June 2017

88 APAC / June 2017 , 1701AP19 A New School of Thought New International School of Japanwas founded in 2001, as the first international school in Japan specifically established tomeet the needs of permanent, international marriage and/ or long-term residents of Japan. As part of our Asia Business Elite series, we interviewed Founding Director and Head of School, Steven Parr to learnmore. New International School of Japan was the first international school in Japan specifically established to meet the needs of permanent, international marriage and/or long-term residents of Japan, regardless of nationality. The belief if the Founding Director and Head of School, Steven Parr is that both dual language and multi-age education are good for children. In addition, the school offers a smooth transition for children moving from a Japanese based educational system to an English one, or vice versa and families temporarily in Japan but with an interest in Japanese as well as English are also welcome. Steven Parr himself is a graduate of Brown University (BA) and UCLA (MA), and he holds a Certificate of International School Leadership from the Principals’ Training Centre. He was an administrator and sometimes a teacher at one of the international schools in Tokyo for 19 years until he left in 2000. The inspiration and mission of New International School was developed out of that experience, combined with attendance at numerous workshops and conferences, which convinced him that a ‘New School’ approach to education was imperative for the current and future generations of students. He is a past Secretary and Vice- President of the Japan Council of International Schools (JCIS), Past-President of the Japan affiliate of the American-based Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (JapanASCD) and Past President of the Tokyo Association of International Preschools (TAIP). Steven reveals how the school is accredited and more about the school itself. “The school began for children from age 3 to grade 9 and extended to grade 12, from August 28, 2014. It is accredited through grade 12, by both the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) and the Council of International Schools (CIS). We are also a member of the Japan Council of International Schools (JCIS), the Progressive Education Network (PEN) and the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES). “At New International School, the children maintain and develop their social and academic skills, creativity, and independence in a child-centred environment they can participate in with great enthusiasm. Knowledge, skills and attitudes are developed through an inspired dual language implementation of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence. “Our students learn bilingually through team-taught multi-age classes, a resource-based thematic approach, and a combination of whole group, individual, centre-based and project-based activities. There are two full time teachers for about twenty children in each exceptionally well-resourced classroom.” From Steven’s perspective, multi-age education, like Montessori education is constructivist. This means that children construct their own knowledge and understanding based on experience. Steven then elaborates on this most interesting theory that concerns learning. “It is, however, a Vygotskian style of constructivism which emphasises learning and language acquisition as a social process. The students learn from one another, as well as from the teachers, in a highly interactive style of education. The children thrive in an environment where they can progress, unimpeded by traditional grade level limitations. “From the August of each calendar year in which they turn 6, all students learn to play the violin by ear and their physical education includes international Tae Kwon Do plus Mandarin Chinese is offered as an elective. Interested persons are encouraged to visit by appointment or register for a group orientation and tour, offered at least twice monthly, once in English and once in Japanese.” Mission New International School is a place where: • Discrimination based on race, sex, or place of origin does not exist; • Every child becomes bilingual or multilingual over time; • Social and environmental studies, math and science, the language arts, fine arts, performing arts and physical education are all an essential and integral part of the life of every child and are directed to the development of life skills: collaboration, teamwork, mutual respect and appreciation, inquiry, problem-solving, attention to audience and effective use of language, as well as technical skills and academic and artistic inspiration; • The children retain and/or develop self-motivation, a healthy self-image, and an appreciation of others by the virtue of what they can learn and accomplish within a school environment designed for their enjoyment and success; • The curriculum is always in the process of development based on the latest research and experience in teaching

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