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Emiri Ono, currently Blue Class, 2 years old.
I chose Hello Kids for my daughter Emiri after watching teachers and students interact and play in the park. As a former International pre-school teacher, I had been wondering for a while on what do for my daughter’s English education.
The first thing that struck me as I watched Hello Kids students in the park was their extraordinary high level of English. Not only was their interaction with their teacher in English, but so was the interaction with each other. In my experience, pre-school aged children attending English classes can often say individual words such as colors or numbers, or perhaps individual set phrases such as “Thank you”, but it’s rare to find such young Japanese children naturally creating and communicating their own expression. Furthermore, even if teachers’ questions are answered in English, children will often interact together in Japanese. At Hello Kids, children learn English not just from the teacher but also from each other by actually using it. I like too how the goal is not to only acquire English language skills, but to urge children to be proactive in speaking, to volunteer ideas in English, and to live independently.
Initially my daughter cried when I dropped her off in the morning, and I worried about it. But through photos and videos sent to me by staff, I could see her smiling, dancing and very much enjoying herself. It was a great relief.
It has been a little over a year since enrolling, and I’m so surprised at how fast my two-and-a-half-year-old has grown to be able to connect single words into full sentences that accurately communicate her intent. She is still a little on the shy side however so I’m hoping that her experiences at Hello Kids will help her develop the confidence needed to engage actively with the rest of the world.
Masato Kitora, currently Pink Class, 3 years old
It’s my wish that we are all able to communicate comfortably with people to and from all over the world, broaden our options, and enrich our lives with a smile. It is what I hope for our children every day too.
Hello Kids was one school among many I had been considering for my son. My decision to go with Hello Kids turned out to be a decision better than I could possibly have imagined. Having since understood the importance of English education for children from an early age, I currently have my son attend there 5 full days a week. Of course, the school’s obvious appeal is the rapid development of outstanding English skills. But another aspect that can’t be ignored is their style of education that promotes the development of positive personality traits. It’s clear that the teachers observe each and every child well, and individuality is recognized and cherished.
A daily report from teachers at Pink Class consists of a checklist of 40 items as well as written comments detailing specifics of what the children are doing, learning, becoming aware of and responding to. Thanks to this parents are well informed of day-to-day growth.
Those times too when children perceive failure or remorse are treated carefully by teachers to promote strengthening of spirit. Teachers express to parents and children very clearly the importance of caring for people.
Furthermore, I am happy that within an all-English environment children are still provided Japanese cultural experiences. I agree with the thinking that a good understanding and appreciation of the outside world can be attained through a good understanding and appreciation of your own home.
One of the most surprising aspects of Hello Kids is how well the children speak English with not just the teachers but also with each other. This feature helps with the child’s willingness to speak out. They imitate the expression of older children and thereby naturally develop their own. Hearing my own son speak English naturally moved me like nothing had ever before. Little by little, experience builds upon experience. Through Hello Kids and through English, my son is gaining the self-confidence he needs.
More than anything perhaps is the genuine love and affection the children get from all the staff at this crucial time in the children’s young lives. My son smiles warmly each morning, eager to get going to his teachers and friends. Both parents and children feel the warmth of this school, and through its English environment and instruction, our horizons are widened, and we grow together.
Gabriel On, currently Pink Class, 5 years old
Lucas On, currently Blue Class, 3 years old
Hello Kids have been a huge blessing to both my boys. Gabriel has Down Syndrome and it is so wonderful for him to be given a chance to be included. The teachers have taught him with so much love and patience. It’s amazing to see him laugh, play & learn with his friends. Teaching without prejudice…a lesson everyone can learn from.
Lucas joined Hello Kids when he was 18months and now at 3, he has grown tremendously. It’s unbelievable that I was once worried about him not talking at 2, and the teachers were so supportive and encouraging to get him to speak. Now, it’s non stop chatter from him. He loves going to school and loves his teachers.
I couldn’t have asked for a better school for kids to be nurtured and learn. Without hesitation I can say I’m lucky to have found this school for my boys.
Mia Girvan, currently Pink Class, 5 years old
Emma Girvan, currently Blue Class, 2 years old
I am from New Zealand and have been living in Japan for around 20 years. I am married to a Japanese woman and have two daughters, one aged 5 and the other 2.
I always wanted to raise my kids to be bilingual but wasn’t sure of the best way to ensure they learn English from an early age. Full time International Schools and preschools in Tokyo are very expensive and would also mean my kids are not exposed to the Japanese Yochien. We also looked around at other smaller schools but did not feel they provided a good learning environment due to the size of the class or experience of the teachers.
We settled on Hello Kids when my first daughter was 2 years old because of the friendly and experienced teachers, the small class size and happy environment at the school. She attends 1 day per week so that she can also attend Yochien. We immediately saw her English skills improve and learning about western culture, something that she would not get only attending Yochien.
She loves going to Hello Kids, she is always talking about her teachers and friends at school. The events, field trips and summer school program that the school has are great fun but have also been very educational.
My youngest daughter has now started going to Hello Kids and loves heading off to school. For anyone wanting to raise their kids to be bilingual I can recommend Hello Kids as a safe, friendly and nurturing environment. Now that my oldest daughter is 5 years old she is fully bilingual and I am confident that my other daughter will be just as fluent in English after attending Hello Kids.
Kuryu Kato, ex-Pink Class, currently attends St. Timothy Pre-School, California USA
Why did I choose Hello Kids for my son?
I had my son enter Blue Class when he was 2 years 3 months old because I wanted his ears to grow accustomed to English from an early age in the school’s all-English environment. I was attracted by the fact that the Pink Class, the class after the Blue Class, takes care of children right up to entering elementary school. Pink Class felt like an ideal replacement for Japanese kindergarten. Also, after entering elementary school, children could continue their English experience in the afternoon after-school classes.
At Pink Class, there is a diverse curriculum tailored to each season, from singing, dancing, arts & craft, reading and writing to simple arithmetic, all of which is very fun.
My son has a wheat allergy, and at the time of admission he needed daily doses of Epipen. The school was gracious enough to accept my request.
At Pink Class the communication between the teachers and parents is excellent. This is important as it facilitates opinion exchanges between us.
Because of my husband’s circumstances, we finished 3 years of Hello Kids in March, and begun living in the US. Hello Kids’ principal and the Pink Class teacher wrote a letter of recommendation of my son and he entered private school in the States problem-free. His experience at Hello Kids helped him make friends at his new school from the very first day, communicate well with his new teacher, and take part in lessons involving English reading and writing. He was even complimented on his addition and subtraction ability. The smooth transition from Japan to the States is definitely because of Hello Kids.
In the summer vacation we are planning to return to Japan and participate in Hello Kids’ summer program. We are looking forward to meeting the staff and old friends again in the friendly “at-home” environment of Hello Kids.
Rena Ohde, currently afternoon elementary school class & Saturday class, 7 years old.
Ria Ohde, currently Pink Class, 3 years old.
When my eldest was in her last year of a different pre-school we considered changing her schooling and we attended a Hello Kids trial lesson. We received the details of a one year pre-elementary school course, and were Impressed. More than anything though was our daughter’s reaction to the trial lesson. She had a lot of fun, and indicated she wanted to start coming regularly.
In addition to being able to communicate with spoken English, our daughter can now also read and write the language. Furthermore, she learnt daily living skills, helping others etc.
She entered elementary school in the spring, so now attends Hello Kids’ after-school program and Saturday class. We enrolled our younger daughter in the Pink Class after a good first year in the Blue Class.
Takeishi Daia, currently afternoon elementary school class & Saturday class, 2nd grade
Takeishi Daikichi, currently pre-school Pink Class
My family, who was stationed in the Middle East always spent about two months in Japan during
the summer holidays. Our concern was how to maintain our children’s English skills in preparation for entrance into the local elementary school. I looked at a variety of infant English schools, and finally decided on Hello Kids as it was close to our house. Using English every day in an environment where a small class is given a curriculum tailored to each child’s ability is we believe very important for maintaining English proficiency. After returning home four years later, I didn’t have much time to search for other kindergartens, so we simply entered Hello Kids full-time n care of full time. The eldest daughter is now an elementary school student, but she attends afternoon classes, and takes lessons for Eiken exams. We are very grateful to Hello Kids.
Kawase Kodai, currently pre-school Pink Class, 6 years old
Kawase Yutaro, Pink Class graduate, currently JH 2nd grade (student since 2 years old)
The reason I entered my eldest son at Hello Kids was because I myself was not good at English and I didn’t want to narrow my son’s future, and the school was close by. In total he attended Hello Kids regularly for 11 years until junior high club activities made it difficult for him to maintain his lessons. My son, who is not a returnee, can now speak English and interact with foreigners without reservation. This ability, like any ability in kids, has given him much confidence.
Our second son (5 years old) is currently attending the morning pre-school and afternoon classes, and is crazy about spelling English words!
I think the good thing about Hello Kids is that, unlike ordinary kindergartens, they provide guidance tailored to their children in small numbers. Students with an age difference of one to two years are in the same class. The younger children look up to the older children, and receive their help on things they are as yet unable to do. I always look forward to hearing or reading the teachers’ daily reports.
A while ago our family moved out of the neighborhood to a location a fair distance from Hello Kids. But so happy are we with the school that we never thought about changing to a more local school. I am really looking forward to seeing how much our second son will have grown when he graduates from Hello Kids.
Lucas Harris, currently afternoon elementary school class, 2nd grade. Attended the pre-school from 3 years old to 6 years old.
Our son attended Hello Kids full-time for three years, and was so happy there and gained so much that he now attends once a week after school. The teachers are totally dedicated and unfailingly sympathetic and kind. The materials they present motivate kids and stimulate their interest in all manner of fields. We have been deeply impressed by everything about Hello Kids, and recommend it without hesitation.
Kana, 1st generation pre-school graduate, currently 2nd year student at Kyoto Univ. Economics.
Considering the trend of an ever expanding globalization due to the development of transportation and technologies, now it is really important to be a citizen of the world. My first stepping stone to be this was to become a student at Hello Kids when I was three years old and this decision has changed my life. (Actually the reason I started to go here was because Hello Kids is literally a minute away on foot from my home lol) Hello Kids was a totally different world from outside, which provides the best place to enjoy learning natural English with native English speakers and by using foreign products. I was attracted to learn new things here because I really could enjoy spending time here so I have attended Hello Kids for about 16 years and still now I often visit it. The experience at Hello Kids of not only studying English but also feeling like a foreign atmosphere greatly enhanced my desire to continue my cultural communication and to improve to improve my English ability. As a result, I have been to Canada for one year as an exchange student when I was a high school student and finished two weeks program on design thinking process at Stanford University. Also I got accepted to go McGill university from this summer to next spring as an exchange student. Thanks to the basic English skill that I acquired at Hello Kids, I had no problem spending time outside of Japan and taking the entrance exam of Kyoto University. Although I don’t have any clear image of what I’m going to do after graduation of university, I would like to keep learning cultural diversification by using what I learned at Hello Kids in my future.