Frequently Asked Questions from Parents about Preschool
This is a list of frequently asked questions from parents. There are many questions unique to International Preschools, so please look it over carefully.
Please note that the latest situation may have changed. If you have any other questions or would simply like more information, please feel free to contact us.
Language-related (Includes Admission-related Matters)
- What is the ratio of English to Japanese used in the preschool?
The students are under our care for about 8 hours a day and Japanese is used for approx. 1.5 hours.
- Why do you offer Japanese lessons? What do you do in these lessons?
Our Japanese lessons provide an opportunity for students who are Japanese to develop Japanese identity, we believe this is important for them to be active on the global scene. In addition, the lessons help them come to a deeper understanding of the Japanese language.
For non-Japanese students, the lessons improve their Japanese language skills and deepen their understanding of Japan. In language learning, it's not entirely necessary to master the target language, rather, a great deal can be gained by getting a sense of the culture, customs, and history of the country where the language is spoken. It might seem difficult for young children, but we believe they will feel the joy of learning a new language and communicating with others.
Rather than studying the Japanese language, these lessons are for activities similar to those found in Japanese nursery schools and kindergartens, speaking in Japanese while improving social skills, morals, etc.
- Is it possible for a child to be admitted even if the parents don't speak English? Do they need English support at home?
Admission is possible even if the parents don't speak English. Parents may be given information via handouts and daily activity reports in English, but most of the information is provided in both English and Japanese, or through an app with automatic translation. Of course, we provide support as needed.
We recommend frequent communication at home in the language that is most comfortable so that the family has a relaxed environment. If parents would like to support their child at home, there are many methods available; parents who are not fluent in English can try the following.
- CGK Library: English library system (Over 1,000 books available for daily rental. Over 70% of students use this service.)
- YouTube videos: In the portfolio we send daily, parents can play these videos at home and enjoy them with their child.
- Praise your child's English ability: Remember that students are working hard in an unfamiliar English environment. To help them develop a more positive and determined attitude toward English, please give them lots of praise for speaking English and the effort they made to get there.
- My child has never been exposed to English before, can I enroll him/her? How quickly do they get used to English?
For students enrolling from 2-year-old class or April in the 3-year-old class, there is no English proficiency requirement. However, if enrolling after that time, we may need to check the child's English proficiency.
Children enrolled in the 2-year-old and 3-year-old class can usually understand the instructions of a teacher in English within 2 to 3 months. Although it depends on the individual child, some 3-year-old children are quickly able to string together simple words from daily life and speak in short sentences.
We apply the "English Only" rule judiciously for the first little while after enrollment, so that the children can first get used to school, enjoy going to school, and get to like English itself. However, even during this time, our non-Japanese staff will not use Japanese except in case of emergency.
- Wouldn't the child's native language be neglected by starting them in English so young?
When children learn two languages at the same time, they may mix them up a little at first, but with time they learn how to differentiate each language. If a child received long hours of English childcare from the time he/she was an infant, they might need Japanese language support at home.
Or, if parents want to enroll the child in a Japanese elementary school and the child needs more Japanese vocabulary to pass the exam, parents may need to provide support at home.
- Will my child learn enough English to go on to an international school (elementary school)?
Different international schools have different requirements for English proficiency, even for family members (requirements regarding parents' English proficiency, nationality, etc.) Please check with the international school first to confirm details, but as of July 2023, we have not heard of any cases where CGK students have been turned down for transfer to an international school because of their language ability.
Curriculum, Events & Schedule
- Please explain about the school's long vacations.
Long vacations are Golden Week, Summer Vacation, Winter Vacation, and Spring Vacation (each about one week.)
- Do you offer childcare services during long vacations, Saturdays, etc.?
Childcare is not provided during long vacations, nor on Saturdays / Sundays.
- There seem to be a lot of experiences and events, but do these include parent participation?
There are four events each year in which parents are invited to participate (Park Day, Sports Day, School Festival, Spring Recital and the Graduation Ceremony.) Some years there are also optional events.
In addition, parent observations and parent-teacher conferences are held twice a year.
For details, please see "Annual Events"
- Are there events like the ones in Japanese kindergartens and nursery schools?
Besides the Sports Day, and Spring Recital, there are many other Japanese-style events.
For details, please see "Annual Events"
- Who teaches swimming, physical education and intellectual education? And how often are these held?
- Swimming: 50 minute lessons / 14 times a year (1-2 times a month) / Qualified swimming coaches
- PE: 30-40 minute lessons / weekly / Taught by a foreign specialist teacher
- Intellectual education: 30 minute lessons / 20 times a year / Taught by Pygmalion teacher
*Optional classes are offered in small groups for an additional 50-minute lesson x 42 times per year
- Is there homework or assignments that must be done at home?
No, not especially. However, depending on the class, students may need some help at home or have simple assignments, but nothing that would be a major burden on parents.
- Do you offer open school sessions, observation sessions, or trial sessions?
We offer open schools on weekends and observation sessions on weekdays. For open schools on weekends, please refer to the admission page. For weekday observation sessions, please contact us by phone or fill out an inquiry form.
Trial sessions are not available at this time.
- Do you send out information packages?
Generally, we do not send out information packages, but we do hand out information at open schools. However, if you live overseas or far away, or if you would like to send information to your friends, acquaintances, colleagues, etc., please contact us.
- Can my child be enrolled even if they are not yet potty-trained?
Children may enroll in the 2-year-old class as well as the 3-year-old class even if they are not yet out of diapers. However, we ask that parents make an effort to toilet train children as much as possible by the time they enter the 3-year-old class.
- Can my child be enrolled in the middle of the school year?
It's possible if there is a vacancy. However, depending on the class you wish to enroll your child in, we may need to check their English level.
- Is it possible to choose which days of the week my child attends, and do you have half-day options or other courses?
In the 2-year-old class, the number of days per week is selectable, but no from 3-year-old class. From 3-year-old class, the course is offered only on a full-time basis, five days a week.
This course of study is designed to ensure that CGK's extensive curriculum and programs are of the highest standard, both in quantity and quality, and to ensure consistency in English proficiency among students.
- In admission screening and interviews, what are the criteria for selection?
We do not disclose our selection criteria. We make a comprehensive decision based on a variety of factors.
- How long does it take from application to finding out about acceptance?
It depends on the time of year, please ask again at the time of application.
- In the case of a sibling of a current CGK student, will he/she get priority in admission?
We will schedule your application and selection process before the general application period, but we cannot guarantee that your child / children will be accepted.
- Do you provide "acclimation" childcare?
We do not have a specific program, but if you feel your child needs acclimation childcare, please feel free to contact us.
- Are parents pressured to donate goods or funds? Will I be given the cold shoulder for not donating?
Absolutely not. While we may send out general requests for donations to parents, we do not make individual requests, nor is there a culture of expecting donations. We can assure you that no one will be treated coldly for any reason.
Each year during our Christmas event, we ask for your voluntary cooperation in purchasing educational materials, toys, and other gifts for the school and children to use. We have a list of items available for small amounts.
We are aware that many people are averse to the idea of a school asking for donations of goods or funds, but as an unlicensed preschool that receives almost no subsidies, donations of goods or funds are greatly appreciated in order to provide better service while also taking into consideration a proper environment and compensation for our staff. For this reason, we have published a request for donations on our website, and it is possible that parents might be sent a notice.
- Is this facility eligible for Free Early Childhood Education and Care subsidies?
Our school is eligible for Free Early Childhood Education and Care subsidies. As an unlicensed childcare facility, if you meet the requirements, you can receive a monthly payment of 37,000 yen from the local government (not applicable for 2-year-old classes).
- If I am late, when do I have to start paying extended childcare fees?
Please note that extended childcare fees are charged per minute even if students/parents are only one minute late.
- Is there an extended childcare fee for optional classes?
There is no extended childcare fee for the classes starting at 4:30pm until 5:30pm, and 5:30pm until 6:30pm. Many students take optional classes rather than paying for extended childcare fees.
- Are there any fees other than those listed on the website?
There are times when we ask parents to pay for class activities and out-of-school activities. However, in the unlikely event that more than a few thousand yen / year is required, we will give a clear explanation so that parents can understand the reason for the fee.
Please note that at the time of graduation, fees of around 20,000 yen will be charged for several expenses including the graduation album.
Classes, Teachers and Students
- What countries are the foreign teachers from? Are they qualified teachers?
The countries of origin are the United States, England, Australia, South Africa, Ireland, and Argentina (as of July 2023), all foreign teachers other than the P.E. specialist teacher (Argentinean) are native English speakers. In the future, we may hire non-native foreign teachers after having our native English teachers conduct interviews and scrutinize their experience in teaching English to young children and their English test scores, which can be used to objectively determine English proficiency.
We believe that global education is not just about learning English, but that it's vital to have contact with a wide variety of people and backgrounds. Hiring only native English teachers is contrary to our policy of emphasizing and pursuing diversity. Therefore, we may reconsider our recruitment policy for foreign teachers in the future, provided that the quality of our English education is not compromised.
In terms of teaching English to students, teachers who have experience learning English as a second language are generally considered to be better at teaching English. Therefore, we strive to hire excellent teachers with the absolute requirement that they have a high level of English proficiency.
In addition, although we don't have specific requirements when hiring foreign teachers, we do focus on whether the teacher has majored in Education at university or has previous experience teaching English to children. However, what is more important in the actual selection process is the teacher's personal character, skills, and teamwork, things that cannot be measured on paper. Therefore, through interviews and trial lessons, we place particular emphasis on the way the teacher treats children, how they handle situations on the spot, their team communication skills and especially their personal character.
- How are the classes divided?
Classes are divided by the age (grade) of the student on April 1st. After that, they are assigned to their classes. Some activities may be held in vertical (mixed-age) classes.
- How many students are there in one class?
The maximum number of students per class is about 24. In the future, we may review the class capacity for a better class environment.
- How many teachers are assigned to each class?
Each class is managed by a team of three teachers, consisting of two foreign teachers and one bilingual Japanese teacher. The number of teachers is decided according to the age of the children and what kind of activities in the class, but due to the large number of staff, we may assign more than the standard number of teachers as needed.
- Do the Japanese teachers really speak English at all times?
As a rule, English is spoken at all times, except during Japanese class. Even Japanese staff members make every effort to communicate amongst themselves in English while within earshot of the students.
- I heard that there's a high turnover of foreign nationals working as teachers in preschools. Is there a lot of teacher turnover at CGK?
At CGK, we have been continuously improving the working environment of our teachers since the school opened. Childcare workers and foreign teachers require a high level of skill, humanity, passion, and responsibility, and we try to ensure they are compensated appropriately.
As many of our teachers are passionate about working at CGK and agree with the philosophy and curriculum of CGK after we do our best to explain CGK, the turnover rate of foreign teachers has been improving, and the retention rate for all full-time staff in FY2022 is a high 94.4%.
Often, there are unavoidable circumstances, such as when a teacher needs to return to his/her home country. In order to avoid inconvenience to students and parents in the event of a teacher's departure, our teachers share information and have a system in place to respond to sudden problems.
- After enrollment, are parents permitted to observe the classes?
Parents are welcome to visit. However, please contact us in advance.
Drop off / Pick up
- Do you provide bus transportation? Can I decide the time and place of the bus stop?
There are two school buses that provide transportation to and from the school. The bus routes can be viewed in School Bus page, but current routes may differ. Please contact us for bus stop locations and times.
- Are the fees different if I only need bus services in the morning or in the evening?
Regular bus pick-up and drop-off fees will apply even if your child only uses the bus once a day.
- Is it possible for my child to leave early for other lessons and cram school?
It is possible, but we ask that they leave at a time that does not interfere with school lessons or activities. Please understand that if a child leaves early, they will not be able to fully benefit from the curriculum.
- Do you have a parking lot or bicycle parking lot?
No, we do not. Parents can park in a nearby parking lot or on a nearby street. When parking, please try to avoid the area around the school during the time when the bus comes (around 8:30am and 4:30pm) and please comply with all local regulations.
Also, please be mindful of where you park your bicycle so that people in the neighborhood are not inconvenienced.
- Can my child use the bus service when taking optional classes?
Bus service is not available for students taking optional classes, so we ask that parents or guardians pick up the children.
Lunch and Snack
- Are school lunches and snacks provided?
Lunches are provided. Snacks are provided only in the afternoon.
- What measures have you taken regarding allergies?
For the most part, food allergens can be avoided in our lunch-box meals. However, in some cases, students may need to bring their own lunch, so please contact us for details. We will inform parents in advance if we will be using other allergenic foods in cooking or other activities.
- Can my child bring their own lunch?
Generally, the answer is no, because it's difficult to manage hygiene. However, in special circumstances, we are willing to discuss with parents how best to accommodate their child's needs.
- What kind of optional classes are available?
We have Programming Class, Pygmalion Class, and Dance Class. For details, please see Optional Classes page.
- Can students take optional classes right after enrolling?
Yes, however, there are situations where enrollment begins in May for 3 year olds or April for 4 year olds, so please inquire for details.
- Are optional classes held in the same facility?
Yes, they are held in the same facility.
- What kind of schools can graduates go on to?
Please see our Missions & Values page for the further educational possibilities of graduates.
- Is there any preparation for entrance exams to private elementary schools or international schools?
Not specifically, but our Pygmalion intellectual training class can effectively prepare students for entrance exams for private elementary schools in Japan.
- Do you hold evacuation drills?
We hold monthly drills with the children to prepare for various situations such as earthquakes, fires, tsunamis, and how to deal with suspicious people.
- What other safety measures, if any, do you take in addition to evacuation drills?
All of our Japanese teachers are certified childcare professionals, we pay strict attention to safety and communicate with our foreign staff to ensure that they are also able to handle emergency situations. Our facilities are equipped to prevent fingers from getting pinched in doors, cushioning for dangerous edges, we also have measures against infectious disease and heatstroke. We review safety rules before going outside and hold first aid classes.
- What measures do you have to prevent infectious disease?
Children wash their hands and gargle.
Rooms are disinfected daily, and parents are notified when there are reports of infectious diseases in order to prevent the spread of infection.
- How can I find out about class activities and how my child is doing at school?
We have an app that each day provides information on the day's overall class activities and, if necessary, the status of individual children. Photos and videos can also be posted on the app, which has been very well received by parents.
- Are letters and notices given to parents in English?
Letters and notices given to parents are written in English by our foreign staff, but we are happy to provide assistance reading these, if necessary. Important notices are provided in both Japanese and English.
- Do you have a schoolyard?
No, we do not. Instead of a schoolyard, we generally take the children out every day for walks to different places.
- Are children fed when they receive extended childcare in the evening?
No, there are no food services available in the evening.
- What kind of future plans are there to develop CGK?
These plans are not absolutely finalized, so they cannot be guaranteed, but we are generally planning the following developments by 2030 (in order of planned implementation).
- Start of the Short-term Study Abroad Program
- Opening of Middle and High Schools
- Establishment of a new integrated school building for preschool, elementary, middle, and high school
- Opening a School Overseas
Feel free to contact us, not only regarding applications for open schools or other questions, but also about observations, interviews, community interaction proposals, partnerships, consultancy requests, internships, etc.
Preschool Admission Application
Application period and availability may change periodically, please feel free to apply first.