What makes MEES different from Japanese education is the focus on independence, creativity, problem solving and confidence-building. We want the children to enjoy coming to a fun and comfortable environment. By planting the seed for a love of learning, we hope that your child will become curious and able to face new challenges.
With small steps we give responsibility to the child, as we believe that when a child chooses an activity him/herself, that child more likely learns faster, as it comes from his or her own initiative.
Through peer interaction, developing social skills is an important part of a young child’s life. At MEES we think that every child is different. Therefore we avoid competition between children. We like to teach the children to respect the differences in each other and praise what is done well. This is how we build confidence at an early stage in a young child. A confident child will excel in what he/she is good at, and will do better in what is more challenging.
In the Kindergarten program we accept children from one to six years old, using multi-age groups. We believe that children learn from each other. A younger child will look up to the older peers, but as they grow up they become the leaders, teaching younger peers, growing confidence.
The classes are not taught as one group the whole time--there are times throughout the day when teachers take one age group aside to teach age-targeted lessons.
At MEES International School from 2 years old all students will have the use of a personal iPad.
Since the introduction of smartphones and tablets, it is impossible to think of a world without them. All over the world (new) schools have started to build their systems around the use of tablets in the classroom with success. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) released a report indicating that with the right guidance and social context, tablets are a contribution to a young child’s learning, and stimulate creativity. As well, the use of tablets can enable children to identify both their needs and their interests.
Today's kindergarten-age children will be looking for jobs around 2030. MEES strongly believes that we should prepare them for the future by starting digital awareness from a young age, just as with a language.
Children at MEES are not using tablets the whole day. There are designated times when groups of children, under teachers' supervision, are working on tablets. Aside from the the use of tablets, there is plenty of time reserved for art, social studies, science, conversation, play, and development of fine and gross motor skills during the daily park time.
A: Yes and no.
A strong founding principle of Maria Montessori’s ideology is to reach each child’s maximum potential. Each child is different, with unique qualities, and therefore comparison is needless. Teachers are facilitators, feeding the learning process rather than authority figures instructing students. By giving children responsibility for their own learning, it triggers talent and creates unique personalities, therefore reaching their maximum potential. A major part of the lesson time at a Montessori school is for students to learn on their own, working with materials designed to support the Montessori method.
However, as a kindergarten in Japan catering mostly to Japanese families, when the capacity of a young child to learn languages is the strongest, English language development is an essential part of MEES curriculum. A self-reliant child in a full Montessori system is on his or her own, in touch with his or her own learning, presumably doing so in the child's native language. However, developing a second language demands a strong social environment in which there is frequent communication with teachers and peers. Therefore MEES has developed an English early childhood education system with its roots in Japan, combining Montessori ideas as described above with a lively social environment in which there is a shower of English and a strong focus on speaking, reading and writing in English.
MEES successfully combines these aspects by using a Montessori approach of classroom management, allowing freedom for the children within a frame of a few basic rules to maintain a safe, structured and respectful environment.
We believe that a young child should enjoy going to school, free from the pressure to perform or the fear of failure, and not in competition with peers. Confidence and the ability to challenge difficult situations are far more important than test results.
The acquisition of knowledge is far more effective when driven by interest rather than forced onto a child. A young child is never wrong, but rather, exploring the possibilities.