SCHOOL INFORMATION INDEX
So you and your family are here on Okinawa (or getting ready to PCS to our lovely island) and you’ve got questions about the schools. Well, we’ve got some answers.
Links to DoDEA Websites
DoDDS Kindergarten & First Grade Entrance Age Requirements: “Kindergarten students must be five years old on/or before 1 September of the current calendar year to be eligible to register for the upcoming school year. First Grade students must be six years old on/or before 1 September of the current calendar year to be eligible to register for the upcoming school year.”
School Commuting Zones (Guide & Maps)
School-Aged Services Program on Kadena Air Force Base and Marine Corps Bases
Off-Base Childcare and Preschool Reviews
Listed below are the preschools we have information on, all submitted by our readers. Please keep in mind that these are all parent-submitted reviews; Okinawa Hai does not endorse or recommend any specific schools, and the information about fees and costs may not be entirely up-to-date. Please contact each school directly for more accurate information.
Chatan, Okinawa City, Sunabe Areas (convenient to Kadena Air Base, Camp Lester, Torii Station)
Okinawa Montessori School International- 2013 review; 2007/2010 review Montessori preschool; ages 2.5 to 6; Sunabe
Baby 123 Island Style Daycare – English-speaking daycare; ages 6 weeks to kindergarten age; Chatan
Ai International Preschool – Montessori-style; ages birth to 5 years; Chatan
All Souls’ Episcopal Church Children’s Program – Christian-based preschool; ages 2-4; Chatan
American Preschool Mihama – English-speaking daycare & preschool; ages 1-6; Chatan
Busy Bee International School – ages 2 years -3rd grade; Chatan
East West Montessori School – Montessori; ages 3-6; Chatan
Golden Mind Achievers International Preschool – Montessori-style daycare & preschool; 6 weeks to 6 years old; Chatan
House of Joy Child Care & Learning Center – ages 6 weeks to 6 years; Chatan
Kids Place 24 Hour Rush Daycare – CLOSED
Kids Plus 1 – Japanese drop off daycare; ages 1 to 12 years; Chatan
Koza Seibo Yochien – Japanese-language preschool; ages 2-5; Okinawa City
Kuwae Preschool – American preschool; ages 3-5; Lester Navy Base
Matsumoto Daycare and Preschool – Japanese daycare & preschool; ages 1-6; Matsumodo
-Admissions CLOSED to New English Speaking Students
Rainbow Montessori Education Center – 2012 Review; 2008 Review Montessori preschool; birth to age 6; Sunabe
Z’s International Daycare & Preschool – daycare & preschool; 6 months to age 5; Chatan
Ginowan, Kitanakagusuku, Nakagusuku Area (convenient to Camp Foster)
AmerAsian School of Okinawa – American-style grade school on Okinawan schedule; grades 1-9; Ginowan
Cherry Blossom Preschool – ages 2 months to 3 years; Kitanakagusuku
Clover Montessori International Preschool – 2-6 (Montessori program; after school care up to age 10); Ginowan
Educare Montessori International Preschool – 6 weeks to 5 years; Kitanakagusuku
Hirayasu Yochien – Japanese-language preschool; ages 3-6; Nakagusuku
Kids Plus 1 – Japanese drop off daycare; 1 to 12 years old; near Camp Foster
Sunshine Montessori School Montessori preschool; birth to age 6; near Camp Foster
Uruma Area (convenient to Camp Courtney & Camp McTureous)
Da Vinci International School – International School; preschool to Highschool available
Hanazono Yochien – Japanese-language preschool; ages 3-6 years; between McTureous & Courtney
Youzefu Yochien – Japanese-language preschool; 2-5 years; Uruma
Urasoe Area (convenient to Camp Kinser)
Sonrise English Preschool & Kindergarten Christian preschool; 2-5 years; near Camp Kinser
Off-Base Elementary School Options
Listed below are posts about off-base elementary school options on Okinawa, all submitted by our readers. Please keep in mind that these are all parent-submitted reviews; Okinawa Hai does not endorse or recommend any specific schools, and the information about fees and costs may not be entirely up-to-date. Please contact each school directly for more accurate information.
Okinawa Christian School International – American/Christian-based curriculum; K4 to 12th grade; Yomitan
Maranatha Baptist Academy – American/Christian-based curriculum; K4 to 4th Grade; near Kadena AFB
World Mission Christian School – American/Christian-based curriculum; pre-K to 12th grade; Nakagusuku
On-Base Childcare & Preschool Options
Sure Start – preschool program at DODEA schools
Kadena Child Development Center & Preschool Programs & – daycare & preschool; ages 6 weeks to 5 years; Kadena Air Base
*Kadena Air Base Child Development Centers
*Kadena Air Base Family Child Care Program
Helpful Reader Comment: The Family Child Care office on Kadena offers a list of off-base childcare providers. They are located at building 1850 behind the *Kadena Youth Center. Their number is 634-3464, if you want to call. They are on the same road as the USO; coming in Gate 2 take the first right just past the entrance to the USO; it will be on your right (the building looks like a fire dept. building.)
*Okinawa Marine Corps Bases Child Development Centers
Note: CDCs on USMC bases (run by MCCS) do not have preschool programs. In our research we were told they have “age appropriate curricula” for children up to five years old, but they do not have a dedicated preschool program.
*Okinawa Marine Corps Bases Family Child Care Program
*Link to official DoD webpages
Below are schools for which we had reviews here on Okinawa Hai, but which we have subsequently removed at the request of the schools’ administration. Please note that in accordance with our Legal Page policy we will not publish updated reviews of these schools in the future. Thank you for your understanding.
Duke’s Preschool Center (removed December 2015)
Santa Monica International Kids School (removed April 2013)
Wee Care International Preschool (removed June 2014)
Do you have a child enrolled in a school not listed here? Want to let other parents know what you think of it? Email our Submissions Manager about filling out a template.
(Note: This comment has been moved to this thread from a now-deleted post. We felt this comment is a valuable addition to our site and wanted to retain its helpful information for our community.)
When Choosing a Preschool: First of all, you need to understand that everyone is going to have a different opinion on every preschool. This is why you need to visit a few different schools to meet the director, the teachers, and see the facilities. Do not rely on word of mouth or others opinions. When considering a preschool, check for the following things: Class size, curriculum, sanitizing methods/standards, teacher qualifications, method of discipline used, emergency plan (for fires, inclement weather, etc). The best preschools will be readily able to answer your questions.
Class Size: Keep in mind that there are legal teacher/student ratios, and then there are ideal teacher/student ratios that vary by age. Just because a class size is legal does not mean it is an ideal situation. Unfortunately, most preschools will fill their classrooms with as many students as they can to turn a bigger profit. This can lead to teacher burn-out and less individual time for each child.
Curriculum: Some curricula (Creative Curriculum, for example) have pre-set standards of exactly how students should be learning, what learning materials and toys may be used, and how discipline should be dealt out. Other curricula make academics the focus of their program. Make sure the curriculum being used matches what you want for your child.
Sanitizing Methods: Schools should be properly sanitizing toys and surfaces with bleach and water mixture on a very regular basis. If they are not, your child is at a higher risk of catching communicable diseases. I don’t care how clean the school appears, or what the director says about the other products they use for cleaning, bleach water is the only way to properly sterilize a preschool. Think about this: Preschool age kids still put play food in their mouths, etc. You have no idea what that child may be carrying. While you’re asking about cleanliness standards, ask the director and teachers where they store their cleaning products when not in use. Are they locked away from little hands?
Teacher Qualifications: Finding qualified preschool teachers can be very difficult. It’s not an easy job and preschool teachers are notoriously underpaid considering everything their job entails. However, even a beginning teacher should be CPR certified/First Aid certified; should have received specialized training in reporting child abuse and neglect, how to administer ASQ’s, handling hazardous materials, and at least a basic early childhood development course. Make sure the teachers have passed a background check!
Discipline: A preschool should NEVER use any sort of corporal punishment on its students. Hand-smacking, shoulder grabbing, etc. are all signs of a teacher who is not in control. Yelling is also a sign of a teacher who is out of control. Some preschools use a method called Positive Guidance, where a child’s actions are redirected in a positive way. Other preschools will use time-outs, which are fine as long as they are administered in a positive manner and not inappropriately long. And other parents should NEVER discipline another person’s child, no matter how wrong you think that child’s behavior is and even if you think the teacher is not doing anything about a bad behavior. Some schools allow parent volunteers, however, they are still not entitled to discipline other children verbally or physically.
Emergency Plans: All preschools should regularly practice fire drills so that the kids know what to do should a real fire occur. Here in Okinawa, the preschools should have typhoon procedures in place so that parents know what to do in each state of typhoon readiness. Classroom doors should be locked from entry on the outside so that no strangers can enter unexpectedly and the entry door should have some sort of security in place. I have a few scary stories about non-custodial parents trying to gain access to their children at preschools and crime taking place in preschool parking lots or on preschool grounds- Stuff I experienced first-hand. Trust me, even here on Okinawa, security is important. It sounds like a lot, but this is the place where your child could be spending the majority of their time during the work week. Make sure it is safe, fun, quality time!
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