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.

If your child attends a school that has not been reviewed on this site, please contact our Submissions Manager for the template.

CONTRIBUTED BY TAMI SALAZAR

American Montessori Preschool Exterior | Okinawa Hai

Name of the school: American Preschool Mihama
Address:  2-8-3-2F Mihama Chatancho Nakagamigun, Okinawa Japan
Phone: James Bruce, Principal 098-923-1229 & 080-1743-1010
Website: www.preschoolokinawa.com/en/
Ages Accepted: half/full/extended hours for 1-6 years old

Ages of Your Kid(s) in this School: 4 ½ years old

American Montessori Preschool Kids | Okinawa HaiAdmissions/Enrollment

What is the current number of students? 8

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

Does my child have to be potty-trained to attend? No

Can I bring my child in for a pre-enrollment visit? Yes, and they are offering a free week trial.

Days and hours
What are the school’s hours?  Monday- Friday, Classes are from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm. Extended care is available from 6:30am-6:00pm.

Is the school on a Japanese or American schedule? American. They are closed on weekends, American holidays, and the Kadena American Preschool Graduation day.

How flexible is the school with pickup and drop-off times? You may pick up early or drop off later. You may not leave or pick up your child any more than 10 minutes prior to or after the school day without notification beforehand. Picking up late after the 10 minute window may result in a fee of 500 yen.

American Montessori Halloween | Okinawa HaiCosts

What are the registration fees? None

What are the tuition fees? Fees are determined by how many days and hours per week your child attends .For example: Five days a week for 6 hours each day is 36000 yen per month. Three days of 6 hour days is 26000. You may choose how many days and what hours you would like as long as it is approved by the school.

Are any discounts offered for referrals, siblings, volunteering, working there, etc.? Yes, there is a discount of 50% for siblings.

Is there a late-pickup fee? Yes, after 30 minutes it is $4, after 1 hour it is $8

Parent Involvement and Interaction

Does the school encourage spontaneous visits from parents?  Yes, but is preferred to contact prior to visit so as to not interrupt teaching

How do you communicate with parents? Verbally each day the teacher goes over what the child learned and participated in doing. A notebook of all work is sent home each day.

Is there a daily report or other process for informing parents of what children did during the day (naps, BMs, snacks, etc.)? Yes, you may ask when you pick up your child. If you would like to know anything in particular you may ask if they could write it down.

Classroom Structure and Size

How are the kids grouped?  Mixed ages, but as the school grows in numbers it may be grouped differently

What’s the teacher-child ratio in each group? As of now there are 2 teachers and 8 students. The ratio is 2:4.

What is the school’s educational philosophy? “to provide a positive ,creative, secure and nurturing learning environment, where children are being supported in their cognitive, emotional, and social development.”

Is the school program developmentally-based or does it have an academic focus? It is a “well-balanced program  with American and Japanese-style education adapted partly from the Montessori Education Method”.

Is there a playground for the children to play on? There is an indoor play area, equipped with a small slide and swing. Also there is an open space for ride on toys. There is a park less than 1/2 km that they can easily walk to with the teachers, that is away from traffic. Almost every day they go to the park for an hour.

What do the children do on any given day? Practice writing and identifying letters, drawing shapes, colors, numbers, sing songs, and several types of artwork. They also practice communication skills, by learning to answer questions about pictures and ideas that the teacher is presenting. Children that are learning EAL (English as an Additional Language) are stimulated to learn and use English in the instruction and learning environment. In addition, they learn Japanese language and culture by practicing greetings, singing songs, annual events and crafts. Usually, if the weather is nice they will walk to the nearby park with the teacher.

Are there extracurricular activities or field trips? Yes, there are several school events and field trips throughout the year. Field trips include: visiting a fire station, a police station, the zoo, a fishing village, and and Ocean study tour…etc. Events include: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines day, Easter, 4th of July, Shichi-Go-San ( a Japanese celebration for 3, 5, and 7 year olds), Girls’ Day, Boys’ Day, and a Graduation Program.

How does the school discipline children? Separate the child from the other students, discuss the problem, have the child apologize to other(s).

How does the school comfort children? The teachers are very kind. They will pay special attention to the child and allow them to sit with the teacher.

Final Comments or Observations about the School:

We are so happy we found this preschool! Our son loves going to school and everyday I am amazed at the work he does. Every day the teacher goes over our sons work that  he has done with the parent at pick up. He is 4 1/2 years old and pracitices writing letters and beginning phonics daily. He writes his name on all of his work,and is proud of the work that he does. Since the school is small our son get’s a good share of attention, which I am very happy about.

Although Ms. Mariko and Mr. Bruce are new to Okinawa, they have been a part of another successful preschool in Hawaii, a sister school, called Happy Keiki Preschool in Honolulu, prior to moving to Okinawa.  Ms. Mariko, the head teacher at the American Preschool Mihama, has over 30 years in teaching experience in an International school setting teaching English.  Ms. Mariko is also qualified to teach Japanese students, and Japanese students in the local community are welcome to attend the preschool. She integrates both English and Japanese language learning (as mentioned in the post). Also of note, is the fact that Ms. Mariko has been certified as a Montessori teacher for over 30 years and truly believes in the Montessori methods. She continues to implement the Montessori learning activities in her teaching today.

American Montessori Preschool Sign | Okinawa Hai

Directions: It is right on highway 58. It is a pink building on the corner of 58 and the Enos gas station. It is across the street from the Enos gas station on the second floor. It is between the A&W and KFC on the ocean side of the highway.

From KAB: go out Gate 1 and make a left onto 58, then down through 3 lights, you will pass highway 23 then 2 more lights and you will see the large sign for Enos gas station on the right. At the next intersection make a right turn, and it is right there (on the left ). You may park right in front of the building.

Address: 2-8-3-2F Mihama Chatancho Nakagamigun, Okinawa Japan

Editor’s Note: This school was originally named American Montessori Preschool Mihama, but has since changed its name in accordance with the official Montessori organization.  According to our original contributor, this school does incorporate some of those teaching methods and one of its teachers has been trained to teach in this manner, but this is not an official Montessori school.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I have a daughter who is 2 & 7 months now and goes to OIS now. I saw this school looking for a teacher. I am interesting in working in there and is it possible if I bring my daughter there to attend school??? It may be difficult for other kids??? I live in Naha now but thinking of moving to Chatan. Haven’t decided yet for the exact schedule. Looking for work and school first before I move there. Thank you for reading this and looking forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you.

  2. Editor’s Note: Due to technical difficulties this comment was not saved on our server. We are re-publishing it now to continue the conversation on this post.

    From Veronica on 9/11/13:
    “I am very excited to arrange a visit to this school once we move. We are a few weeks out from our move and once we get to Okinawa we will be sending our 4 year old daughter to school for the first time. This sounds like the perfect fit for our family. I hope I am able to get her into the school. I am so thankful for the information and reviews of the schools on the island it is very helpful.”

  3. I am very excited to arrange a visit to this school once we move. We are a few weeks out from our move and once we get to Okinawa we will be sending our 4 year old daughter to school for the first time. This sounds like the perfect fit for our family. I hope I am able to get her into the school. I am so thankful for the information and reviews of the schools on the island it is very helpful.

  4. I can’t express how much I love James and Meriko plus their aid help. Addison is in the pictures above an she absolutely loved it there! She was their first student when they opened and now that we are off island she still talks about it and her friends. She learned sooo much, so many projects, and field trips it was amazing! I was so sad to leave and take her out, I will forever have gratitude for this school! -Nikki

  5. Thank you for posting this!! I have been meaning to contact them for some info, I see it every time I go to Foster. My daughter is almost 5 and wants to go to school so much.

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