3-4, Nijigaoka, Meito, Nagoya city, Aichi Prefecture
Founded in the spring of 2000 with the mission of providing children with a more global-oriented style of education, AIS offers a 12 year predominantly English education (apart from Japanese language and social studies) from aged 3 preschool through middle school. Primarily designed for Japanese families, the school however, has an international student population of roughly 30%.
AIS follows a hybrid Japanese-North American curriculum, and is currently seeking accreditation from Japan’s Ministry of Education. Subjects include English language, Japanese language, Math, Science, Social Studies, Music, Physical Education, Life Skills, and Moral Education. All subjects, with the exception of Japanese language and Social Studies, are taught in English. In addition, all students participate in a Suzuki-method violin program. There are also various after-school clubs, sports, and activities. Strong communication skills, healthy self-confidence, and a respect for others serve as the three main pillars of the school.
The AIS curriculum is challenging. In addition to the two language classes (English & Japanese), the 9-year curriculum has been condensed to 7 years, to allow Junior High students in Grades 8 & 9 to put their energy into focused subjects, cross-subject studies and SAT preparation.
AIS is located in central Nagoya, just 10 minutes from Hoshigaoka station on the Higashiyama subway line. A new state-of the-art building was constructed in 2005, and houses 12 classrooms, a library, concert hall, open-area learning centers, heated floors, and a courtyard. Across from the school is a large treed park (Nijigaoka Koen).
AIS kindergarten runs Monday through Friday, from 9:00 – 15:00 with the option of extending to 17:00. The AIS elementary school runs Monday through Friday, from 8:30 ? 15:30, with optional after-school activities running until 17:00
Excerpts from Thursday, Oct 25, 2007 edition of The Daily Yomiuri “Promoting an intl outlook: Entrepreneur starts school to focus on English” focus on AIS’ founder Masao Suzuki …
Since graduating from university, Masao Suzuki, 58 has been an entrepreneur, setting up a firm specializing in information about the global automobile industry and running a publisher of U.S. movie scripts as English-language learning material. His business has also expanded to running a children’s day care center and — his latest venture–an international school. But there has been always one underling key word for all of his business–“internationalism”. …
Suzuki is also concerned about a much younger generation. “I believe that children should get familiar with English from a young age so they can gain sufficient knowledge of the language and become global-minded people,” he said. ..
Suzuki took action in 1995, when he opened a nursery in the city by taking advantage of a central government pilot project that subsidized nurseries set up near train stations as part of child-raising support measures. …
Suzuki’s nursery offers English lessons to its children. Soon after he took up the job of adminsitrative director, Suzuki realized that parents of young children had a strong interest in early English education. Driven by such demands, he started an English-oriented class within the nursery, which later became independent as Nagoya Internationa l Preschool (NIP). …
In April last year, the facility moved onto new premises nearby and restyled itself as Aichi International School (AIS) now offering a 12-year education from age 3 to middle school. This year, there are about 90 children enrolled, ranging from age 2 to third-year primary shcool students.
Using the English translated versions of textbooks adopted by local mainstream schools, AIS primary schoolers are educated almost entirely in English. …
Suzuki stressed, “I’d like the school to graduate students who will be able to stand out, compete globally and earn respect from the international community,” the AIS founder said. “I hope they’ll become another [major league baseball player] Ichiro [Suzuki] or another [conductor] Seiji Ozawa.”
… AIS is not an accredited school, mainly because it is run by a corporation, NIP Ltd.
Even upon graduation from AIS, the students would not be regarded as having completed the official compulsory education.
As NIP’s president, Suzuki is considering taking advantage of a central government program allowing local municipalities to launch special deregulated structural reform zones, dubbed tokku, under which official status has been granted to some educational institutions run by for-profit companies.
However, Suzuki has no plans to extend AIS to high school level, saying, “After compulsory education, it’s up to the children to decide what courses to follow. Personally, I’d like them to study abroad.”