Learning Tree International School (Learning Tree) is a high-performing, pre–K–elementary school in Tokyo, Japan, with campuses near parks as well as major train lines in lively but not overcrowded vicinities. Over the last 16 years, Learning Tree has refined a program that consistently delivers intelligently bilingual students. The school’s success comes from its immersion of young learners into a supportive, English-only community of teachers and peers.
Tokyo has a lot to offer in terms of culture and city life, yet it's just an hour away from the beach and the mountains. This fantastic city for cycling and running is surrounded by areas that offer opportunities for mountain and winter sports. Residents and visitors enjoy local and international sporting events along with museums and galleries. Restaurants and shopping are located around each campus, and most staff members live within walking or cycling distance to work.
Learning Tree, a Japanese Registered Early Childhood Facility, currently enrolls 514 students, most of whom are Japanese. The school delivers the delivers the U.S. Common Core curriculum. The teaching staff of 23 includes 13 North American teachers and five from the U.K.
At Learning Tree, students can begin as early as six months old in the Baby Seeds group. They listen to phonics songs for sound recognition, play games like “Grab and Crawl” for physical education (PE), and they paint with their hands and feet. Storytime in English is enhanced with the use of puppets.
The Little Sprouts group, for children from two to three years old, and the Big Sprouts group, for children from 4 to 5 years old, learn the alphabet through song, frequent the neighboring park for PE, work on three-letter word recognition, practice holding a pencil to write three-letter words, and read beginner level books. Several themes create a context for vocabulary development beyond sight words: the weather, body parts, the five senses, textures, and the garden. Gardening introduces students to elementary science concepts. Story time is centered around the theme of the month. Students also learn about moods and emotions, good manners, families, jobs in the community, transportation, and street signs. During music time, students learn songs, dances, and rhythm with castanets. Arts and Crafts for Little Sprouts includes using glue and paint. Big Sprouts use scissors and learn how to fold and mold. During math time, students are introduced to shapes, counting, sorting and grouping, writing numbers, and patterning. Learners who excel in mathematics will begin adding and subtracting.
The Saplings group, designed for children aged four through six, build on these foundations. During music time, students use the ukulele, xylophone, and other percussive instruments to develop hand-eye coordination, learn the musical scale, and understand how each person in a group can contribute to one piece of music. They also practice patience by waiting their turn.
Because of its success with the youngest of students, Learning Tree launched its elementary education program in April 2015, delivering the U.S. Common Core standards. At the conclusion of each academic year, each student takes an exam that shows that he or she has achieved national standards for that grade level. In April 2020, the school will enroll 28 students for both Grades 1 and 2 as well as several students in each Grade 3 through 7.
Learning Tree is interested in teachers and interns from English-speaking countries who do not smoke. They will consider newly-certified teachers as well as experienced teachers lacking certification. Candidates need not hold an academic degree in the subject they will be teaching, and there is no age limit in Japan to obtain a work visa.
The benefits package includes an allowance of 20,000 yen per month towards housing and/or transportation. Teachers are eligible for enrollment in the Japanese pension program wherein employee contributions are matched by the company. While Learning Tree waives tuition fees for dependents, its teachers are responsible for their children’s uniforms, lunch, and other fees. Teaching staff may register for professional development programs and attend lectures. Local health coverage—including dental and long-term disability—is covered by a portion of an employee’s salary, which deducted and then matched by the school. This package amounts to a bit of savings, and there are local employment opportunities for non-teaching partners.
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Please note: The information presented about this school was valid on the date published. This information may change, and the most up-to-date information can be found on the school profile.