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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.


Name of School: Sunshine Montessori School
Address: 1 Chome-9-10 Kitamae, Chatan, Nakagami District
Phone: 098-936-9968 (Japanese number) OR 904-371-99070 (US number)
Ages Accepted: birth to 6 years

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

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

What is the current number of students? 69

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

Does my child have to be potty-trained to attend? Ages 3 and up do need to be potty trained. If they are under 3 they will help to potty train them.

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

Days and hours:
What are the school’s hours? Monday through Friday 6:30am to 5:30pm for under 3 years old and 6:00am to 6:00pm for 3-6 years old

Is the school on a Japanese or American schedule? American Schedule

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

What are the registration fees? $100.00

What are the tuition fees? 2009-2010 school year prices are yet to be announced, currently $400.00 per month for 9 to 3

If any, what are the assessment and school supplies fees? Activity fees $280.00 (3-6) $150.00 (2years) these include field trips, food and class materials.

Is there a late-pickup fee? Yes

How and when does the school require payment (in yen, dollars, etc.)? Payment is due by the 5th of the month and Dollars and Yen are both accepted.

Parent Involvement and Interaction
Does the school encourage spontaneous visits from parents?  Yes

How do you communicate with parents? parent/ teacher conferences, regular newsletters, daily communication with the teachers. They are always available to speak to and very friendly and helpful.

Is there a daily report or other process for informing parents of what  children did during the day (naps, BMs, snacks, etc.)? yes

Are there parent/teacher conferences? yes

Classroom Structure and Size
How are the kids grouped? Mixed ages / grouped by age? Mixed ages

What’s the teacher-child ratio in each group? Newborn to one year 4:1 Two and older 8:1

How many full-time teachers do you have? How many assistants? Each classroom has full time teachers and assistants the amount varies by classroom and what is needed.

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

Is there a playground for the children to play on? There is a play park behind the school building where they play weather permitting, as often as possible

What do the children do on any given day? Curriculum involves Language (American and Japanese) Everyday living lessons, Sensorial, Math, Geography, Science (my son’s class dissected a fish. He thought it was amazing. I am never surprised by the wonderful things they expose him to.) and Arts and crafts

Are there extracurricular activities or field trips? Yes

How does the school discipline children? First they receive an eye to eye talk, time outs in the thinking chair follow if the talking alone does not work.

How does the school comfort children? Lots of hugs and eye contact

Final Comments or Observations about the School
I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the entire staff of this school. My son has been attending for 1 year. There is no one else that I would trust to take such good care of him. The meals that are prepared for them daily are wonderful and well balanced, we are not talking sandwiches, more like salmon and rice with a veggie, or Yakisoba! I always go on the field trips and have observed the wonderful relationship that the teachers have with the children. All of the different teachers from other classes know my son by name. It is a very warm and welcoming place that is always very clean. They have put on adorable performances for holidays and do really neat craft projects. I absolutely love this school and recommend it to anyone looking for a safe, educational place for their child.


  1. I have two kids and they have been going to this school for almost 2 yrs. I absolutely love their curriculum and everything that they do for the kids. It’s a lil pricey (compared to the CDC on-base) but soooo worth it. Even the drive is worth it (work & live near kadena). This isn’t just some daycare, the kids learn so much that it’s impressive at their age. There’s really nothing bad that I could say about Sunshine, I absolutely recommend them. The reason I went with them in the first place is because there were nothing but positive reviews, the other parents seem to be very happy with this school. And the teachers here are very friendly and genuine.

  2. Hi Lisa,
    My son is 3.5yrs old have never been to school or any daycare setting. However i’ve been homeschooling him and he’s reading, writing, producing kindergarten/first grade level work. There’s been limited amount of posts up and the few thats up were enough to make any parent raise an eyebrow. Im interested in sending him to Santa Monica. Would you please tell me more about this school.

  3. This school and it’s curriculum is wonderful, up until I found out that director who runs the school tends to favor some of the parents compared to others. I happened to befriend a higher ranking mother who was being given a few freebies, every once in a while, because at the end of the day, the other children’s tuition would cover the cost. Unfair? I believe so. A director should run their program equally with each Individually, since we are all paying the same amount of money.

    • I second that motion! My child went there for about 1.5 years. I had a falling out with one of the “favored” mothers (who I think is racist) and suddenly my child and I fell out of favor. The director is nice but she has her favorites. I moved my child to Santa Monica ( the rumors are NOT true) and she has already learned all of her phonics, and is reading ready ( even reads some signs and some easy to read books). All of this in 4 months!! Prior to our leaving I had my son in the academic program there. The teacher “L” said some pretty vicious things about us because my son was not learning enough and assumed I was not working with him ay home. Turns out he was just a late bloomer and is doing fine now. I guess she does not have the skills to teach ALL kids. Only those who are easy to teach.

  4. The school is now located between the Camp Foster Commissary gate and Araha Beach…it is not directly on 58 (although I believe it used to be). You will need to purchase the school shirt for your child…there are different styles. There is before and after school care (school hours are 9-3) but it is extra depending on what you need? I believe it is $120 extra for both and maybe $50 for just before or $70 for just after…so the school would be available from 6 am-6 pm. Tuition for 2011-12 is $465/mo and then extra for the before/after programs. They also offer swimming lessons for an additional Y4000 which is about $50.00/mo. As far as how long it takes from Kadena?? Kadena is a very large base, so it depends on where you live…it could take anywhere from 15-30 min. But keep in mind that traffic can get very congested at times around here…so it could take longer. Hope this info helps!!

  5. All,
    Thanks for all the helpful information on this school. I am currently in Germany and will be PCSing there in about 4 weeks with my 4y/o son Joseph. He will be 5 in October. How far is this school from Kadena?

  6. There is no uniform, but you will need to buy school t-shirts for your child to wear to school each day. I think they are 10$ each. They provide lunches cooked in the kitchen downstairs every day, but the parents take turns providing afternoon snacks.

  7. Okay this is crazy. My son attends the school program at Sunshine and I can tell you that his teachers are beyond awesome. Who cares if they work a second job? I don’t. All that I can say is that his teachers have never presented an image that is anything less than professional and they provide a great learning enviroment there.

  8. So, let’s get this straight. It’s ok for you to go in a bar and drink, but a teacher is not allowed to work a second job or to drink in public with men who could have been a husband, boyfriend, or even a brother or other family member? Hypocrite much?

  9. Sunshine is a good school for your kids? You think so? `Cause last time that i had a time with my wife, we went out for a drink and i didn`t expect that one of the Sunshine teacher is working in a bar! Her face is easily identified! I didn`t bother myself posting a comment about Sunshine after that untill me and my wife saw her again in a park drinking with this other teacher(with the long haired too) with Japanese men in public place! Oh Good Lord! And when i pick up my kid last week, i saw Sunshine hired another teacher that working in a bar too? What are your qualifications in hiring your teachers Sunshine Montessori School?

  10. Hey- just to update the info about Sunshine – they have moved to a new location. They are now about 2 minutes from Foster’s Commissary Gate. If you head out the gate going north as if you were going to go to Lester or Kadena, go to the first light (Cow-Cow Used Cars on the corner) and turn down that little road. When it ends at the light turn right and then take an immediate right again (you’ll see Pink Dracula on the corner). Sunshine will be in the next block in a sunny yellow building and you should have no trouble seeing the sign.

  11. Hi, I just wanted to say that Sunshine has different levels of tuition based on age and level of care needed. Because my husband and I work full time, our son attends the Extended Care program, which means he is able to come in before school starts, receives breakfast, lunch, and is able to stay after school ends until we pick him up at 5pm. Tuition for this level of care and age is $540 a month. I want to say that based on rank and level of care, this is comparable to the CDC. On most days depending on weather, they have play time at the park after lunch (like recess) and at the time I pick him up (around 4:30 – 5:00pm). The other posters are correct, Japanese is taught, and the children are immersed in “work” during the day. They are also given art projects, math, science (parts of the flower, leaf, etc.). He is clean when he comes home and is very happy. His classroom size is < 20 students. & I want to stress that the children are given structure, but not overly so. They are little kids, after all! Good luck with your research! (Note: This comment was originally posted on Feb. 26, 2009, and has been copied and pasted from another post which has since been closed.)

  12. My son has been going to Sunshine for a year. I absolutely love it. (They do not play on the roof by the way, but do spend time on the patios and trips to the park and walks) My son is just turning 3 and can speak some Japanese and has learned so many things I never would have thought to teach a child so young. I feel that he is very safe there and always come home clean and happy. They also prepare wonderful meals for them everyday. I can not say enough good things about the school. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in a safe, educational place for their children.

    (Note: This comment was originally posted on Feb. 23, 2009, and has been copied and pasted from another post which has since been closed.)

  13. Hi. I currently have all 3 of my children at Sunshine Montessori School. And they are amazing-the owner and the staff really care about the kids and they learn so much. The older kids (3-5) go to the park right behind the school almost on a daily basis-weather permitting. The younger kids (1 and 2 year olds)do play on the balcony in the back but the wall is 4 ft high at least and it is padded with mats on the floor. They do take them for walks as well and to the park earlier in the day-just not as much as the older kids. My kids learn so much-each day they have a different lesson (reading, math, science, geography, and japanese-in the older classroom). My 4 year old can use japanese words and sing songs in japanese and korean. It is a wonderful environment. hope this helps.

    (Note: This comment was originally posted on Feb. 23, 2009, and has been copied and pasted from another post which has since been closed.)

  14. My children also went to UICFS for a year. At first it was great, the teachers were awesome, the director was wonderful and my oldest was 4 and learning all kinds of things. Then after 6mths, a couple of teachers quit and they had too many kids and not enough teachers. My 1yr old was coming home with bite marks all the time. The teacher never knew who did it or when it happened. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and now they go to Sunshine Montessory in HWY 58 and I LOVE IT!! I can’t say enough good things about this school. It does cost a lttle more than UICFS, but it is well worth the $$. Depending on the age group, Sunshine also takes the kids to swimming lessons during the summer. They go on lots of field trips and once the weather starts to warm up. They will take daily walks to the park. I really like the fact that the kids are not stuck inside the building all day. I too have had my kids at the CDC on Kadena and I agree with everyone else. It is pretty much a daycare were the kids are playing all day. There is no learning structure at all. I hope this helps.

    (Note: This comment was originally posted on Feb. 22, 2009, and has been copied and pasted from another post which has since been closed.)

  15. I work full time and my son doesn’t go to the school you’re interested in but wanted to chime in. He goes to Sunshine Montessori School Hwy 58 just outside of Camp Lester’s back gate, and we’re really enjoying having him there. As someone who had him at Foster’s CDC on hourly care before I worked, I can tell you that the CDC is great care and filled with good staff. But it is not a school. It is a day care. & I think that’s what you have to decide on if you’re considering the CDCs. My son is 5 now, and by 4 was doing 1st grade level work. I credit his interests in math and reading, but I give full thanks to the teachers who work with him and encourage him. There are some great preschools out there on this island, and there are some great daycares. Just do what is best for your child. Thx!

    (Note: This comment was originally posted on Feb. 22, 2009, and has been copied and pasted from another post which has since been closed.)

  16. They are on 58, just past Lester, towards Kadena. If you don’t know what you are looking for and don’t have some sharp eyes, then you’ll drive right by it multiple times. If you’re heading up 58 towards Kadena, going past the American Village area, on your left you’ll see an OSD (white sign with blue letters) office and an A&W, then a bus stop. Right after the bus stop is a tall white building. Pull in and park in the lot under the building. The school is on the 2nd and 3rd floors. If you get to the next light with the Jomo gas station on the corner, then you’ve gone too far. Turn left there and go back around the block and try again. I think they have openings for 2 year olds, and I believe one of the little boys is about to PCS in a month or so. But just give them a call or email to find out.

  17. I enrolled my daughter there a couple of months ago and have had a generally positive experience and would certainly recommend the center to anyone. I’m not sure that they do part time care- maybe for infants. My 2 1/2 year old goes 9-3 every day and the time just flies by! She is always happily playing with other kids when I come to pick her up, and in the mornings she asks me, “see friends?” or “go friends?” Back in North Carolina I paid at least twice as much per month for a program that was not even half this good, so I have no problems with the tuition. Everyone there is very friendly and very approachable. I didn’t see the phone number listed above, but it is 098-936-9968 and you can call them for more info about part time. Or you can send them an email them at

  18. I just left the Sunshine Montessori School with my daughter. I enrolled her this morning and as I was leaving I noticed 2 very young boys (3-4yrs old) hiding in the parking lot. (YES, the one that is RIGHT ON 58). After questioning the boys, and contacting the staff, we found out that the boys had just had their photos taken at the park behind the school and that the (new) teacher thought that they were back upstairs in class. I don’t think that this happens every day – I was quite impressed with the staff that I came in contact with, but knowing that this is a possibility – made me withdraw my daughter immediately.
    The boys were hiding behind cars and running around the open parking lot. I’m lucky to have seen them – I could’ve easily hit them with my car, or they easily could have run into 58, where there is a lot of traffic. I’m sorry this happened – but think that the parents who take their kids here should know about this!

  19. I second this review. My son (who was 4 at the time) went to this preschool from March ’08 – August ’08 and I have nothing but good things to say. Jungsook is a wonderfully caring Director and person in general. The curriculum was great and they went to the park every day (except when the rain was really coming down)…

  20. I just went to do a visit with the school because I am thinking of very seriously letting my 2-1/2 go here. The only thing that I’m worried about with her is that she’s not yet fully potty-trained. We have been working on it, but she is not going on her own yet. Thank you for this post, it was very helpful.