Parenting Support; The five benefits of adding responsibility to your child’s day. (Bilingual Kids Co., Ltd インターナショナル幼稚園)

The importance of parenting support for young preschoolers can never be underestimated, and so as a caring parent, fostering the development of your child should always be your main aim. With so much technology attracting our child’s attention, particularly in the later years, now may be the very best time to get creative with the way in which you support your child.


Children who develop creative imaginations through a positive environment often become valuable problem solvers as adults. So before the smart phone, tablet or gaming console takes over the life of your child, try giving them a little parenting support by way of responsibility in the arrangement of a newly enhanced home environment.



Get your child to help you structure your home environment


When considering parent support in this way, there are many fixed calendar dates that we can use to creatively change the way the interior of our house looks. There is Halloween, Christmas, Easter and Tanabata, Children’s Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day and Grandparent’s Day, to name just a few. All of these dates can be used as a reason to change your main living area (or your child’s bedroom) in a fun and creative way.  Young kids love getting involved in special projects!


Get creative


Why not paint egg shells for Easter decorations? How about a scary Halloween collage? ….or bamboo wishes in the living room for Tanabata Day?


Parenting support naturally means using your instincts. As you work together you can encourage your youngster with positive comments on their work and get them further involved by asking their advice on where to place the decorations, gently guiding them to make appropriate choices.


Of course there are many other ways you can restructure your home environment and get your child involved. On any given day you can discuss how to rearrange the furniture together. Why not move the couch around and reposition the dinning room table? A fun way to involve your child in this is to spread a blanket over the moved items to create a cozy kid cave. Get your child to add pillows and cushions inside to make it extra inviting.


How about hanging bed sheets from the ceiling of your child’s room? You could buy beads from a craft shop and work together to string them up as a hanging screen above your child’s bedroom door. You could buy a simple lamp shade and decorate it. Anything is possible.


Find the time to get involved. If you cant find the time, create it. Of course this kind of parenting support can, and should, come from dads too. Weekends can become really creative days!



So what are the hidden benefits of this seemingly simple parenting support? For one thing you will be…


  • Strengthening the Parent/Child bond.  (This may be particularly important for busy dads).


The following benefits will aid the cause of this bond which will also be of great benefit to your child.


 By creatively giving your child responsibility in the changing of their environment over time…….


  • Your child’s Self Confidence will improve.
  • Your child’s Life Skills will improve.
  •  Your child’s Independence will improve.
  •  Your child Self Esteem will improve.


With Self Confidence your child will learn to trust in their own abilities and judgments. With new Life Skills your child will be able to more fully participate in daily life. With greater Independence your child will have more self –determination and with greater Self Esteem your child will have improved self respect.


All of these areas are enhanced just by adding a little responsibility to your child’s day, one day at a time.


Parenting support is not only the right thing to do, its also a lot of fun to watch your child grow and develop.


Its fun for big kids too!

Bilingual Kids English School Mitaka area: What to expect. (Bilingual Kids Co., Ltd インターナショナル幼稚園)

If you have a child going to Bilingual Kids English school near the Mitaka area, or are interested in joining, here is a little on what to expect. Before we talk about English learning at our school (Commonly known as BKI) lets talk about distance. Bilingual Kids English School is currently in the process of building a brand new school only a block away from its old location at Sakai 5. The English School is really close to Mitaka, so close in fact that many of our customers bike to BKI from Mitaka, a trip that only takes about ten to fifteen minutes, depending on where you live.  If you are able to convince yourself that its worth the ride for a really great English School, then you certainly wouldn't be the only one.


Regarding English learning at our school; We accept toddlers at our school from around 18 months. This is a good age to join any English School as it allows time for a young toddler to get settled.  At this time however English conversation and development is relatively slow. Its not until around the age of 2 years old that language development (and therefore English Learning) picks up.  At this age, word order and imagination, both improve and vocabulary also increases.


While most children learning a second language are going to be behind when compared to a native speaker, they can still learn relatively quickly in the right environment. Much of this is going to be learnt through social play. For example, we have several young Japanese students in our present class (as of writing 14/10/16) who are at the following level after having joined us at 18 months of age (Toddler level) and have now been with us for a year and a half. They are both now 3 years old.


Here is a brief description of their English level:


  • When making English sentences, both students talk about known objects, events and people not present.  “My mummy is at work.”
  • Both students talk about the actions of others. “Lisa is drawing a picture.”
  • Both students can appropriately answer simple questions. “Yes, I can.”
  • Increasingly, both students are asking more and more questions about people, places and what things are.
  • These students always join in on opportunities to say “Hi”, “Bye” or “Please.”
  • When making English sentences, they always comment about objects (real or imaginary) within sight. “This is my camera.”
  • They frequently comment about ongoing events. “We are in the train.”
  • Both students can remember and sing along to many nursery rhymes and songs.
  • English speaking staff can understand what the students are saying at least 80% of the time.
  • When making English sentences, both students can expand their phrases with nouns“…..this little brown Teddy Bear.”
  • Both students use verbs with “ing” endings. “We are going now.”
  • Both students use the preposition “in”  “Kai is in the box”
  • Both students indicate a negative by putting the word “No” or “Not” before a noun or verb that is simple. “Not Dolly”


From this we can determine that they are not so far behind a native English speaker, and in fact are really doing quite well. These children are more than capable of expressing themselves well as far as English conversation is concerned. As their Japanese at this point is obviously native, these kids are well on their way to being fully bilingual. While all students develop at their own pace, this typical example from our school should give you some idea of what to expect at the toddler level. Please continue to read this blog for further examples of our other students at the ages of 4, 5 and 6 years of age.


Our English school,  (Kindergarten and Preschool ) could also be described as an English Daycare or Childcare center. Whatever you wish to call it, it is the perfect environment to foster Children’s English Conversation. Why not contact us to book your interview today?

Encouraging your child to speak better English; 8 Tips to understand. (Bilingual Kids Co., Ltd インターナショナル幼稚園)

As adults we tend to take for granted our ability to speak our own native language. We easily forget how long it took us to master our native tongue. Only when we start to learn a new language do we realize just how hard it is.


Children however, have the ability to learn at a rapid rate. If they start learning English by attending an International Kindergarten, Preschool or Daycare at around the age of 2 or 3 then by the time they are 6 years old they will have mastered the basics. If you have a toddler who is 2 or 3 years old it may be hard to imagine them at 6 years old, but believe me the time passes quickly. Now is the best chance they will ever have.


There are many factors which influence the development of language. Here are 8 things to consider when gauging the development of your child.


  • Your child’s relationship and affinity with the English teacher; If the teacher and child are able to relate well with each other then this will encourage positive language development. Teachers should take every opportunity to engage children in a variety of experiences which are accompanied by meaningful language. In this way your child will experience the 3 different ways of learning.  1) Kinaesthetic (movement) 2) Auditory (Listening) and 3) Visual (Watching) This will reinforce and help them to remember more words,  expanding their English vocabulary in an efficient way.


  •  Indigenous Intelligence; How quickly your child can make distinctions about English will have an effect on the speed of their development. Ifyour child has a quick grasp of concepts then this will reinforce their ability to speak more fluently. Imagination also plays a substantial role in a child’s ability to form mental images of objects or events and this in turn has an effect on their ability to express themselves through language. Encouraging imagination and creativity is also something that parents can do at home.


  •  A Boy or a Girl?  From an early age, girls will talk more than boys. As infants they are likely to be more responsive when spoken to by their mothers. If you compare two year old boys and girls it is the girls who will speak longer sentences. They also learn to read faster. The most likely explanation for this is that girls mature faster than boys.


  • Effectiveness of the senses; Maturity of the sensory process will allow your child to distinguish stable patterns in their surrounding environment. This is why repetition of concepts is so important in English learning and early childhood environments. It is also important in the home environment. Your child’s sensory effectiveness is very important for learning in general and particularly important for learning the English language. You child’s ability to recognize the different letter shapes of the alphabet , for example, will be determined by this.


  • Brothers and sisters? When it comes to language having a bigger role model to help you can make a big difference. Not only can an older brother or sister teach new words but they can also teach important socialization skills. The more positive the relationship, the closer the relationship and the greater potential to learn.


  • Upbringing; When it comes to learning English for kids, upbringing is an important aspect because it is something which is directly within parent control. A parent who encourages exploration at home is doing their child a tremendous favor. Exploration encourages an inquisitive mind and this in turn affects English Learning. Also, parents who take the time to explain to their children what they are doing, and those who listen to their child, are showing their child that they respect them. A child who feels respected by their parents will display greater confidence in their ability to speak out and express themselves. Parents also need to consider their child’s abilities and try to put them in environments which suit them. When these things are done correctly there is a higher chance ofacademic success.


  • Inspiration; Just as kids can learn from the experience of others they can also be inspired by them. Most kids want their teacher or parent to think highly of them. If your child hears you praise another child for good use of the English language they may well feel inspired to use good English themselves.


  • Good T,V, Habits; While too much television is not a good thing, watching regular amounts of English television from an early age can be beneficial.


Raising Babies to have good physical development- 8 Crawling Tips. (Bilingual Kids Co., Ltd インターナショナル幼稚園)

Crawling is a major milestone in your infants physical development. It indicates the first move towards independence and is an exciting step towards the ability to walk. Here are some tips to protect and encourage your infant as they progress  at home.


1)  Safety; When raising children the number one priority on any parents mind should always be safety. Allowing your child a certain amount of risk is healthy for older children but when it comes to young infants and crawling its always best to be pro active.  As best you can, always keep a close eye on your baby as accidents can occur very quickly. Keep dangerous items out of reach, door cracks monitored and power points sealed.


2)  Check the furniture; Toddlers will often use items of furniture to pull themselves up. You therefore need to be aware of any unstable furniture that is likely to fall on them. Also be aware of furniture such as coffee tables or chairs which may have sharp edges or corners as these can cause significant injury if fallen on. (Check out your local D.I.Y store to find padding that can be applied with adhesive to these areas.) A very helpful thing to do for your child is to move the pieces of furniture into a chain that will offer support over longer distances.


3)  Check the room; A real danger to toddlers or crawling infants can be low hanging items. Looped blind chords which often hang low to the floor can get caught around your child’s neck and strangle them. They may even put it around their neck deliberately out of fun, a real danger if they then topple over. Table cloth corners can also be pulled by an infant who may be trying to stand. Watch the hot coffee and sharp knives!  Power chords can also be attached to irons, kettles and frying pans. Even a heavy electrical tool can cause serious injury.


4)  Appropriate clothing; When it comes to crawling babies there is appropriate and inappropriate clothing.  Long pants are better than shorts because they protect your babies knees when crawling over rough surfaces. Light cotton pants are good for summer months. If you have a baby girl you can also reduce your daughters frustration by avoiding long dresses which catch under the knees.


5)  Provide plenty of space; As mentioned in my previous post, small apartments are common around Tokyo. This produces the problem of not having adequate space within which to crawl. Its important in this case that you provide frequent opportunities to crawl in larger areas. Take your child to Jidokan (locally run Community Centres) where they will have the space to crawl about with other toddlers of their age.  Find grassy parks or join a Mothers Group where you can access local information about where to go.


6)  Bare feet are best. Its important that your baby is able to connect with his/her environment. Little toes are just as sensitive as fingers and they are also able to make the many tiny adjustments necessary for balance. Taking you babies shoes off when its crawling time is always a thoughtful thing to do. As normal socks can be slippery try using non slip slipper socks or one piece garments. Always avoid socks that are embroided near the toes as the inner threads can get wrapped around the toe and cut off its blood supply.


7)  Be quick to act. When a crawling child puts on a burst of speed they can move very quickly. This means that they can get into trouble equally as fast. It is always good advice to try and do everything within sight of your baby. Secure them in their playpen if you need to use the bathroom.


8)  Be patient. Don't be in a hurry to rush your baby into anything they are not ready for. Always let you baby make the first move in any new endeavor. However If you feel that something is not quite right, consult an expert. There are many child support specialists in and around Tokyo who are able to provide assistance.

Raising children; How to Judge Milestones. (Bilingual Kids Co., Ltd インターナショナル幼稚園)

A long time ago the term “Milestone” was used to describe a stone that was placed every mile along the road to tell travellers how far they had come. This would provide assurance, direction and encouragement to those on the journey.


Today the word “Milestone” is also used to describe a marker along the road of human development. Milestones collectively provide an outline of the normal course of a child’s development and indicate the time periods taken to develop certain skills.  A sequence can be seen in milestones which makes it possible to predict a general order.


However, a word of caution for worried parents who may be facing a case of information overload, milestones are meant as a general guide only.


Don't panic if at first your child does not seem on track. As all children will develop at their own individual rate, Milestones are best interpreted loosely. Your child may develop earlier for some milestones and later for others. Skill variations can differ significantly. For example, which would you think was within the normal range , an infant that starts walking at 9 months or one which starts walking at *19 months? The answer is they both are!


The environment is one reason why there can be such a large variation between children. The amount of space available to a young infant will have some effect on how quickly and enthusiastically they take up crawling and walking. Many young Tokyo parents raising children may find themselves living in small apartments and this will likely have some effect on progress. (Please see my next post for what to do about this) Hereditary traits from you or your partner will also play a part. If either of you were “late” to start walking this may have some influence on your child.


Milstones are useful in that they can prompt you to provide the right experiences foryour child at the right time. Keep in mind however that regression is also possible. Life changing circumstances, such as a new baby in the family may pull your toddlers focus in that direction. Where as before he was positively toilet training, now he may be back to soiling his pants.


* (If your child is not walking within 23 months a check up is recommended)

Raising Children; 7 possible things that may set off negative behavior. (Bilingual Kids Co., Ltd インターナショナル幼稚園)

We all like to think of our kids as perfect Little Angles, and of course they are, but lets face it, everyone has their off days and kids are no exception.  Sometimes however a pattern of negative behavior may develop and when this occurs we may need to search for answers.  I have two kids, both out of Kindergarten now, so as an experienced parent and teacher who has worked the Tokyo Kindergarten scene I have noticed a few things I can tell you.

The following tips may apply at any time but may be particularly prevalent around Kindergarten, Preschool or Daycare age. They are not likely to trigger bad behavior in circumstances that occur infrequently, however if they are ongoing, frequent or prolonged then you need to pay special attention.


1)  Health. If you are raising children, and one of them has been behaving badly lately, the first thing to check is their health. Health affect us all, particularly young toddlers. Even as adults we know that coping can be hard when you are unwell. Some health problems for young toddlers include colds or more severe viruses like measles. While these may seem obvious it is often the less obvious health problems like worms or inner ear infections which need to be considered. These may cause your child to become frustrated, impatient or even aggressive. Also if your toddler has been biting other toddlers at kindergarten this may well be a teething problem, so make sure you purchase a good teether to place in your child bag.


2)  Group Dynamics. Within any kindergarten, Preschool or Daycare group there are many different personalities. Within International settings, such as the many International Schools found within Tokyo, the differences in culture also add to this mix.  Some personalities may get along with your child while others may be more challenging. Other personalities may also be very supportive. The point here is to remember that our child is constantly being subject to “cause and effect” and while this provides the greatest of learning opportunities, its possible, that there may also be times when this negatively affects them.


3)  Life Circumstances. Raising children can be hard work and life in a young family (or an old one!) does not always go as planned. Stress in any adult members will also negatively affect the children. The main cause of stress is change and how your child copes with change may depend on their age, personality or the severity of the change itself. Knowing how well your child copes with change is an important point to convey to your Kindergarten, Preschool or Daycare teacher on your child’s first day.  Of course big events, such as the death of a family member(or pet), a new baby or moving house should also be conveyed to your child’s carers as such events are known triggers.


4)  Over stimulation. Long periods of loud music, Shouting, dancing or simply crowded places with too much loud noise can cause problems too. Kindergartens, Preschools or Daycare centers which are overcrowded with too many children and not enough teachers or space can cause children to behave negatively if the circumstances are prolonged. 


5)  A recent event. Modeling is a powerful way to change behavior. In this regard what children watch on television can also negatively affect them. They may role model the violence that they have recently seen from T.V. cartoon characters or people. Disturbing events such as a car accident or witnessing domestic violence will also prompt bad behavior.


6)  Repeated Negativity. This can come from many sources, however if a child is repeatedly getting into trouble at Kindergarten, Preschool or Daycare, teachers can, in some instances, be consistent in their open criticism of that child.  Consistent criticism from teachers can then be picked up by the other children who also add criticism of their own. If a consistent cycle of negativity occurs, and is not broken, the child’s expectations and behavior can then spiral downward.


7)  Changes in the school Environment.  It may seem obvious but change is the one constant that we are all dealing with. While some change will be seen as positive and other change will be seen as negative, most school management is in a constant battle for overall progress. However, inevitable changes at all levels of a childcare service will occur. Old staff may leave and new staff may arrive, and children are always coming and going. This will affect different children in different ways.  Children love a familiar routine because their enjoyment comes from a sustained level of focus which provides them a sense of stability and control. When this is removed it is possible that a child’s behavior will be affected negatively. Regardless of the fact that some change will be outside of managements control,  center staff and management need to be sensitive to this reality.



Clearly then some triggers and symptoms may occur outside the home and some may be inside the home. As previously mentioned, the frequency of these triggers is an important factor that needs to be considered. The key to solving any ongoing problem will likely lie in good communication between you and the school and in the joint establishment of an effective behavioral plan.

Seven tips on how to improve your home environment to encourage childrens play. (Bilingual Kids Co., Ltd インターナショナル幼稚園)

Play is of vital importance when it comes to your child’s learning. As parents we should never underestimate this, therefor your child’s desire to play should not just be left to chance. Lets look at seven ways we can improve this together.


Most of us don't really stop to consider that, how we organize our home environment, and what items we place in it, can effect our children’s play behavior.

A child’s environment plays a big part in determining a child’s desire to engage in play. Children often need to be stimulated into playing which is why parents should consider the quality of their child’s surroundings.

Its possible that if your home is not so stimulating, there is a chance that it may negatively affect your child’s behavior. Bored children often find ways of getting into trouble!

A stimulating environment can provide many opportunities and different ways to have fun, so here are seven ways to make that happen.


1)  Select Appropriate Toys. When providing toys for children’s play they should be of the type that encourage your child to be creative, to be constructive and to encourage the discovery of new and ongoing possibilities. Toys like construction blocks are particularly successful at this and they also promote feelings of successful completion. Getting toys which are easy to fix and maintain is also a good idea however when providing toys and other items to very young children don't overlook the possibility of choking hazards. Check that small parts are not likely the size and type that can be put in a child’s mouth and swallowed. If you have children of a close age, sharing disputes can be avoided with a few similar toys of the same type (two tricycles for example.) Also, when buying kids games or toys parents and grandparents really need to consider age appropriateness and skill level. Some kids may need more challenging toys and games to prevent boredom while younger kids may need toys which are not overly difficult and therefor frustrating.


2)  Rotate Your Childs Toys. A great tip to keep your children’s play interesting is to remove some of their toys. Separate all of them into thirds (3 groups) and then give your child access to one third of them. By rotating your child’s toys every three months you will keep your child’s interest in them active. Remember, the best toys to buy your kids are often of the type that don't require your supervision.


3)  Appropriate Home Design. OK, I know that most of us don't have a choice, but if you are in the process of moving or buying a new house then consider a design that does not have a hall way which will encourage running, as this can be an enticing form of over stimulation for many young children. Also you may decide to live a little further out from the city center where you can afford a block big enough for a small yard. The best part of children’s play often involves a little dirt! Kids love to get dirty and having space for a small vegetable garden to care for will also widen their understanding of the world around them.


4)  Appropriate bedroom Design. To create a calm bedroom environment try Googling “Calm Colors” and then pick two compatible colors to decorate your child’s bedroom walls with. Add a poster or two that is calming and inspiring. Autumn trees and mountain views are great for this. To help your child get organized you can also label bedroom draws and shelves in such a way that they can understand them. Get you child to draw picture labels (and add words) so that they are able to clean up on their own. Also try and balance out you child’s bedroom in terms of materials. If the floor is hard try adding some wall hangings or provide floor rugs and cushions to make it more appealing.


5)  Avoid a cluttered home. Yes, I hear you! This may be the hardest of all to comply with. Most Japanese homes are small and many don't have adequate storage space. One way to deal with this is to build shelving on the walls. You need to consider the possibility of earthquakes here, so fixtures need to be permanent. At the very least don't place heavy objects on them which could fall on your child. Here is where the Grandparents come in handy.  Most of them are trying to get rid of stuff as they get older so you might have to brush up on your powers of persuasion, but if you can, convince them to take some of your larger, not so used items, then you will be creating a better play environment.


6)  Home Made Kids Games are the Best. In the world of children’s play the internet provides a wealth of Kids Games that you can make and do at home. Start collecting reusable household items such as milk and Juice cartons, cling wrap tubes, egg cartons and toilet rolls etc and get creative with your child. Together you can have so much fun, especially if you extend a project by painting it. Collecting a range of non toxic paint will also mean that you are always prepared when your child is ready.


7)  Recycling has infinite possibilities. Its not just household items that are worth collecting. Many wood companies around local Tokyo areas have free scrap boxes out on their verge. Young boys and girls can make a great variety of creative items at home with the many shapes and sizes of wood pieces available. Also local markets, such as those found at Koganei Park in Musashino, can also offer a huge variety of cheap secondhand resources for your child to play with.


Remember when it comes to fostering children’s play there are often many things that we can do to encourage our child to play, grow and learn. Stay tuned to this blog for future tips on this important topic! 

When Families Relocate (Bilingual Kids Co.,Ltd インターナショナル幼稚園)

Have you ever travelled overseas? Are you now planning on travelling overseas? These days there are many Japanese people who have had an overseas experience, but in the past it was not often the case. Travel costs were more expensive and many people were simply afraid to go.


Now the situation is completely different with overseas travel numbers becoming very high during the holiday seasons. However overseas travel for many Japanese families can also take place for business reasons. Has your husband just received an overseas assignment? Many Japanese companies these days increasingly send their employees on overseas assignments so that they can expand their business dealings as part of a globalization strategy.


Perhaps you are moving to the U.S. or perhaps you are moving to Australia. Even if the country you move to does not use English as its native language your family, particularly your children may be well advised to put some preparation into learning this universal language to help them get by after they arrive. You should aim for at least 6 months of English emersion before you go.


To seek out Kindergartens in English, Google “International Kindergartens” or “International Preschools” in your local area. These services are able to provide Children’s English Education in the form of English conversation lessons.


If you are selling your house before you go, or are currently renting, you will be free to choose which area of Tokyo to live in when you return. When returning to Tokyo consider the fact that: Kichijoji, and its surrounding areas in Musashino, is consistently voted as the number one destination to live for young families. There are many reasons for this. Great shopping, parks and greenery and convenience to Tokyo are Just a few reasons to move there.  Musashino is also well regarded for the stability of its land. If you find it difficult to acquire housing in Kichijoji, try other areas in Musashino such as Mitaka and Musashisakai. Koganei Park, previously mentioned in other posts, is Tokyo’s second largest park and is only five hundred meters from our Musashisakai head office.


If you have been living away from Japan for a long time your children will hopefully have gained a lot of English language experience. Its very advantageous then at this stage to keep their English ability alive so that they can get good grades at school. You may therefore like to consider putting them in an afternoon or after school English program. These are also offered by International Preschools and are an effective means of keeping your childs English grades up. Kichijoji, Mitaka and Musashisakai all have such services available.

The Daycare situation in Japan (Bilingual Kids Co.Ltd インターナショナル幼稚園)

If you have Just arrived in Japan, or are thinking of going and you have young children then you need to read this.


If you are thinking ofmoving to West Tokyo, close to Kichijoji you also need to read on….


At first glance the daycare facilities in Japan are first class. At the very least they are good. This is because that many of them are are government owned and run. The buildings are large and spacious, usually two or three stories high with a very generous yard full of play equipment. Some daycare facilities may even have a fenced swimming pool. Most have a shed full of tricycles, a slide, climbing frame and possibly some caged animals. The fees are also very reasonable. There are also a large number of private centers which are government regulated.


However as as most of us already living in Japan know, getting into a Tokyo daycare center can be next to impossible. As many have stated, the daycare situation in Tokyo is now one of crisis. There are simply not enough daycare centers in Tokyo to accommodate all the children who need to go. Tokyo Daycare Facilities are now at Maximum capacity.


Unfortunately this has forced other consequences. Working conditions at many of these facilities have become strained due to overcapacity. Staff are often overworked, underpaid and stressed. While the government is working to remedy the situation by building new facilities and has pledged to earmark more government funds towards daycare, it may take quite some time yet before the crisis is solved.


However, there is a partial solution for some willing to move.


Did you know that not all daycare facilities are full? There are some small Private Daycare Operators, like this school here in Musashisakai, Musashino, that are able to take in limited children. If you are willing to move you maybe surprised that such schools are also surprisingly well priced.  While not as low as government run facilities, some schools such as BKI offer prices as low as 600 yen per hour.


Compare this to Daycare Facilities in other areas which run as high as 15000 yen ($150) per day!



What is available for this rate?  Well paid, qualified professionals provide safe care in a loving environment. A nearby shady park with great outdoor equipment is used everyday, and, from around mid to late January 2017, we will be opening our brand new, earthquake resistant facility which is a short walk from Musashisakai station.


If you are open to alternatives, why not book your self an interview today? Please click the enquiry link on the right hand top corner of our menu bar to get started.  Our curriculum is inspired by the world class Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Learning.

Kids Games, English Games for kids (Bilingual Kids Co.Ltd インターナショナル幼稚園)

Kids Games, Children’s Games or English Games, call them what you like, games are an important part of English education in Japan and are a proven form of entertainment and education in many International Preschools, Kindergartens and Daycare Centers around Tokyo.


So what sort of game should you get if you want to teach your child English at home? Flash cards which teach English phonics are very popular among Kindergarten and Preschool teachers while games which aid in categorizing and matching are important for cognitive development. Jigsaw puzzles also come under this category and are highly recommended, (just so long as you don't loose the pieces!)


Music games which rhyme and allow rhythm and body movement are great fun for younger English learners and beginners. There are many CD’s available on the internet, including; The wiggles, Playschool and of course, Barney.


When your kids are a little older Kids Scrabble is a great game to introduce new words (and how to spell them). There are also traditional games which are easy to introduce to your child like “Bingo” and “Hang Man” although its recommended that you adapt this to a not so gruesome version.  An important thing to remember with kids and board games however is that small parts are choke-able so be extra careful if you also have young toddlers around.


Any type of English game which encourages your child to remember and write down English Sentences and words in a fun way are also a great way to get your child moving forward in increasing their vocabulary and improving their memory.  While we are on the topic of English Sentences, what do you suppose the most popular English sentence for beginners is going to be? Its “My name is……”, followed by “I am ___ years old.”  These English Sentences are highly likely to be the first two sentences learned in any formal setting. The third Most common English Sentence would be likely, “I live in (Tokyo)” or some thing similar, followed by “This is a pen” etc and similar English Sentences which help them to explore things in their immediate environment.


Any game which encourages your child to get started in this way is going to be of benefit. Play is always going to be a critical key to any child’s learning and development so the sooner you can get them started at home the better. Of course the full English emersion that International Preschools and Kindergartens around Tokyo offer is also going to be greatly beneficial. 

What makes an Australian based preschool in Tokyo different from other International preschools? (Bilingual Kids Co., Ltdインターナショナル幼稚園)

Do you live in Tokyo? Have you ever been on a trip to Australia? Would you like to take your kids on a trip to Australia? Would you like your kids to experience an Australian preschool?  Now you don't even have to leave Tokyo to do it!


 There are very few Australian based international preschools in Tokyo (In fact we are probably the only one) Our school is located in Musashisakai, Musashino, and is known as Bilingual Kids International Preschool or BKI.


There are two important areas to look at when looking for an international preschool. School culture and school philosophy.


Every child, yours included, will travel the path that leads them through life. The experiences they have, the people they meet and the choices they make will all enlighten their journey with lessons and triumphs.


At BKI our philosophy is to give them a strong beginning.


The school owners and staff at BKI totally believe and understand that children really are the most important resource in the world.  To them, kids are precious beyond measure because of their honesty and innocence and their thirst for discovery. We believe that the experiences a child has in their younger years affects their attitudes, beliefs and values as they grow into adults and with this understanding our goal is to broaden your child’s experience of the world by offering a huge range of “Australian and other International experiences.” 


We believe that the culture of Japan is very important. We also believe that it is our vital role to reflect the many other cultures of the world within our early childhood environment. Our Australian flavored child care environment encourages children to make choices that are healthy and proactive in enabling them to work alongside others and discover their own problem solving skills. Children at BKI are also able to speak up and express their needs without hesitation. We foster mistakes as an important process of learning.


Our Australian environment allows children to access stimuli and experiences that suit their needs and creates a child managed space that leads to empowerment.


Our international environment will also teach your child to stand up for themselves. We provide security for all children through use of firm, consistent limits. The children own their school and its rules, and it is through this sense of ownership that they become empowered.


Australian education and childcare caters for both group and individual needs. We believe that families are the most important part of a child’s life and so our goal is to always treat families with the utmost honesty and respect. We strive to involve parents directly in the decision making process surrounding all aspects of care and education while encouraging both parents to involve themselves in their child’s day. Part of the way that we do this is by providing a fully updated internet service that keeps you informed of your child’s daily experiences.


As in Australia, every child has the right to a safe and secure environment. By December of 2016 we will have constructed our brand new fully earthquake resistant facility specifically for this purpose.


In the design, there is space for fun, space for relaxation, places to be together and places to be alone. We have spaces to be organized and spaces to be messy, places for self expression and places to conform. Most important we have places for children to be themselves, no matter who they may be. We have all this … our new school facility. Come and check us out! Book your interview today! Let us give your child the very best of beginnings….

Protecting our children from emotional situations (Bilingual Kids Co., Ltd インターナショナル幼稚園)

When it comes to protecting our children from emotional situations we could generalize that there are three levels of protection. “Under protection”,  “Balanced protection”, and “Over protection”.  While we as parents and childcare providers should all obviously aim at providing children with balanced emotional care, knowing how to do this can sometimes be difficult.


To determine just what balanced emotional care is, lets first look at under and over protection so that we can comprehend all three levels.


Under protection

Under protection is most prevalent in childcare centers and family homes where the adults face a lot of stress. If your child’s teacher has a lot of students, is underpaid, not qualified, or is in an unprofessional childcare environment with little other professional help on hand, then you need to be aware that your child’s physical safety and emotional needs may not be being met. 


As parents we also know that when we are under pressure ourselves, from work or life changing circumstances, then this can have an effect on others around us. When we are struggling ourselves, its sometimes hard to help others, even if they are our own children. Under protection therefore requires that something needs to be done. 

Over protection

What then of over protection?  We once had a customer who, after joining, told us that under no circumstances was her child to cry, for any reason.  This is over protection, and at this level of intensity it may be quite unhealthy for a child. Crying, after all, reduces emotional stress that otherwise has a negative effect on our bodies. Most children (and adults) actually feel less sad after expressing their emotions through tears.


On a less severe level then, can we still be over protective of our children?  What if we saw another child reject our child? Can or should we protect them in that situation?


It is often the case that as adults we feel a great amount of empathy for our child in such a situation.  The event is almost magnified from our own perspective, and this can sometimes make it personal. However from our own child’s perspective the situation is often not taken emotionally or personally. Kids get over this sort of thing very quickly, often within minutes, which may be much quicker than us as parents. Kids tend to evolve this way, through a mechanism by which they may easily learn, grow and adapt to various life challenges. Generally they can then move on, remaining emotionally free, and are therefore ready to face the next challenge from an unaffected position.


Of course I can only generalize here. What I am not referring to is severe emotional trauma or ongoing  situations where a child is being constantly targeted by others. What I am saying is that with the general day to day isolated challenges that a young child faces, this will be true, and the younger your child is the quicker their recovery.


Keep in mind that overprotection can also involve overly helping your child with life skills. Adults must always show and guide young children on how to do things, but we need to make sure that this is not over repetitive.  At some stage in the daily routine we need to start standing back and verbally encourage our toddler to do it by themselves. If we are constantly doing the same things for our children we rob them of the opportunity to become independent from us. Children become super independent when they can do things for themselves so mindfully withdrawing your help in a timely way can greatly increase their self confidence especially once they realize that they are capable and able to do things on their own.



Balanced Protection

Being a parent or caregiver who offers a degree of balanced protection then, we need to walk the middle path. We need an understanding that our kids, especially if they are very young, are resilient to what life throws at them.  We need to make sure that as parents we aren’t projecting our own emotional views onto a situation which will otherwise dissolve if left untouched.


Balanced emotional care therefore takes into account that emotional challenge is a healthy part of our children’s growth. It considers the wisdom of stepping back, when we want to step in.


“Balanced emotional care” is something which requires constant adjustment. Nothing is static and each situation is unique. Child care requires empathy, child nurturing, compassion and common sense. In a professional, non-parental care setting, it requires all these things and much more. A great deal of personal experience and qualified education among team staff will go a long way to ensuring that group experiences and challenges bring out the very best in your child. 


Seven tips to encourage your child to read English (Bilingual Kids Co.,Ltd インターナショナル幼稚園)

In general, young children are able to read English (or Japanese) from around the age of 6.  There is a real window of opportunity here to get your child really interested in reading English, up until the age of 10.  Of course you should continue to encourage reading before and beyond these years but this period is golden.


The ability to read English is an important part of children’s English education. There are a great many international kindergartens in Tokyo and several English schools in Musashino who are able to teach the reading of English professionally. Even just putting your child into Summer School can be of great benefit. While exposing your child to native English speakers will be an obvious advantage, the best way to start however is to follow a few basic tips so that you can get your child prepared.


Below are seven tips that you can use before, during and after your child enters an international kindergarten, English school or preschool. 


1) Read English often. You Should read English to your child often in their younger years. Don't worry if your child is too young to understand. Just listening to the words you form and your tone of voice will prepare and influence them for the next stage of learning.  If you are not a native English speaker don't worry if your pronunciation is poor.  At this early stage it is the leadership and emersion that is more important.


2) Be a good reading role model. The best way to influence your child is to be a good role model. Its great if your kids can see you reading a book, either at home, on the train, or in the park. Preferably not just your phone.  Let your kids see that you have a real interest in books, by doing this you are setting a positive example.


3) Encourage comics. Let your kids read plenty of English and Japanese manga, so long as it is age appropriate. This is particularly beneficial for reluctant readers as the pictures help carry the story at a faster pace making the reading experience more enjoyable. Enjoyment is the number one predictor of reading success in young learners so this sort of encouragement is important.


4) Make sure your child’s room has plenty of English books. Encourage family and friends to give you child English books for their birthday and other celebrations.

Visit secondhand English book shops and grab so bargins.

Encourage the grandparents to buy English books for your child too.


5) Get English books that match you child’s interests. Even better, take this a step further and try to match a whole series of books that your child will really enjoy.  For example if your son is interested in soccer buy books that teach him soccer tricks that he can practice.


6) Encourage your child to read, don't nag.  If you encourage your child to read rather than nag them, they will naturally want to take to reading English in a positive way. If you force them through nagging this will have a negative impact on their desire to read.


7) Teach your child the difference between fiction and non fiction. This will benefit the older child and give them a better comprehension of what they are reading. You can take turns reading chapters from a favorite book and then discuss the different aspects of each chapter in relation to fiction and non fiction.


To encourage your child to get into reading, adults have to really get involved and show an interest in the subject. Its never too late to do this, but starting early has great advantages that will benefit your child. As parents and kindergarten teachers we all have the responsibility to lead our children down the path towards a great love of books and reading that will greatly shape the way they live and learn in the future.


The ability to read and to love the process of reading really is a vital step towards opening the door to greater learning in the adult world. Lets give our kids this wonderful gift, so that they in turn can pass it on.

Bilingual Kindergartens Explained (Bilingual Kids Co., Ltd インターナショナル幼稚園)

So you want your child to speak English?  OK, lets look at the entire range of bilingual kindergartens in the Tokyo market. Bilingual Kindergartens obviously come in various shapes and sizes so lets start with the very smallest.

The smallest operators are usually those with little to no business experience.  These are formed by individual teachers who have usually worked in a larger setting for a few years and feel that they then want to do something on their own. Its generally ok if they are only looking after a few children but you still have to be careful in this situation as these backyard operators are prone to mistakes, especially of course if they are not fully qualified in childcare.


 Of course they are likely to be hard working, honest people with big hearts but the reality is that child care, particularly when its your child, is a serious business. Customers need a smooth experience and they definitely want their child to be safe.


Now lets jump to the other end of the scale and look at the big operators. These bilingual kindergarten operators have plenty of business experience.  These are the companies that drive around in fleets of big busses (usually yellow, so that they are as visible as possible) they are well organized and will do almost anything to win market share. Their main goal is the expansion of their franchise, so they want to grow as big and quickly as possible.


They will most certainly teach your child English and in a safe environment. But is this enough?


 Many of these operators are “skimming” the market, they provide the very basics, a foreign English teacher (who is often more of an entertainer than an educator)  because many young parents just entering the market, falsely believe that this is all that's needed.  As a parent you need toask yourself “other than a basic form of English entertainment, is there any other important substance to what they are providing my child?”


 If not, lets look more deeply here at what a bilingual kindergarten really should be. Should it be a place that's largely concerned about making money.  I don't think so. And I’m sure that many people would agree with me.


A bilingual kindergarten should be a place that is well organized, has warmth and heart, is safe, professional and can provide a wide variety of English experiences where the children are so engaged and loved that their entire school experience shapes them into the kind of children who are integrated perfectly into an English/Japanese culture.


By “perfectly” I mean deeply. Deeper involvement leads to greater understanding, learning, thinking and success.


It is the mid sized, duel family operated, bilingual kindergartens who can provide this, particularly if you can find the right school.


So why is the culture of a bilingual kindergarten so important?


The culture of a bilingual kindergarten will shape and influence the entire English experience that your child receives.  If the culture is shallow, then your child’s grasp of English thinking will be light. If the culture is deep the school will provide deep learning experiences in English and therefore the children get to explore English in a way that deep learning and thinking takes place. They will fully embrace English with their hearts and minds and they will come to understand the two different views of thinking in Japanese and English.


Let me put it simply, to get your child to learn basic English is not enough. Your child is not truly bilingual until they can understand  the two different ways of thinking. When a bilingual child comes to fully understand the two different views of thinking.  Then they become masters of what they do. 


A bilingual master, as an adult, can work in any company, either Japanese or English and they can understand the needs of both cultures. It is not enough to be a Japanese adult who can just speak English (or vise versa). This is not understanding. 


A bilingual kindergarten with a  strong culture can provide this understanding in your child’s early years, which will then make them a balanced bilingual master.  Understanding is needed more than just the ability to recall words. This is what all true bilingual Kindergartens must and should provide.


 A young parent who truly understands this vital aspect of what it takes to be bilingual master is guaranteed to discover the right bilingual kindergarten for their child.

Why sports is so good for your boy. (Bilingual Kids インターナショナル幼稚園)

Boys need to prove to themselves that they are valuable people. No one can give them this feeling, it is something they have to earn as they grow up. In the days of the Samurai and wild west this warrior spirit was at the forefront of  society, an external demonstration of what an ideal man could be.

As time has progressed these days are long gone and we now live in a world which is presumed unsafe.  We don't want our boys to take risks and so we have engineered environments which are risk free. This environment is now robbing young boys of their ability to take risks and win.

Gone is the old playground equipment that was risky to play on. Remember the spinning roundabout and monkey bars? Many of todays playgrounds are super safe but largely uninspiring for a young boys sense of adventure. A video game is not good enough, boys need to take risks, get hurt and learn from their mistakes.

Of course daycare for the very young needs to be risk free however at kindergarten (whether it be a bilingual kindergarten or not) and preschool the risks need not be overly great but they should still be enough to be challenging for boys. Adventure playgrounds such as those found at Koganei park near Musashisakai in Musashino offer a variety of risk taking activities for young boys (and girls) and is very popular on summer weekends.

Getting your young boys involved in sports like soccer and Karate at an early age is an important and fulfilling long term way to engage your sons need to fulfill his sense of self worth. Team work and personal wins are an all important aspect of this. The Musashino area, including Mitaka and Kichijoji offers a wide variety of top level sports related activities that boys can engage in from as young as five years of age. Yokogawa soccer club in Mitaka and Shitokai karate club in Musashisakai are well known for their high standards in this regard and are highly recommended.



Give your self a break (Bilingual Kids インターナショナル幼稚園)

Most of us know that a good life is all about balance. This can be narrowed down to a good year, a good month, a good week, a good day, a good hour and a good minute. We need balance all the time to be happy and when we are happy we spread this to others, including our family and children.


Balance is one of those things however which is easier said than done .  There is so much to do, and so little time in which to do it. We have responsibilities and may have many things over which to worry about. We have to give ourselves a break. We have to know when to stop.


Stopping is a very important aspect of balance. We stop at traffic lights so that traffic coming from another direction can continue. We stop when we sleep, so that the body and mind can repair itself from its daytime adventures. Its basic, but sometimes we forget the importance of stopping.


So give yourself a break. In fact, constant breaks, throughout everything that you do. From planning the big breaks like a holiday right through to little breaks in your daily routine. Set your favorite treats aside, and organize your breaks.

When you stop, you are taking a break. We can even do this with our thinking by stopping and reconnecting with our breath, moment by moment.  When we stop we are reconnecting with life in a way that let’s everything go, including our negative energy.


Did you know that most of our thoughts are negative?  These accumulate. We may find ourselves yelling at our kids and then wondering what has come over us. We have momentarily become unbalanced. At some stage all parents go through it, its unavoidable unless we remember to stop and give ourselves a break.


The more we stop, the happier we become. Its infectious and our families will love us for it!


A bit about empathy: (Bilingual Kids インターナショナル幼稚園)

While most of our daily conversations with our child are going to be casual, there comes a time now and again when we will need to show them a little empathy.  Your instinct will clearly tell you when this time is, a time when your child is wanting to let you know how they feel. But while its easy to reflect our child’s feelings when they are positive (“You got a goal at soccer today, that's great!!!!) It's the negative feelings that are much harder for us to respond to.


At kindergarten and preschool, teachers encourage children to “Use their words” but teachers as well as parents need to understand that it may not always be the case that children are able to express themselves clearly.  In fact many children are fearful of being misunderstood by adults.


If a child is distressed there can be times when its best not to ask the child “why?” Asking a distressed child this question only adds another layer of complexity to the child’s thinking process.  In many cases the child can not analyze the situation and simply does not have the ability to answer.  It is therefore better not to have the child try to figure their way through the circumstances.


The best response from an adult at this point is to show empathy by reflecting the child’s feelings.  “Hugo, I can see that you feel sad…”  The adults acceptance opens the way, creates a space so to speak, for the child to express their feelings in the best way they know how. It is at this point that the situation my be resolved.

What to do if at first you don't feel attachment to your new baby. (Bilingual Kids インターナショナル幼稚園)

The good news is that you don't have to do anything if you are without feelings for your new born.  You need to know that for many mothers this is a perfectly natural state to experience.  It may be easy to assume that this experience will be permanent.  Once we push this conceived negative concept into the future we have put it in a place that we can not possibly control, and it is here that we may actually become fearful.


Please don't be. You affections for your newborn will come over time.  As a new mother you are not expected to know what to do in every moment. Nor are you expected to understand each cry your baby utters.  Your husband or partner may ask you questions, “ Why is our baby doing this?”  Please do not worry if you don't have the answers, motherhood is also something which grows over time, in the beginning everything may be seen to start from nothing.


A young baby can be very demanding. You don't need to figure your way through the circumstances, as this may only cause you further confusion. 


Relax, and you will begin to notice over time that your baby has her own routine. Sometimes she is crying, at other times she is asleep.  Like night and day she alternates. When she is quiet and calm this is the opportunity to find out who she is. Her little habits and gestures are unique in many ways.


Attachment is not something that you try to do, it is something that grows on you like the moss on a tree. Please relax and give it time. One day you will smile at the memory of it.

Give your child time to accept change: (Bilingual Kids インターナショナル幼稚園)

Change represents uncertainty, and uncertainty is mostly difficult for all of us, this is especially so for kids.  Big, life changing circumstances are obviously one thing to deal with but how about everyday change?


Its important to prepare your child for all the little changes in their daily routine. The best way to smooth out their day is to pre-empt change with a verbal warning that a change is about to come up.


If our child is watching T.V. and we want them to turn it off then it comes naturally to most of us to say “You can have 10 more minutes then I want you to turn it off”  What we need to do as parents is to try and make this a habit with most change requests.


If you have a young boy in your family this is particularly important. Boys have a particular sense for intense focus that differs from girls. If you have ever watched a young boy playing with his fire truck you will know what I mean. Young boys therefor usually find a change in routine much more difficult than girls because they are often mentally engaged at a level of intensity that requires effort to emerge from. The result of change without warning can often lead to emotional tantrums that take more time to emerge from.



Of course every change does not need pre-empting, especially if the routine is well known or focus is shallow, however If your child’s focus or excitement is high give them the gift of a little time to change. 

Don't overlook simple gifts (Bilingual Kids インターナショナル幼稚園)

In this material world it may be easy to overlook the gifts that kids give us. A gift from a child, perhaps made at kindergarten or preschool or in their own time at home can hold a great deal of meaning for your child.


Perhaps it may be as simple as a painted rock, or a decorated letter.   


In giving such gifts a child is offering all they have, their ingenuity, time and consideration and quite naturally their love.


Put these gifts in a special place of honor where your child will see them, perhaps at your desk or on the hall table. This way you are communicating, validating and reflecting that special relationship that can only be had between parent and child.