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 JOHN ROBINSON

Name of the school: Golden Mind Achievers International Preschool
Address: 1177 Aza Yoshihara, Chatan, Okinawa Japan
Phone:  098-989-9808
Email:  [email protected]
Website: http://goldenmindachievers.net
Ages Accepted: 6 weeks to 6 years old

Ages of Your Kid(s) in this School: mine’s under 2 yrs old, but they accept ages 6 weeks to 6 years old

Golden Mind Circle
Golden Mind Circle

Admissions/Enrollment:
What is the current number of students? 42 students

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

Days and hours:
What are the school’s hours? Monday to Friday from 6am to 6pm

Is the school on a Japanese or American schedule? They observe American Holidays

How flexible is the school with pickup and drop-off times?  Child must be dropped off and picked up on the schedule the child is enrolled in.

Golden Minds Coloring
Golden Minds Coloring

Costs:
What are the registration fees? One time fee of 5,000yen

What are the tuition fees?

Infant to 2 yrs: 40,000yen a month Full time
Mon to Fri 9am to 3pm: 35,000yen a month
3 days a week 9am to 3pm: 30,000yen a month
3y.o to 6 yrs: 38,000yen a month Full time
34,000yen a month for 9am to 3pm

If any, what are the assessment and school supplies fees?

For 1-2 yr old: 5,000yen
For 2-3 yr old: 10,000yen
For 3-6 yr old: 20,000yen

Are there any discounts offered for referrals, siblings, volunteering, working there, etc.?  5% discount on additional siblings

Is there a late-pickup fee? 500yen per hour

How and when does the school require payment (in yen, dollars, etc.)? Monthly due is every 18th of the month. For example, May’s tuition is due April 18. They accept yen and dollars.

Golden Minds Easter
Golden Minds Easter

Parent Involvement and Interaction:

During programs like Easter egg hunt, Halloween party, Thanksgiving party and Christmas party Notice is given to parents ahead of time so they can attend. Parent involvement and interaction is highly encouraged.

Does the school encourage spontaneous visits from parents? Yes

How do you communicate with parents? Through daily reports, newsletters, and face-to-face interaction (during drop-off and pick up).

Is there a daily report or other process for informing parents of what children did during the day (naps, BMs, snacks, etc.)? Yes, they have a booklet assigned to each child.

Are there parent/teacher conferences? Twice a year , but you can always request a conference as needed

Classroom Structure and Size:

How are the kids grouped? Age and their level

What’s the teacher-child ratio in each group?

Infant room : 8 kids to 2 teachers/assistant
2y.o to 3y.o: 15 kids to 2 teachers/assistant
3y.o to 4y.o: 20 kids to 2 teachers/assistant
4y.o to 6y.o: 20 kids to 2 teachers/assistant

How many full-time teachers do you have? Seven full-time teachers

How many assistants? Two assistants

Golden Minds Lunch
Golden Minds Lunch

What is the school’s educational philosophy? Per school administrator: “To provide high standard principles of education in all areas of learning through a mixture of Montessori and international school curriculum. We are dedicated in providing an exceptionally loving, nurturing, safe, and fun environment while learning. “

Is the school program developmentally-based or does it have an academic focus? Both. The lessons and activities are academic and developmentally based.

Is there a playground for the children to play on? Yes, there’s an outdoor playground. They also close the entrance and exit gates (as needed) so the kids can ride trikes or do school/outdoor activities (like Easter egg hunt).

What do the children do on any given day? They play, learn (through lessons and educational activities), listen to music, sing and dance, and watch educational shows.

Are there extracurricular activities or field trips? Occasional field trips and activities during certain holidays.

How does the school discipline children? They use the Montessori method where self-discipline is promoted, taught, and practiced. They talk to the children about the misbehavior and explaining the effects of good or bad behavior and how their behavior affects themselves and others. In the event that a child needs to be separated from other kids, the child sits with a teacher instead of being alone.

How does the school comfort children? They use a nurturing approach – they hug and give individual attention.

Final Comments or Observations about the School:
This is a fairly new preschool/daycare. Our child has been going there since February and we’ve been happy so far. We mainly want our child to socialize with kids around his age and Golden Mind Achievers delivers more than that. They have fun and educational activities for the kids. Since this is also a preschool, the older kids have classroom time with set curriculum. Our child is in the infant room, and they also have learning time.

The teachers are very nice and caring. When my child arrives in the classroom, they immediately greet him. At pick-up time, they always update us on what our child did all day. They also always say “bye-bye” to our son. Best of all, our child is always happy being there.

Directions:  From Kadena, go on Hwy 58 towards Lester. After the Lester main gate (Starbuck’s Gate), turn left at the light (there’s a foot bridge at this intersection). Follow the road. Once you pass by Family Mart on the right, you’ll see the colorful gates with the school name on the wall (Golden Mind Achievers)

Address: Chatan-cho Aza Yoshihara 1177 Okinawa, Japan

22 COMMENTS

  1. Beware of this school. Our child attended this school for two months, in those two months we witnessed a teacher grabbing a student by the arm and yanking him to sit next to the teacher. When the issue was brought up, the owners removed the teacher from the classroom and placed her in another class and replaced her with another lead teacher. The new lead teacher, a few days later, grabbed the same child by the arm and dug her nails into him, leaving bruising and nail marks. This issue was never brought forth to parents by the owners, instead they left that teacher in the classroom with the children after the child’s parents had notified them of the incident. The parents notified us of the incident and when we brought the concern to the owners, they stated that they would remove that teacher from the classroom and terminate her employment the following month. When questioned about why the teacher would be allowed to remain with children after she admitted what she did therefore putting the kids at risk until her termination was effective they stated that since they use an agency in the Philippines to recruit their staff they have to be careful to not stand out as it will affect the number of teachers they are permitted to bring to Okinawa on work visas. This raised a red flag to us however we agreed to give them some time to fix the issue. We later found out that the teacher who left bruises and nail marks on the child was not terminated but instead written up and transferred to the sister school in Uruma (Raquel is the name of the teacher). Our child’s regular teacher was on vacation and we agreed to keep our child at the school once he returned, however notified them that we would visit on occasion and if another incident occurred we would be withdrawing from the school. We kept our child home until the regular teacher returned from vacation and when we returned to school and we decided to drop in to check in periodically (they told us when we first toured the school that we were encouraged to drop in any time and they have small windows on the doors so parents can look in). On our second day back to the school, I dropped in to check on our child during quiet time and found the class in complete chaos. There were children throwing cups of water on the ground, running, slipping and falling on the wet floor, I saw my child sitting at a table holding a blanket and so I opened the door and waited to get the teachers attention who was at the time dragging a child into the bathroom and pushing him into a stall and shutting the door. She approached the door to greet me and at that point I stated that I would like to take my child home and motioned to my child to get her belongings and come with me. In the time it took my child to gather her belongings, three large wooden puzzles with wooden pieces were flung across the room by a child almost hitting the other children (many children were sitting at the tables with their heads down, others had their ears covered with their hands, and others were attempting to clean up the water on the floor with their hand towels). Once my child was retrieved the second teacher arrived from his lunch break and at that point I proceeded to ask other teachers in the kitchen who were on break where the principal or owners were as they should be aware of the incident. Those teachers looked for them in other classrooms however they were not on campus. When the principal and owner finally arrived back to the school I was told that nobody had thrown anything and that I was overreacting and trying to ruin their good name. I asked the owner to watch the video from the cameras that are in the classrooms and he quickly saw that what was described was in fact not an exaggeration; however, instead of accepting responsibility he stated that the cause of the chaos in the classroom was my presence when I peeked through the window and later opened the door to take my child out of the situation. They told us when we first toured the school that we were welcome and highly encouraged to visit anytime. When we did visit we always peeked through the windows and then left, this was the first time we ever opened the door and decided to withdraw our child early. They have now suddenly changed their policy on parent drop-ins and stated that parents may drop-in to check on their children but only after they’ve called and asked for permission, once the parent arrives at the school they must have permission to proceed to the classroom to check in through the windows. We also questioned why 25 kids were left with one teacher as she was clearly overwhelmed and could not regain control of the class, their response was that Japanese law states that they may leave 30 children to 1 teacher and therefore that is what they do, though they told us that the ratio is 12 children to 1 teacher when we first toured the school and I believe this write up on their school states a 10 to 1 ratio. We do not recommend this school to anyone, it is not a good place and the environment is not conducive to learning. This place is bad news all around and based on our experience we highly recommend you look at other schools. The owners and principal will tell you whatever you’d like to hear then change it around when it is convenient to them, then threaten you with their lawyer if you speak about your negative experiences with others.

  2. This was a nice school! My kids went here until they were able to go to school. The staff was is so nice and they really care about our children. They learn so much while they are there. My kids still ask about there school. They loved going there and I knew my kids were safe and taking care of!

  3. My daughters (18mths and 3 years) have been goingto GMA for about 18mths and I abssolutely love it! my hhusband and I are mil to mill so it was imperitive for us to find a good daycare that we could entrust the care of our children for 10-12 hrs a day and we found that at GMA. First off they actually teach our girls, Japanse, cooking, letters, words,colors, edicate, and basic skills like answerng a telephone. They playout side, go on field trips, my daughter gos to swim lesson with the school. Theey make friends, they love their teachers, , 100% better than CDC. my 18 mth old talks, knows basic sign language, can count to ten in ennglish, japanese, and spanish! Lets just say she is definatly above her peers. I love the school I love the staff. Thank you GMA for taking such good care of my girls!!!!

  4. My name is Amber Duncan and my daughter (age 3) currently attends Golden Mind Achievers, with my son (currently 15 months) set to start this December (when he is 18 months). This school has been nothing short of amazing for my daughter. She started off as a very timid little girl and has really grown into her own while attending (approx. 1 yr). I have the full belief that this is because of the staff at Golden Mind. They are absolutely incredible with my daughter and make her feel so welcome that she looks forward to school everyday. Her knowledge base has grown extensively, I had put her in school because she seemed bored at home. She is definitely not bored anymore! I do not know what comments were posted previously that were seen as “spam” but this school does not need to “fluff” itself at all. Ask any of the parents (including past) and you will find that no one (or extremely few as compared to other schools) has a bad word or negative feeling about this school or its teachers and staff. We have a full year left here on island, more if we extend and I can not see one reason why I would ever pull my daughter (and eventually my son) from this nurturing environment.

  5. These comments here appear to be scripted! At some point in a comment, it gets confusing if the commenter is a parent or an employee of the school. She probably confused herself too. It is misleading and it is not funny! These people can’t even write! It’s terrible and it’s not helping the goal of this site.

    • I just went through all the comments on this post – thanks for bringing this to our attention. I have removed many comments that came from the same IP address or email address as these are considered spam. If you left a comment on this post that was removed and should not be considered spam please feel free to comment once more. Thanks.

  6. My son goes to Golden Minds and LOVES it! The staff really cares about the kids and it is evident everytime I drop my son off. My son loves his teachers and loves going to school! He has learned so much that I didn’t know it was possible at his age. He has been going there for almost a year and I wouldn’t even consider changing schools. We are lucky to have such good people take care of our son when we are at work. Thank you to Golden Minds Preschool and teachers. I would HIGHLY recommend this school if you are considering placing your child out in town!

    • Hi Tawnia, I saw your post of Golden Minds. I’m considering them for my 4 year old son. What I really want to inquire about is if he’ll learn to start recognizing letters, numbers, writing his name? Maybe even learn sounds. I’m just thinking that if I’m going to pay for school, I’d like to know that he won’t be drawing and playing all day. What has your experience been like? Thanks for your input. Grace

      • Grace, not only do they learn everything you mentioned in English, but they learn some of it in Japanese too! Definitely not a coloring and playing school all day. They do play and have fun too but they have school work and a schedule every day. I’ve never been happier with a school. He will definitely stay there until we PCS because he loves it, he’s learning and the staff and teachers are great! Highly recommended!!

  7. I am a mother of 2 girls and also Active Duty, so is my husband who is always being deployed. GMAIP has been my saving grace most of the time during early or late shifts, the 0600-1800 is definitely a winner!
    Whenever my husband is deployed, my girls get very sad, but due to the care and support they get from the school staff, they are able to cope with the longing for their father most of the time. I am very pleased and very grateful for GMAIP, It was such an easy transition from when we got here on Okinawa from Virginia back in April 2012 due to GMAIP’s flexibility and support for parents like me yet, they keep discipline and instill discipline, order, knowledge-gaining in a fun and caring way. Thank you Mrs. and Mr. Tan for all the support.

  8. Golden Mind Achiever’s International Preschool caters both International and Montessori method of teaching. Not only that they have dedicated teachers, (who are also “legitimate” licensed teachers from the Philippines).

    My daughter, who is currently enrolled in 4-6 years old academic program, is learning a lot. They have commendable structured learning curriculum. It’s evidently not just a day care, but an excellent preschool that thrives children for learning.

    The owner Miss Cathy, is very approachable, and she works hand in hand with the current principal Miss Beth; whom has childhood and development background.

    As a parent, it gives me the peace of mind, knowing that I am sending my daughter to a preschool that meets even above my own expectations.
    It’s worth checking for you parents out there, who are hunting for a good preschool for your children.

  9. they said they are school , but to my observation when ive been there its just a day care, my child needs a more structured and more organized school environment for learning

  10. Hi there we just moved here about a week ago and am looking forward to going to see this school i sat and read all the reviews and am very much happy that this school is so close we are going to be living on foster my almost 3 year old will hopefully attending this school soon i am also looking forward to being a volunteer here during holidays etc:)

  11. I really love GMA and would recommend them to anyone looking for a great daycare/preschool. I brought my daughter there at 6 weeks old. She had just had surgery and was very small and fragile. Her teachers took such good care of her and she flourished at GMA. The staff is all so friendly and the kids are well taken care of. When the CDC on base finally had a spot for my daughter I declined and kept her at GMA. It was well worth the commute from Kinser because of the peace of mind I had with the staff and school. I really enjoyed the amount of family interaction the school provided. The schools Christmas program was outstanding. My family will miss GMA.

  12. I really love this school and the teacher’s. Both my kids go here! I have a 4 year old son and a 1 year old little girl. They both love going to the school. They are always happy to go. The teachers have a smile on their faces all the time! My son has learned so much from the ladies at this school. He has to start school late because of his birthday, but they teach the kids so well he is so ready for school right now! He can write his first and last name, knows his colors, numbers and he does math very well. They teach them different languages as well! My little girls is talking and singing. She is learning so much. I know my kids are in great hands with the school! You should really take your child to this school! Thanks Ms. Cathy for everything. Keep up the great work!

  13. My sons are both in GMA. TheY are 5 & 3 y/o & I love the fact that they are both in the same class. My 5 y/o, to begin with, already knows how to read when he get into the school & while he’s there, he got better at reading & can work on his writing & drawing skills very efficiently. He also started doing homeroom stuffs like folding clothes & washing dishes. I like that they make the curriculum very versatile. My 3 y/o has also improved a lot. Especially being 3 isn’t easy!lol kidding aside, he learned to write his name, recite the alphabets & count 1-100! His improvement is really amazing & started working on arts with precision. The teachers are very much knowledgable of their work & very efficient with those who needs one-on-one coaching. Ms. Catherine, the owner is very accommodating & she makes sure that the kids are learning in a good pace. She sits in the class to observe their activities & make notes inorder to improve whatever needs to.
    My experience with them is very favorable & as well as my boys. I am highly recommending GMA to anyone who wants quality education fr their li’l ones!
    P.S. their cost is also very affordable compared to other pre-ks out there.plus, plus!!!

  14. My 21 month old son has been attending GMA for a few months now and we just couldn’t be any happier. They have exceeded my expectations by sending home a daily written report of everything from his diaper changes to his mood for the day. They are very friendly, caring and so understanding. My son has been sick a few times and has missed days, but they allow me to bring him in to make up for lost days of work for me. I feel very confident in the teachers and staff and have noticed a big improvement with my sons ability to interact with other kids. They’re even potty training and they brush his teeth daily. I would recommend using their meal plans because my son has definitely become more adventurous with his food since we initiated that. I love this school and we will surely miss it when we PCS!

  15. I have 2 children who attend Goldenmind Achievers and my husband and I are very happy with this preschool! Their curriculum is wonderful and they are always finding new ways to improve it along with keeping the days fun for the children. All of the teachers are very friendly and extremely caring and loving to each child, they quickly learn each childs needs and are very attentive to them. Even the owner is active in knowing each child and makes us all feel at home every day we go. The school is always very clean and the home cooked lunches are a big plus, they’re healthy and our kids get to try new foods which I find important. Its amazing how much both of my kids have learned in the 4 months they have been there. We really feel very lucky to have found such a great school for our boys. It can be tough moving to a new country and having to trust others with your precious children and at Goldenmind I always know they are in safe and caring hands! I highly recommend this school to anyone who is looking for a great place for their child to learn, thrive and enjoy their days!!

  16. I have been with the school since last year and recommend them to everyone. As a Active Duty mom they have been amazing with my daughter, she loves going in the morning and I feel she is overly loved and cared for. The price is very good for a daycare here in Okinawa, and they make lunch every day, so the kids eat a warm meal which is very important to me. I have never had any problems and all of my requests have been listened to and done no questions asked.
    Good Luck to everyone…

  17. Congratulations on your upcoming move! Okinawa is a great place to be stationed at. It has so much to offer. Been here 8 yrs and not once did we feel bored.
    Golden Mind is a very nice preschool/daycare with very friendly staff. Definitely check it out when you get here.

  18. Thank you so much for the review! We will be arriving in mid-August with our 2 year old and I am scouting out preschools for her. Thus far, she has been home with me and we home school. She does need interaction with other children though. 9am – 3pm seems like a long day for her, but we will keep this school in mind for sure!

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