kodomo No Ie
Philosophy

The goal for our Japanese classes is to develop Japanese language skills while the children use the language as a "thinking tool", or "communication tool" to complete various assignments. Our classes consist of various age-appropriate materials that are based on real- life experiences, rather than focusing on just linguistic studies.

In order to achieve language proficiency, we will learn basic skills such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It is crucial that children know these skills, because from there we will motivate learning new things using the new language skills they have just acquired. As a result, we lead children to have fun, and meaningful learning.


Specific considerations.

1. Setting the environment to help groups of children with different levels of learning skills and providing educational help for their development.

Children in grade school age learn at different speeds and through different styles. Japanese language education must match those individual developmental stages, and help them. Development includes linguistic, emotional, social, and learning skills. Therefore even Japanese language classes will not teach just language separately from everything else.

For this reason, Kodomo no Ie Japanese language classes have multi-age classes, rather than grade- or age-based classes. Some children will learn the materials in one year, while others may take one and a half years. In grade-based classes, all the parties including children, parents and teachers must endure stressful decisions whether or not to advance. Multi-age classes allow us to adjust to each individual student's speed of learning.

2. Japanese as a primary language education vs. Japanese as a heritage language education.

In order to establish Japanese as a heritage language from one or more parents, we conduct bilingual education for those children who live in the US with limited Japanese language exposure.

Children in Japan have plenty of Japanese exposure in their everyday lives outside of their classrooms. But children in the US will shift into an English environment as they grow older and spend more time in local schools. Therefore the educational approach that is seen in Japan for teaching the primary language (for children who live in Japan) is not appropriate for children who live in the US.

Kodomo no Ie Japanese classes have the curriculum of "Japanese as a heritage language" based on bilingual education research, which includes not only grammar and Kanji, but also various topics to introduce the language.

3. Learning activities that children themselves find meaningful.

Meaningful learning activities for children means learning activities that children feel that they can "understand", "learn new things using the skills they've just learned", and "have fun". (This is true not only for children in grade-school, but also for learning activities in general)

4. Learning must be fun

The lessons children learn while having fun are the lessons that stay with the children. Learning does not mean just reading difficult books, and/or working on drills on paper.

Activities that look like a play, like walking around among their friends while laughing, can be a good learning process as well. Children often forget time and concentrate on activities, if they are having fun with them.

*Difference from Japanese supplementary school

Kodomo no Ie Japanese language schools on Saturdays are not intended to prepare children for Japanese supplementary schools. They are also not to teach "less" and/or "slower" curriculum for those children who have decided not to stay in supplementary schools for their other Saturday activities.

We teach Japanese based on our original curriculum, which is completely different from supplementary school curricula based on Japanese government standard, (intended mostly for those children who expect to go back to Japan). We advise that parents give plenty of consideration in choosing the school and/or class based on what is best for their children. We urge parents to observe the class in order to comprehensively understand it. Please contact us ahead of your visit by phone or email.


We have a video tape of a lecture "Bilingual education" by Dr. Masako Douglas in our library and it is available for circulation. It is about understanding children's linguistic development in a bilingual environment, and what you can do to support them.