Bell Kids International Preschool (Miyakojima-ku, Osaka)

Bell Kids International Preschool website: http://www.bell-kids.com/index.html

Renaissance-La Vista 1F  Takakura-cho1-8-13, Miyakojima-ward, Osaka city 
(5 minutes from Miyakojima station)
Phone: 06-6923-2235 Contact http://www.bell-kids.com/contact/index.html

〒534-0011 大阪市都島区高倉町1丁目8-13
 ルネッサンス ラ・ビスタ1F 地下鉄谷町線都島駅5番出口より徒歩5分 Phone : 06-6923-2235  

(Googles Map http://www.bell-kids.com/access/index2.html?f=q&source=s_q&hl=ja&geocode=&q

A preschool founded in 2005 offering English immersion education. Catering for children aged 1 year onwards, the school offers infant, toddler classes as well as kindergarten (K1-K3), afterschool and Saturday classes. A summer school program is available. English native teachers are employed.

Kids learn English in a natural way using English songs and through play, phonics, puzzles, flashcard play, themed craft activities, storytimes, etc. Small classes. Chado tea ceremony, sports and art lessons are held for enrichment.   View detailed curriculum here: http://www.bell-kids.com/curriculum/index.html

8 thoughts on “Bell Kids International Preschool (Miyakojima-ku, Osaka)”

  1. The contract
    You are paid 200,000-230,000 a month. You have public holidays off and 10 paid holidays, however the owners tell you when you can take holidays. Your are expected to teach 40 hours a week, you spend around 50-55 hours a week there either helping out, planning lessons or on breaks. At the preschool you have a 45 minute lunch break in which you have to eat with the children and help set up and clean also you have to force the kids to eat. There’s a 30 minute break however the owners ask you to greet the parents who pick up their children. As for the conversation school you have 30 minute lessons back to back no break for usually 3-4 hours. Overtime is demanded and unaided, I rejected to work the regular overtime and I was told I was fired on the spot and given month notice. You work from 9:30am till 8:30pm depending on how many lessons you have, in the morning you teach at the international preschool and in the afternoon/evening you teach at the conversation school. The family members however have got it sweet, they teach less and earn more they have 4 cars and 3 apartments, holiday overseas and wear expensive clothes.
    The teachers
    Are anyone crazy or desperate enough to agree to these conditions, usually non-native foreigners or people whose Visa is running out. You aren’t given any training, your schedule changes at a moment notice, like just before the class starts. Most teachers leave before contract completion.
    The students
    The international preschool students do benefit from English immersion, prescribing the Community Language Learning Technique where only target language is used all the time, so the preschool students do pick up English. However because there are only two native teachers and compared to three Japanese non-native teachers this compromises the learning theory effectiveness. This is evident to see in the students’ katakana pronunciation and bad grammatical mistakes. Two of the Japanese non-native teachers are in fact the owners’ son and daughter so of course they English is low and they only got the job due to being in the family. Because of the lack of training the teachers receive and preparation time the lessons are poorly managed. This effect is seen in the students’ bad behavior and classroom stress due to the lack of stability.
    The Curriculum
    Is designed by the owners and the son, the owners don’t understand English at all and the son has a very limited grasp of it and it’s evident to see when they just try to copy what other international preschools do, or try to implement curriculum from foreign textbooks which aren’t applicable in Japan. In this case mamma knows best, or at least she thinks!

  2. In response to Keith:

    I am a current employee of Bell Kids and I came across your comment . I’ve been working here for a while now and think that while not all of your information is false, you present it in a way that leaves a pretty bad impression and looks like it reflects some hard feelings about having to quit. For everyone elses’ sake, I’m putting some new information up that better explains the current state of things at Bell Kids.

    Firstly, the contract salary is now between 200,000 yen and 250,000 yen. The yearly paid holidays are still 10 days a year. While you do end up spending more time than the work schedule suggests at the preschool, I am definitely not working 50 hours a week. Also, you do eat lunch with the kids but this is usually pretty entertaining if you like kids, and you definitely dont need to “force” anyone to eat. We do occasionally ask them to eat a bit more but thats about it.

    As for the regular overtime, I’m not quite sure what you are implying here. In terms of working hours I only work one day a week until 8 30pm and on that day I start at noon.

    I’m also not quite sure that the family has got it so “sweet”. Some people who work there put countless hours into class preparation and shaping the curriculum to meet Japanese education proficiency test standards. As for the owners, if they have been running a successful company for years then obviously they will have more money than employees. Also, your claims about their property and expenditure seem a bit blown out of proportion.

    In terms of the teachers, both me and my coworker chose this job over other ALT jobs in Osaka. We don’t find the working conditions to be as harsh as you claim them to be, but then again we enjoy spending time with the kids. If you don’t like kids then this probably isn’t a good job for you.

    My schedule hasn’t changed much at all since coming here. As for training, while not much formal training is given, we team teach classes until we gain enough experience to teach on our own. This was a fairly efficient way of seeing how classes are run and getting used to both the curriculum and the students.

    The preschool does have an English only environment. One thing to note is that the Japanese teachers do not have such bad grammatical errors or katakana pronunciation. Many children who have been at the preschool for a long time don’t show much katakana pronunciation at all. As for mistakes, please keep in mind that they are 2, 3 or 4 years old and learning English as a second language.

    Lesson management is dependent on the teacher and how much time you put in yourself before the class. These are preschool classes and so they are not so difficult to manage, especially with the aid of textbooks. In my experience the level of bad behaviour and classroom stress is also dependent on the teacher’s ability to teach.

    While the English of some teachers is not at a native level, they have the ability to explain grammatical rules and vocabulary in a way that the students can easily understand. Either way, their English is more than good enough to teach their students, in my opinion.

    In terms of the curriculum, the textbooks used are taken from elementary school programs in California (eg. phonics, basic maths, spelling etc.). The textbooks are easy to teach from and work well to build the English ability of the kids.

    Wow, that was pretty long but I felt like I needed to set things straight. If you like kids then this is a very satisfying and enjoyable job. Sorry to hear that it rubbed off badly on someone else!

    1. Hello, this is a kiss up to the school. It is a norm in Japanese preschools to exploit teachers who are effectively low end care workers. Lunch time exists in form but not in substance as the teacher has to continue care work over the children. Many of the private schools have friends and family workers working at higher salaries than other staff, and their is a tendency to exploit non white foreign workers by keeping them on minimum wage and hourly contracts.

      1. You need to take such general comments and grievances about employment conditions to forums like Gaijinpot. This is merely a general listing to let people know the range of options they have. It’s easy to make negative and disgruntled-sounding remarks, but online commenters are never ready to back their statements up with real names, proof, specifics and such. You leave others open to lawsuits and to clean up your irresponsible mess. As such, I have no choice but to delete such irresponsible comments unsubstantiated by proof. No kissing up here, since this site is completely independent and unfunded by any party or institution. While this school might not meet your idea of what a school should be, nevertheless, sometimes, that is all parents expect.

  3. Well, some say the earth is round, some say its oval. Whatever it is, different person has different opinion and perspective. If you are satisfied with what is being offered and what is being asked for you to do, the other probably won’t as they have seen or worked at a better place.

    Regardless, working in a preschool should be about the children more than yourself. If you really love children then all the cons in the contract wouldn’t hinder you that much.

  4. The school is International in name only it doesn’t follow the IBK or any other recognized curriculum, they didn’t seem to interested in making a curriculum. This probably because they don’t allow teachers adequate time to prepare lessons. They expect teachers to work long hours for low pay and are rude to them. In fact they increased my working hours mid contract and threaten to fire me if I didn’t agree. Its a terrible place to work and even worse for the students, however the Bell Kids owners make a lot of money!

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