St. Maur International School
Saint Maur International School, founded in 1872 by five Irish and French missionary sisters, has a long and colorful history as the oldest existing international school in Japan. Having less than 500 students, Saint Maur is a family school, where the quality of education is treasured more than the quantity.
Saint Maur International School values the concept of unique individuals. Students from all over the world come to learn at Saint Maur. The school celebrates its diversity of nationalities in an annual event called International Day in November. All students from preschool to high school (younger students have the opportunity to celebrate throughout a whole week with parents' involvement) wear a costume representing a country, and do activities from different parts of the world. Another annual event held at the school is Japanese Culture Day, which is an event celebrating the culture of the host country, Japan. International Food Fair is an annual community event held on April 29th where students, teachers, and parents cooperate to set up booths for services such as selling goods and food from all over the world, games, and music performances. Christmas Bazaar is another community event of the school, held in November.
Life long learning is a major concept of Saint Maur International School. Students of the school take part in special curriculums as well as activities involving parents. From the age of 2½ years, a toilet trained child with an English medium background is eligible to join the Montessori. The Montessori classes are mixed age groups from 2½ to 6 years of age. Montessori students focus on strengthening independence. The children work across a range of diverse activities where the emphasis is on 'discovery" and freedom to choose (within limits). Activities are planned by teachers in a way that facilitates the 'discovery' of concepts and understandings and children are free to choose which activities (planned by teachers) they would like to work on.
As of Elementary School, the entrance qualification is determined according to the students' records and their previous enrollment at English medium schools (preferably 2-3 years depending on the child's ability to pick up the language quickly). Elementary school students follow the IPC (International Primary Curriculum), which is a program of science and social studies, relating to their field trips and the topics of other subjects, including maths, art, and language arts.
The French School (Grades 5-10) follows a national French curriculum. The students from the French School join the elementary school students in classes such as music and physical education, and in field trips.
From Middle School, in addition to their language classes of English and Japanese, students have an opportunity of taking a course of French or Spanish. Grade 6 students study both of the languages, and from Grade 8, they focus on learning either one of their choice. If an EAL student needs additional support in English, he/she takes an EAL course instead of French or Spanish.
For High School, certain English skills are required to be able to keep up with the school work so that they can receive credits upon graduation. For Grades 9-10, the school offers the IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) program, and then Grades 11-12 are offered the IB (International Baccalaureate) certificate and diploma programs. After graduation, students may go to Japanese universities (starting from the fall season), attend English medium universities in foreign countries such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, or in countries of their mother tongues.
Saint Maur International School offers a great variety of activities. Activities of fine arts and sports are scheduled on alternate practice dates, allowing students to be part of both fine arts and sports at the same time.
As life long learners, classes for adults and toddlers are offered at Saint Maur. Adult Enrichment Classes are free classes for parents, who wish to learn about different cultures and socialize in a lively manner. Japanese traditional culture is learnt through activities such as ikebana, painting, origami, and cooking. A weekly toddlers' group is also offered, which allows toddlers and their parents to socialize.
I would like to thank Miss Jeanette K. Thomas, MBE, M.Ed., L.R.A.M., Head of School Emerita (left) and Mrs. Catherine Endo, M.A., Head of School (right) for the interview.
I, Madoka Nishina, have been attending St. Maur International school since grade one. This year is my tenth year at this school.
(Reported by Madoka Nishina)
Madoka Nishina 10th Saint Maur International School
Karen Nishina 4th Saint Maur International School