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Dubious Preschools in Japan

Japan With Kids - Forums: Education in Japan: Dubious Preschools in Japan
By access accessent on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 12:07 am:

Beware EDubious Preschool in Tokyo

Beware of those dubious International Preschools who are by advertisement offer good and encouraging programs to your kids. However, never put their program to actual practice, but just want to rip you off millions of Yen from your pockets. Many of these Preschools are using Caucasian people as front to attract mostly wealthy Japanese parents. Some of them are not even native English speakers. Even if they are native English speaker, they do not have the qualification as teacher or not even an assistant teacher. Some of them even work as waitresses, bar attendants, or burger house part time worker back in their country. I am sorry to say, but many Japanese look up to Caucasian people to be more superior race, I don't have any prejudice to any race, but honesty is what I am after. The reason why these Preschools are hiring these people is for the reason of cheaper salary. Hiring qualified teachers cost more than these unqualified dubious teachers. Considering America having shortage of teacher, and offering salary from US$3.000 to US$5,000 where cost of living is much cheaper than in Japan, clearly show that these people are not qualified teacher, because they can't even be qualified to teach knowing not having the proper training. One popular preschool in Hiro-o, Shibuya-ku and have branches in two other places hire these kinds of people, and uses their school for training teacher at the expense of their pupils while ripping off your money. I guess, it is about time that parent should realized the problem. Make sure your children gets proper preschool education in order to be accepted to bigger international school when they move to grade one or higher grade. It is your right to demand and know that your children get the proper education Please disseminate this info to everybody you know of concern.

By Peter E on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 12:52 am:

Thank you for your diatribe.
Which looks to me like some sort of attempted catharsis.
Either name names or hold your peace. All you have done is try to cast some Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt in the minds of other readers. This serves little benefit to anyone.
Japan does not require teachers to hold formal certification to be a teacher. Look at all those "English Teachers" prostituting themselves at language schools like NOVA. Their adverts make it look like a free sex tour ...

By access accessent on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 11:40 pm:

I believe you misunderstood my message. Learning other foreign language is different from educating small children in preparation to formally attend grade school. An English teacher doesn't really need a formal certification, preschools do require. If you have a child, are you willing to pay million of yen to a school where you child goes just to play? What happen when the child reach the age that he need to attend grade school? This is the problem, because lots of these kids fails to pass interviews and basic test when they tries to enroll to big international schools.

By Steve K on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 5:09 pm:

So can you name names? Which schools have you had bad experiences with? (Same question to other JWK members reading this)

By Admin on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 9:10 pm:

Stipulation from Admin:
If names are named, and I have no objection to it per se, please compose your comments carefully with some detailed support/evidence. I do not wish to have a lawsuit on my hands, (though there is nothing much here to sue for, it might be possible to cause trouble for the existance of this site).

Furthermore, the comment has been offered before on other threads, that as parents one should do one's research carefully. One should not only visit a school, but visit more than one school, have a list of questions on hand, and put in the effort, wear down the heels, do one's homework carefully.

The recent demise of a "school" and the running out on parents by the owner with their money is I think a very blunt wake-up call. By all means let's share our research efforts so that we don't have to cover the same ground over and over again. For this purpose, I would suggest that you post your research findings in the conversation for that school (for international schools this would be at

Regarding very early childhood education, my perception is that there are not really Japanese Preschools in the Western sense. Most Japanese mothers still keep their kids at home until Kindergarten, with the odd couple of hours a week at some activity. There is Kindergarten (Yochien) but earlier ages are really in "Nurseries". Having written that, the lines between definitions get really muddy, because the better nurseries all do pre-school type of activities and work hard to stimulate the bodies and minds of their young charges. This is actually the best way to keep these youngsters from crying, after all.

Yes, it is true that a typical Japanese nursery may offer an English teacher for a couple of hours a week possibly as a marketing tool, but the caretakers are always on hand, and it is generally thought that a degree in education is not really needed for what is seen here as nanny work.

Now in the international schools, the whole approach is couched in education lingo, but the end results are pretty similar. So, if you think your 2.5 year old is going to suffer if outside the native English environment, then you will need to pay big money. But if you as the parent are willing to suffer as non-Japanese speaking and all the communication headaches which come with that, you will be able to enjoy some excellant care for your kids at Japanese nurseries for much less!

By access accessent on Monday, June 28, 2004 - 1:25 am:

As our Admin. has mentioned in his message, it better that we research first to different school, and ask if their teachers are certified, otherwise they just rip off your million of yens. Child's foundation if very important, so let us make sure they get what they deserve, since we are spending that much. But last but not the least, God knows, there are less than 50% of these preschools used certified teachers. As I have mentioned in my first message, if you intend to send you child to a big int'l school later when they need to advance to grade one, be sure to find the right school for your child. No matter if it is small or big, ask for their curriculum, and you will have an idea of the school, then observe for a day at their school how kids are doing. Otherwise, your child will be ending being rejected from big int'l school due to failed interview and test.

By Peter E on Monday, June 28, 2004 - 1:44 am:

I do not believe you actually read a word of our gracious admin's posting.

In fact, your latest posting is just more diatribe. Not particularly eloquent at that. Your best solution at the moment is to stop posting. In part because people like me (not the admin) will tear your posting to bits, and in part because, one hopes, you do not want to put your foot in your mouth any further.

By Nancy on Monday, June 28, 2004 - 10:49 am:

"Now in the international schools, the whole approach is couched in education lingo, but the end results are pretty similar". If more parents of teenagers participated on this forum, I am sure I would not be the only one to challenge this statement. All International schools do not follow the same curriculum/approach, particulately in the middle and high schools.

By Shibuya on Monday, June 28, 2004 - 11:26 am:

I believe this was in reference to preschools only. ("international"{English-
speaking} preschools vs. Japanese "hoikuen" and "yochien")

By Scott Hancock on Monday, June 28, 2004 - 1:42 pm:

I would have to challenge Cornelia's statement that "in the international [pre-] schools, the whole approach is couched in education lingo, but the end results are pretty similar.

Our experience is that some pre-schools are better than others. And some do a lot more than "enhanced nanny work" (and remember there are accredtied nannys out there).

I will cite our experience at Sunshine Montessori as being way beyond that. My son will still refer to things he learned there 6-7 years ago. And there are even more qualities that he was exposed to that are uncosciously benefitting him.

I do pale at the lingo, as well. But, there is real benefit to putting in the work of actually checking out schools against each of our personal criteria and chemistry.

By access accessent on Thursday, July 1, 2004 - 12:39 am:

Sorry Peter, you are giving me a hint that you are one of the ripper owner of that dubious preschool, or one those pretending to be teacher. You are too defensive. Instead of helping parents find the right school for their children, you are instead obviously trying to kill the article about these dubious school. I believe it is you who should stop posting messages, because you will just feel humiliated if I slap on your face the names of those dubious schools.

By Peter E on Thursday, July 1, 2004 - 9:59 am:

Hahahaaa, defensive? Go look in a mirror. I have nothing to hide, especially not from the likes of you. Name names or shut up.

By Admin on Sunday, July 4, 2004 - 6:29 am:

I would like to remind "Peter E" and "access accessent" that these forums are read by many busy parents (there are about 1000 families registered) and wasting our time with unconstructive posts is nothing less than rude. Please restrict yourselves to positive thinking with problem solving as your goal, rather than "flaming".

Nancy, yes (Thank you, Shibuya, for reading my somewhat hastily composed post), I was referring to pre-schools only, and yes, Scott, you are right, there are private international pre-schools that stand out significantly above the rest, but I would also point out that my daughter also has memorable moments of learning from her hoikuen experience. Even one staff person at a "school" or "nursery" can make all the difference in the world. In addition my daughter has many memorable moments from her first year at NewISch too. So it is difficult to assess if the memorable moments are due entirely to the place where they took place or if they are common to that time of life or the combined environment of home and school at that time, etc.

At any rate, many parents don't have the time to fully research all the philosophies developed regarding early childhood education. It's a daunting task. In Arlington County where I have considered moving back to in the USA, there is a very inovative and overhauled public school system that includes magnet schools, alternative curriculums, before and after care for kids of working parents, and much more. It needs hours of familiarization with the lingo, and then further digging to find out what exactly the attributes are that the lingo describes. I think this is very much the case with the private institutions available in Japan as well. And if you don't have time to visit more than one school and do it in depth, then you don't have many comparison points handy.

It is not necessarily easy to see what you are paying for! My own feeling had been, as a first time mother, that any person experienced with small children was likely to do a better job than I, since I had no experience at all. But then I learned that I occupy a special position just be virtue of being the mother, and that my kid absorbs a tremendous amount at home from watching me. This was no less intimidating since of course I model plenty of less attractive behaviors as well as a few good ones. So then you can get into further discussion about how your kid learns when you combine the "at home" and "at school" environments into your analysis.

I feel that a lot of foreigners shy away unecessarily from the Japanese kindergartens. The stretching of the childhood brain that occurs when in a bi-lingual environment (i.e. Japanese at "school" and English at home)is in itself a huge stimulus to growing the abilities of the mind.

By Access Accessent on Monday, February 13, 2006 - 10:21 am:

I just want to inform all parents who are sending their childrens to those fancy international Preschool to check well the background of the teacher if they are really certified. Because I just withdrew my two children last year after finding it out that most of the teacher in Rainbow International School were not qualified teacher. I had the suspicision after noticing that the school keeps on changing teacher every now and then. So I suggest that you should check this out before paying millions of yen for your child's education.

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