What kind of person will your child become?
Choosing an appropriate school for children is one of the biggest and most difficult decisions that parents face. There are many considerations to make, and many questions to ask.
Why should Aoba be your choice?
Here we provide some of the most common questions and answers to help make your decision-making process easier.
Please click on any category below to view questions and answers.
Can students start school in April?
Aoba accepts new students all year round. Since the new school year in Japanese schools starts in April, Aoba of course accepts students in April. They join the class appropriate to their age, according to our Admissions Policy. They advance to the new grade in August. This “grade extension” of three months allows them time to settle with their new classmates and in the new learning situation without a loss of learning, and perhaps with better preparation for the new school year.
When is the application deadline?
To accommodate the needs of families who must relocate either globally or locally at any time of the year, we accept applications all year round.
What documents are required for enrollment into Aoba?
As well as the application form, we require a physical health check form, medical history form, passport or birth certificate, student recommendation and two years of school reports and/or transcripts. When there are good reasons why all required documents can not be provided, we will help identify equivalents to satisfy our admissions requirements.
What is the admission process?
The admission process generally consists of the following stages:
- Initial contact, inquiries, and school visits with an Admissions Officer
- Application documentation (see the registration procedures in the Admissions section of this website)
- Interview with the Admissions Director (child and parents)
- Placement and Language Skills Assessments
What happens during the interview?
The interview is designed to learn from the student what they enjoy about school and what they expect from Aoba: it is also designed to learn from parents why they wish their child to receive an international education. It is also the opportunity for parents’ or students’ questions to be answered.
How do the admissions assessments work?
The admissions assessments have two main purposes: • Assessment of the student’s previous learning and understanding, and • Identification of any learning and/or language support needs the student might have. All assessments are age-appropriate, and they are designed to be straightforward and non-stressful: we want the students to show their capabilities.
Can we have a tour of your campus?
Yes! We offer regular school tours and online information sessions.
* Tours are cancelled during the pandemic.
Can Japanese students enroll as students at Aoba?
Yes, we welcome students from all cultural and national backgrounds, including Japanese, so long as they have a clear need to be educated in English (e.g. among other reasons, becoming global citizens, they have returned from stays abroad or their families are planning to move overseas etc.).
What if my child doesn’t speak English?
Students at Aoba are immersed in English. Our English as an Additional Language curriculum is structured specifically to allow them, through their dedicated studies, to be brought up to a high level of English proficiency, and even fluency, by the time they graduate. Please note, however, that we do not provide English as an Additional Language support after G8.
Is student financial aid available?
Currently there is no financial aid available for newly enrolled students.
I’d like information about the entrance examinations.
An English and Math proficiency test is given to all students during the admissions process. Please see the registration procedures on our website.
Do all students and parents have to speak English before enrolling at Aoba?
While it is helpful for the student to speak some English, this is not essential. Aoba has an English as an Additional Language Program designed to help students upgrade their English skills to mainstream grade language requirements. This support is provided until the 8th grade. Regarding communication with parents and guardians, some people in the school speak Japanese and it is always possible to assist parents whose English is weaker. However, it is essential that at least one parent can communicate in English.
What is the purpose of the school?
The school was originally intended to offer an international style education to Japanese children returning to Japan (who have been to other international schools abroad), or to dual nationality and foreign children.
What kind of cultural demographics are represented in the Aoba community?
Over half of our students are from Japan or neighboring Asian countries. Recently, we have seen more American, Indian, Korean and mixed nationals due to international marriages. We aim for teacher demographics that represent a variety of backgrounds, nationalities, and cultural diversity.
Is Aoba affiliated with a particular religion?
No, we are a secular school and we welcome students from all races, religions, and cultures.
What education standards bodies accredit the programs at Aoba?
Aoba is accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). We are also an IB World School, providing the IB PYP, MYP and DP, authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization, IBO, in Geneva, Switzerland. The Japanese Ministry of Education also recognizes the school. This allows our graduates to apply to Japanese universities.
Is Aoba an English conversation school?
No, we are not an English conversation school. We offer a complete curriculum for full-time pre-school to high school students (kindergarten to grade 12). All core classes are taught in English.
What is the difference between the April intake and the regular intake?
Not much, except that we offer different entry points to cater to education systems around the world. The Aoba school year runs from August to June. Students enrolling from April (or January, or any other month) will join their classmates mid-year and continue until they advance to the next grade in August.
I am Japanese and I just returned from a stay overseas with my family. I would like my children to continue their education in English. Can Aoba help?
We welcome all Japanese students whose parents want them to pursue an English-language education on a full-time basis.
Why should I send my child to an international school?
For international families, one of the primary advantages of sending children to an international school is the ability to communicate in English with the teachers and staff of the school. Our small class sizes and international curriculum offer an environment conducive to developing students’ creativity and critical thinking skills. Whenever parents have concerns about their children keeping up with their cohorts back home, an international school like Aoba can be a good option.
Aoba is an IB World School. What does that mean?
Aoba provides the IB curriculum at all levels: the PYP, MYP, and DP: Our core values that are reflected throughout the curriculum are developing global leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators, effective communicators, wise risk takers, and effective problem solvers.
What are the unique characteristics of the Aoba curriculum?
We focus on creating the mindset that will allow our students to participate with confidence at the international level. We have designed our approach to learning that encourages the development of five core characteristics: global leadership, entrepreneurship and the ability to innovate, effective communication, wise risk taking, and effective problem solving.
What is the International Baccalaureate?
The International Baccalaureate is a Geneva-based non-profit educational foundation that runs four educational programs for students aged 3 to 19, with the aim of helping develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn, and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Founded in 1968, the IB currently works with 5,500 schools in 159 countries to develop and offer its four programs to more than 1,950,000 students aged 3 to 19 years.
What language are lessons taught in?
All lessons, with the exception of Japanese Studies, are taught solely in English by native English class teachers. Children are screened before entry to ensure their English is at a level that allows them to access the curriculum at the school. If their English is not immediately sufficient for the core program, they will be in the English as an Additional Language program, where their English skills are improved to the point they will be successful within the mainstream grades.
What is the breakdown of nationalities at Aoba?
Approximately 35% of students at Aoba have two Japanese parents, another 30% have one Japanese and one non-Japanese parent. The remaining 20% are expatriate, coming from some 20 nationalities. The teaching staff comes from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, the USA, Japan, Canada and Australia.
What are the class sizes?
On average, the student to teacher ratio at Aoba is 15:1. In the preschool and kindergarten years we have no more than 16 children with two adults. In Grade 1 and Grade 2, class size are capped at 20 students per class; and from Grade 3 and above, class size is capped at 25. Rather than filling classes, we aim to maintain a strong balance of student and teacher needs, so classes are not always filled to capacity.
What nationality are the teachers?
All class teachers are native English speaking teachers, in almost all cases hired from abroad. Among other things these teachers are:
- Trained, qualified, and committed to excellence.
- Dedicated to the profession and love children and educating children.
- Flexible team players who wish to continue learning as well as teaching.
- Looking to constantly improve what we offer the children as well as their own skills as teachers.
Are your teachers licensed to teach?
Yes, all of our teachers are trained, certified, and licensed to teach at all levels.
How long is the school day?
Start and finish times are as follows.
Does Aoba have a bus service?
Yes, we currently run several bus routes throughout the city. The bus routes are designed to cater to families living in the wider Tokyo area. Please contact the school for more information.
Are there any after-school activities offered?
We offer many after-school clubs: art, sports, drama, music, and more. Clubs are run at the school by staff, instructors, and outside experts.
Do you offer summer school programs?
Yes, we offer summer school to current students. We also offer a full five-week summer camp that is open to everyone in the community.
Are Aoba students required to wear a school uniform?
Yes, students in Kinder to Primary wear the Aoba school uniform daily. Middle and Senior school students have an optional uniform. Please see the Uniform Policy for details.
Can I volunteer at Aoba?
Yes. We welcome the participation of our community. While there are often opportunities for volunteer experiences at Aoba, we particularly welcome volunteers as International Ambassadors during our July–August summer camps.
Does Aoba offer accommodation to international students?
Aoba does not offer accommodation to any students at this point, and all of our international students live with their families. International students must enter the school with a proper visa and will be asked to present documentation at the point of entry into the school.
What safety and security measures are taken at Aoba?
The school is surrounded by fences and steel gates for external security. Internally, fire, earthquake, and lockdown drills are held regularly throughout the year. The low student-teacher ratio contributes to close care and quick response during accidents.
What do you do when a child suddenly gets sick while at the school?
We have a school nurse who is available all day, every day for both emergency and non-emergency situations.
What events do you have for parents and children during the year?
Our school offers a variety of family activities that coincide with special occasions such as Halloween, Christmas, and other Japanese and international holidays. We host our Spring Carnival each year in April to which everyone, including the surrounding community, is invited. We also host the Nerima Ward Disaster Preparedness Day, the Choose Japan Education Fair, and multiple other events and performances to which families are welcome. Please see our calendar for specific dates and opportunities. All events showcase the achievements and progress of the children to our entire community.
What about potty training? My child still wears a diaper.
We have potty training and diaper service, but only at the Meguro Campus. We have experienced female teachers who help train the children and will change their diapers until they have learned to use toilet facilities properly. All students enrolling at the Hikarigaoka Campus must already be potty trained in order to enroll.
Does your school have insurance?
Yes, we do. Please contact us for more information.