Introducing an innovative and holistic approach to learning in Japan, MEES International School was founded in 2016, as an English language-instructed, Tokyo-based institution for children aged one to 12. The curriculum works to integrate Montessori principles and the Reggio Emilia approach with project-based learning (PBL) and 21st-century technology.
The school has three Tokyo locations: Komagome in Toshima Ward along with Sendagi and Hakusan in Bunkyo Ward. The school’s ethos is based on the principle that there is no singular educational approach that works for all children. This is because MEES recognizes that children are instinctual learners, and if guided without intrusion, will grow into independent thinkers while enhancing their enthusiasm for learning at the same time. Therefore, the classroom setting is not systematized into traditional hierarchical structures in which teachers instruct students in rigid lectures. Instead, there are times when teachers instruct small groups and times when students work on their own individually or in small groups.
Education for the 21st Century
The Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy that recognizes each individual child’s intrinsic potential for development. They are believed to acquire knowledge and skills through the active stimulation of the “hundred languages,” a metaphor that describes children’s extraordinary potential for acquiring knowledge and working creatively. Meanwhile, Montessori principles are based on self-directed activity, hands-on-learning, and collaborative play.
At MEES International School, the curriculum combines these two philosophies, recognizing that they are both informed by the idea that children are self-guided learners, acquiring knowledge faster and with more engagement when given the freedom to choose what they learn.
The Reggio Emilia approach and Montessori principles are in turn blended with the innovative use of PBL, through which students are encouraged to think critically, and outside the box. PBL is a dynamic pedagogy that helps students acquire in-depth knowledge through simulations and spirited discussions of real-world challenges.
Finally, recognizing the rapid development of technology in the 21st century, MEES aims to equip students with the skills necessary to utilize technology in a productive manner. This aim is brought to life through the incorporation of programming, coding, and digital design into the curriculum, giving children the opportunity to see how technology can be used in the subjects that interest them most. For example, students in the preschool program are introduced to their own personal iPads, while ensuring that they use them to learn.
MEES International School offers three programs—preschool, kodomoen, and elementary school—for children of a diverse variety of nationalities and backgrounds.
For children aged 1-6, the preschool is a multi-age program, encouraging those of different ages to learn and communicate with one another, although there are targeted lessons for students of each year-group. The curriculum focuses on English-language immersion and building rudimentary technological skills in a safe and respectful environment. Similarly, kodomoen offers this same exceptional educational opportunity—based on a monthly payment system, it is designed to be a more affordable program for families on smaller budgets.
As early childhood is the optimal age for language acquisition, both the preschool and elementary school also provide immersion programs, in which children are immersed in an English-speaking environment through hands-on collaborative projects. Elementary school students have the further opportunity to participate in the English Club, learning step-by-step in a gentle and supportive atmosphere.
Morning programs include a lunch, which is catered by Luca Deli Kitchen, who provide 100% organic meals with meticulous consideration of each child's dietary needs and restrictions. Furthermore, optional transportation is provided by MEES through a bus-route system at an extra charge.
MEES International School recognizes that early education sets the stage for lifelong learning, and encourages students to pursue knowledge in disciplines they are passionate about, rather than forcing them. And thanks to its blend of approaches both old and new, it is offering a unique educational environment.
To learn more about MEES International School, contact them at
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