yelling and screaming, doing their own things.

    Here you have 2 providers with 20 – 22 kids, they don’t speak English. They do provide a snack time, then they go outside but its only to the sandbox area where kids play in it for 20min or more. Most of the kids want to play on the playground not play in sand. Again they have a hard time keeping all the kids in the sandbox area and off the playground.

    That info was for the Angel Class. The teachers are nice, they try to make you feel comfortable, but that don’t have enough toys/puzzles to stimulate a child to keep them busy and active, instead they are bored, crying, screaming, and fighting with kids. If your child likes learning things and keeping busy this isn’t a place for your child.

    Example CDC’s on base – they have many toys for kids, they can play them whenever they want to, meals are set they have a procedure they follow, no assigned seating, kids get diapers changed on a daily routine. Kids are able to play outside and be free of what they want to play and do outside vs this school you get 1 puzzle to play with at a time, assigned seating, diapers never changed, outside have to play in sandbox only get 1 shovel and no other toys.

    Before placing you child there think about it you being a 2yr or 3yr old. Could you sit there and play with one puzzle for a hour? Could you stay seated in the assigned seat and not get up? Could you play in the sandbox and not want to play on the playground? You may like the school on what people say about the school, but before you decide you need to think as a child if he/she would like it?

    no comment
    Reply
  • March 27, 2008

    Does anyone know if they still have openings for the 2 year old class? I am interested in something part-time for my daughter.

    Jennifer
    Reply
  • March 25, 2008

    My kids will be starting school here in April. My 2 year old will be in the Angel class. Parents were informed at the open house that you may stay with your child as long as you liked for the month of April until they get used to school. My 3/12 year old will be in the class for bigger kids. It is really great how the school prepares them. The kids are scheduled to come in 4 times where they work one on one with a teacher for about 30 minutes who shows them exactly what is expected as far as the routine goes. I was a little nervous because my daughter speakes no Japanese (neither do I) but she really loved it. There are a lot of supplies needed for the older class but luckily, my neighbor is Japanese (she told me about the school) and helped translate everything and make some of the items such as the eye mask & placemat. I am really looking forward to giving my kids this experience.

    Melissa
    Reply
  • January 30, 2008

    Erin,

    Okay. Let’s see if I can answer all your questions!

    1. For a while you can park and walk your child all the way into the classroom. Then after summer you are only allowed to drop them off and walk them to the top of the stairs of their classroom. Also you CAN drop them off at the top of the hill. But you can also park at the top of the hill and walk your child down.

    2. Pick-up time doesn’t seem flexible. There is a carefully orchestrated system of who picks up kids when in order to handle the traffic. I suspect if you let them know you’re situation and you could guess how late you were going to be then they would accommodate you. Not sure though, sorry.

    3. I love this school but I am fairly comfortable with the ambiguity of the whole affair. I don’t know too much. They tell me important stuff and Kaho helps me a TON. If your child has a disorder or disability that needs particular care I don’t know how that would be handled. Or if you would know exactly how it was handled.

    4. As for understanding the kids, I don’t know how it happens. I think mostly the kids adjust and figure it out. Eli seems to know what is going on for the most part. The language doesn’t bother him at all. Or not knowing it, I mean. He seems to understand more and more and just goes with it. He tells me stories now about stuff the teacher tells him which is WILD.

    5. I have no idea what the routine is. It is extremely structured though. Eli often talks about everything as a TIME. Like playing time. Singing time. Reading time and so on.

    I am not much help with the Japanese but I think they are okay with you coming in the morning during drop-off time. If you come between 8:40 and 9:00 I will likely be there.

    Let me know!

    Meredith

    Reply
  • January 29, 2008

    Meredith – Do you have to park and take the child in or do they meet you outside? Same as pick up?

    Pick up times are they flexible? I have a child in PSCD on Kadena which doesn’t get out between 11:00 – 11:10. Since from April to Aug. they get out at 11:15. So I have to be 2 places at once! Well, until my husband gets home – deployed!!

    I wanted my daughter to start but I am starting to have 2nd thoughts. Like those stairs going down, the playground area, and other things..

    How are they with kids with disablities or disorders?

    How do they understand the american kids, if they needed/wanted something?

    I would like to go back there this week or next week to check it out during the morning, but my friend who translates for me works rotating shifts.

    What is their routine like? They say my daughter will be 3 in April, but she is 2yrs old. I know her class would be downstairs. Is it a same routine everyday or does it change?

    Sorry so long there…

    Reply
  • January 28, 2008

    My son will be going into the Angel Class (2 year olds) starting in April. I’m super excited — but have to study my Japanese so I can keep up with him!

    Joelle
    Reply
  • January 28, 2008

    Pahoua & Erin,

    Maybe you are one and the same person?!

    So, YES, my son still goes here but we won’t be going next year which starts in April. If you’re looking for help in making the decision I am happy to answer any questions you have as best I can! Ask away…

    The gate is open in the morning when the kids arrive and again around 1:30 when the classes start to let out. Otherwise the gate is closed for security reasons. So if you go during the day when it is closed then you need to open it and close it.

    As for pick-up and drop-off, what do you mean?

    It’s a great school and we are super sad to leave it behind. Boo-hoo.

    Reply
  • January 28, 2008

    Does anyone know if you have to open/close gate yourself each time? Or are they open and closed certain times? How does the pick up drop off work?

    Reply
  • January 28, 2008

    Does anyone still have kids going there, or will be going there in April?

    I checked the school out last week and had a friend translate for me. I am interested in the school, but was wondering if there are other kids that are still going there or will be starting. Its hard to make a decision when my spouse is deployed and trying to figure out how I can be at 2 places at the same time.

    Reply
  • October 3, 2007

    Salina, my guess is that Kaho will probably chime in here. She speaks Japanese and drops her daughter off in the mornings there. A group of us met her there this last Monday. The school is really wonderful from all I could see. Exactly how I pictured a Japanese school — adorable uniforms with the white hats & blue ribbon and lots of unison speaking from the kids (greetings to us, etc). I was really impressed.

    Joelle
    Reply
  • October 3, 2007

    Hello,
    My daughter will be 4 Oct 17th. I am really intersted in this school. I would love to visit the school, soon. Is anyone willing to let me follow them or carpool with? When does the school year start for 4year olds and how long does it last?

    Salina
    Reply
  • September 16, 2007

    Hi- We just moved to Okinawa and I have a 2 yaer old son whom I would like to go to a Japanese preschool. After reading the site, I am interested in the Kozo Seibo school. Is there anyone out ther that can help me with translating? I would so appreciate it.
    We were stationed in Sasebo for three yeras, went home to the states, and requested to come back to Japan. We are really hoping to have our son learn Japanese. Here is my e-mail [email protected]

    Thanks so much!!! Staci

    Staci
    Reply
  • September 11, 2007

    Andrea,

    I’m glad that it worked out fine and you managed to do everything in such a short period of time! I’m very impressed!! Let me know when you need any translation help.

    Kaho
    Reply
  • September 11, 2007

    Cassandra,

    I’m glad that you found a part time preschool that you like! If you’re interested in seeing the school, I’d be happy to help. If you would like to see it in the morning, Monday might be good. If you would like to see the school in the afternoon, then after 1:45 on any other day but Friday would work if you would like to go see the school with me.

    Kaho
    Reply
  • September 11, 2007

    Hi Kaho,
    Thank you for your suggestion. After visiting several schools I have finally found one for my daughter that we like and allows part-time students. I plan to visit Koza Seibo prior to October to see if it is an option we would like for next school year when my daughter turns three.

    Thanks,
    Cassandra

    Cassandra
    Reply
  • September 10, 2007

    Cassandra,

    The registration for 2 year olds at Koza Seibo Preschool start from October 1. I would say that you might want to visit different preschools, talk to teachers and see what you think. I visited many places and saw a few schools that had a part time care as an option, but the opinion that I heard from teachers at different schols was that it was hard on kids to get adjusted to school life if they go part time.

    Kaho
    Reply
  • August 30, 2007

    Ladies,
    I am looking for a pre-school for my daughter (two going on 30). As I am just now becoming a stay-at-home mom, I don’t want her to be gone from me all day. I’d like her to go for 2 to 3 days a week just for a few hours. I would also like her to continue learning Japanese, but in a calm and nurturing atmosphere. This school sounds like a possibility.

    Jennifer and Joelle – have you been able to register your children?

    Any information would be appreciated. I do have a friend that I can ask to be a translator for me.

    Cassandra
    Reply
  • August 24, 2007

    Hey Meredith & Kaho,

    It was great to meet you both at the school today. Im glad that we figured out all the costs and as to what they were for. So to anyone else that is interested in this school for your little ones i will gladly posts my costs as they are different than Merediths and Kaho’s as my children are enrolled on a different level. I enrolled both my children and they will be in the same class together for 3&4 year olds. It was 41,000 for 1 child and they give you 1/2off the second at 25,000 and then another 1,000 a grand total of 67,000yen. which is a 1 time payment for as long as i keep them at that school so for Calli who will going for 2 possibly 3years i only pay the monthly costs of 18,000yen a month for the rest of her time there. But also both of my children will be in uniforms which costs extra, they didnt give me a price on them, they actually are giving me used ones for free, which i thought was so nice of them, and it was totally their idea, which shows how generious they are. I also have to buy school supplies from the school, like the backpack, name stamp, hat etc which is going to be 7,570 yen, and there are also the things that Meredith has listed i will need to get, the placemat, lunch container etc, but they are available at the 100yen store. So starting off was a little pricey for me, but i have 2 in at the same time, and after the initial start the monthly are the cheapest i have found. And since their are so many kids there, im sure it would be easy to get a used uniform for free to help with the costs of getting started, unless ofcourse they are in the Angel class, which uniforms are not needed. The school year for my kids starts on Sept 3rd, and they will go M-F 9am to 2pm. Sorry so long ladies..:)

    take care
    ~Andrea

    Andrea
    Reply
  • August 23, 2007

    Meredith,

    Thank you so much! I will also be there tomorrow around 9:30am, not sure what time you’ll be there, but any extra info will be so helpful…Again, thank you!

    ~Andrea

    Andrea
    Reply
  • August 23, 2007

    Hi there,

    iam so interested in this school that i have went myself for registration. i have a 3yr old and a 4 yr old that would go m-f all day, at least thats what i think was said. The language barrier is tough, and i did not arm myslef with a translator, there just happen to be japanese lady who spoke english for me. what i got from the principal of the school, a very kind lady, was the 15,000 yen per month per child, but also that they would both wear uniforms, and also a 1 time fee of 67,000 yen for both students..and school would start sept 3rd. this was the first time i had heard of the $600 fee, and was just wondering if that was something that you also have heard of and paid..thank you so much for your time. and also Meredith you may hear about me from your husband as my husband works with him. i just figured i would go right to you…thanks again ~andrea

    Andrea
    Reply
  • August 23, 2007

    Andrea,

    Yes, Joe was asking me all sorts of questions and I wish I had more helpful answers for you. I’m so glad that you went and talked to the folks there. As for the 67,000 yen fee, I have no idea what that is. I will be going there tomorrow so I can investigate for you. I’ll let you know what I find out!

    Meredith

    mereditz
    Reply
  • August 20, 2007

    Joelle,

    Meredith already answered some of your questions, but here are mine. The prices are different for different pick up times. If you do morning class, the fee is 12,000 yen per month. For the full day class, the fee is 15,500 yen per month. If you mix the two different pick up times for different days like you mentioned above which I think they will negotiate with you, I believe that you will pay the full day fee and pick up early for certain days. Meredith’s and my kids do not go to school on Fridays as we have a playgroup, but we pay the full fee for the full day class. The lunch fee is 2,800 yen per month for 3 days a week and the dates are as listed above in Meredith’s answer.

    I thought about sending my child full day M, W and F and half day T and Th for the reason of lunch because I wanted to be lazy in the morning! I’ve gotten used to making lunch for my daughter in the morning and it is not as hard as I thought. Her bento box is so small that I don’t need much time to fix it.

    Last year I went to the school during summer to visit and asked about their registration time and I was told that they will start from October. I assumed that it meant from the beginning of October. If you would like, I will be happy to help you with the registration. I go there anyways to drop off and pick up my child. I’ll e-mail you, Jennifer, at your address.

    Kaho
    Reply
  • August 18, 2007

    Thank you Meredith for the info. Do you happen to know if enrollment starts the first day of Oct?

    Joelle – I love the idea of going together to register. Maybe we can brainstorm and figure out if b/w the two of us we can find a translator. I might know someone who can help us, I am not positive though. My email is [email protected] if you want to attempt this together!

    Jennifer
    Reply
  • August 17, 2007

    Jennifer, maybe we should go together?? Safety/confidence in numbers?? I’m also interested in the 2-year old class for next year!

    Mereditz or Kaho — do you send lunches for them or are they fed if they stay til 1:30? Also, is the price different if you choose to pick up at 11:30 instead of at the end of the day? And do you know if you can pick up at different times each day (like staying for the full day on MWF, but leaving after morning session on TTh??)? THANKS!

    Joelle
    Reply
  • August 17, 2007

    Jennifer & Joelle,

    They are so kind and helpful but it is a Japanese world there. I can’t imagine registering without someone who speaks the language. I’m sure they would appreciate your willingness to use their language but some important details may be lost. I recommend bringing a Japanese friend with you if that’s an option. Going together with a J’ese speaker would probably help too.

    Joelle,

    Let’s see if I can remember the lunch schedule… M, W, F the school provides lunch. T and Thursday you pack a lunch in a most precious little bento box.

    As for the different schedule, I don’t know exaclty. They were flexible with me picking Eli up early for a month or so until I’d gotten his nap back far enough that he could stay the whole day. But htat is not an advertised option. My guess is they’d prefer you stay with the schedule as they’ve designed it. But I imagine that if you kept to a specific schedule of picking up that they would consider it. Not sure though.

    I hope you’ll give it a try!

    mereditz
    Reply
  • August 17, 2007

    I would love to sign up my son for next year’s 2-year old class, my question is – how difficult would it be for me to try to enroll him and gather general information about the class, as I don’t speak any Japanese? I’m just wondering if I show up only armed with my Japanese phrase book will that be enough (i.e. will the staff there know enough English to meet me halfway so I know I am signing him up for the right class, will have the supplies for him if he gets in, etc.)? Thanks!

    Jennifer
    Reply
  • August 15, 2007

    That is one gorgeous photo… with the handsome gent upfront, of course… and also the amazing colors everywhere. And the expressions. Love it!

    Reply
  • August 15, 2007

    this is the greatest photo ever!!!

    cindychasecadecael
    Reply
  • August 14, 2007

    Just curious…
    We arrived approximately one month ago on island and we are getting around quiet well, however…can anyone help me out with finding a preschool nearby Camp Kinser? I am driving up to Kitanakagusku and it’s a bit of a drive – traffic is terrible. We are looking for a part-time preschool for our two and three year old. Any suggestions?

    Oh…one other question. We wish for our five year old to attend some kind of after school (two days or so a week) program to practice/learn Japanese. I’ve receieved a few tips, but all too far from Kinser – any suggestions on this one too?

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

    Nina
    Reply
  • August 14, 2007

    That sounds like a wonderful school! And that pic is just too cute:-)

    Reply
  • August 14, 2007

    Q. What is the maximum number of students that your school has?

    A. For the Angel Class/2-year-old class, during the enrollment period which I list as an answer to the next question they close the enrollment once 20 children are signed up for the class and the people who come after that will be on the wait list. I believe that there are 21 in the class this year because the last parent who enrolled has twins.

    Q. Is enrollment open/year-round enrollment or per semester?

    A. Official Enrollment is before each school year starts, so once a year. The enrollment starts from October of a previous year and will last until the enrollment gets full or till the end of March before the new Japanese school year starts in April. To be admitted to the 2-year-old class, the child has to turn two before April. For the class of 2008-2009 which will start in April, 2008, children to be enrolled in the Angel Class have to turn two between April, 2007and March, 2008. The Angel Class gets full fast because there are not many institutions like Seibo Yochien for 2-year-old children. Most of the child care for the children of two is daycare.

    Q. Can I bring my child in for a pre-enrollment visit?

    A. If you call the office (see the contact information) and ask if you could make an appointment to come look at the class during the school hours, they will arrange that for you. If you drop in after 2:00 PM on a random day and if the head director happens to be available, you will be able to talk to her. She only speaks Japanese.

    DAYS & HOURS:

    Q. What are the school’s hours?

    A. For the month of April the pick-up time for the Angel Class is 11:15 a.m. and that of the upper classes regardless of their ages is 11:30 a.m. From May after the “Golden Week” (the first week in May when there are many Japanese holidays) 3 to 5 year-old classes stay until 1:45 – 2:00 p.m., but for the Angel Class, parents are given options to pick up their children at 11:30 a.m. when the morning session ends or at 1:30 – 1:45 p.m. when the full day session ends. Most parents switch to the full day session after May or June when their children get used to the school environment.

    Q. How flexible is the school with pickup and drop-off times?

    A. I believe that parents are expected to pick up at the designated time which is 11:30 for the morning session and 1:30 – 1:45 for the full day session, but they are flexible if you consult with the teachers for the time in advance. The school does not want parents to show up whenever and pick up at your convenience.

    COSTS:

    Q. Is there a late-pickup fee?

    A. Late pick-up will be considered the Gloria Class which is a day-care/after-school program. You will have to sign up for it with the teachers in advance. You may use the Gloria Class service as long as you make an appointment and you may do so even in the morning you drop off your child, but it is better to tell the teacher at least a day in advance. You will have to prepare your child’s belongings so that she/he will have enough changes of clothes and diapers or underwear to last till when you pick her/him up. The latest pick-up time is 6:30 p.m. The fee for the Gloria Class is 700 yen for the whole afternoon! Seriously! For those who use the Gloria Class everyday the extra payment they are required is 10,000 yen per month. Can you believe this? This is almost 500 yen per day for the whole afternoon…

    PARENT INVOLVEMENT & TEACHER INTERACTION:

    Q. Does the school encourage spontaneous visits from parents?

    A. No. The school does not welcome spontaneous visits from parents as it disrupts the class. Not only does that make it harder for the child to get used to the new environment if her/his own parent shows her/his face during the class, but also it is hard on other kids who have see their classmate having her/his parent.

    As Meredith wrote, there is a monthly activity program where parents are encouraged to come and participate with the kids.

    Q. Are there parent/teacher conferences?

    A. I believe not.
    CLASSROOM STRUCTURE & SIZE:

    Q. What is the school’s educational philosophy? Is the school program developmentally-based or does it have an academic focus?

    A. The school’s educational philosophy is based on Montessori Method and Catholicism. I would say that for the class of two-year-old children, the school program is based on development.

    What is Montessori?
    “Montessori (pronounced MON-tuh-SORE-ee) is a comprehensive educational approach from birth to adulthood based on the observation of children’s needs in a variety of cultures all around the world.
    The Montessori environment contains specially designed, manipulative “materials for development” that invite children to engage in learning activities of their own individual choice. Under the guidance of a trained teacher, children in a Montessori classroom learn by making discoveries with the materials, cultivating concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.”
    http://www.montessori-namta.org/NAMTA/geninfo/whatismont.html

    Q. Are there extracurricular activities or field trips?

    I believe not for the 2-year-old children.

    Q. How does the school discipline children?

    A. I do not know if disciplining is done by teachers. However, I am aware that when a child misbehaves and does something dangerous to her/himself or other children, she/he gets reprimanded by a teacher. All the teachers are very kind and gentle and you can feel that when you visit the school.

    FINAL COMMENTS & OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE SCHOOL:
    I picked this school for different reasons and the qualities it has. I have seen number of daycares and pre-schools and this one by far left me with the best impression at the first visit. On top of that, I find it very inexpensive. The teachers were very friendly and children at the school looked happy. It is actually a school not a daycare which I liked about and the school practices the Montessori method which my husband and I sought for our child. Since we are in Japan and we have a limited time here, we wanted to send her to a local school where she can maximize the benefit of being in this culture and learning the language. (Our child is a “mix” of Japanese and American and because I’m Japanese, I do expose her to the Japanese culture, but I cannot do the same as the school does.) When she turned two I sensed that she was ready to be in more of a structured environment and interact with many children of her age while she can engage in learning activities. I am very happy with the school and all what she learns from the class. I have used the Gloria Class on occasion when I needed and she seemed to be okay with it. The Gloria Class is a mixture of all ages from two to five, so she gets a little bit intimidated, but I find it a good experience.

    Kaho
    Reply