Does my child need to be able to speak English before enrolling in GKA ?
It is more important for your child to be flexible in accepting differences in skin color, language and culture, to have the ability to accept teachers with a variety of nationalities, along with a keen interest in whatever is new. As your child grows accustomed to English, recognizing its sounds, and acquiring the ability to respond to simple questions, he or she will learn to fit in naturally. GKA Pre-School also gives children a good foundation for an English Immersion Education by asking them questions with meaningful content and having them respond in English.
Does studying in English improve a student’s academic ability?
It depends on what we view academic ability as. It may be less effective to study in English if our main purpose is to achieve the highest possible scores on traditional Japanese examinations. However, if our goal is to challenge students and nurture their understanding through conceptual based education and through examining the processes taken while working toward a specific goals, an education in English can be most effective. According to research, bilingual children have higher metacognitive skills than monolingual children. Moreover, we believe that an English immersion education further deepens a student’s comprehension level while providing important skills needed to cope with complexed issues found in adult society.
Will my child develop a Japanese identity ?
The ability to speak English is merely a means to an end and the important thing is what the students say and what they want to convey. Students experience Japanese culture first-hand through extracurricular lessons that deepen their understanding of Japanese traditions. They also learn how teachers from other countries look at Japan from a wide variety of perspectives.
Students naturally develop an awareness being Japanese within an international community.
I noticed there are teachers coming from many different countries in the school. What do you think about the differences in the variety of English? I think there are some differences in the word and phrase choices compared with American and British English.
We do not focus on language accent. We use the books to teach reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar. Teachers choose stories that our students can relate to. There are slight differences about spelling and phrases, however, we don’t see such a big problem. We rather want that students can learn from both.
Is there any subject that has to have decreased hours because they study English from lower grade.
The children study their subjects within the special school system. There is no reduction of the hours. They are studying the same content as other schools but we teach in English rather than Japanese.
Are there any children who can not keep up with the lesson because of their English. If so, is there any support system at the school for those children?
There is Extra Help in our school for the students who find it difficult keeping up with the lessons in either Japanese or English. It is after school support in smaller groups. The parents can consult with the homeroom teachers and discuss the schedule.
Will the children struggle to understand other subjects taught in English if they have a problem understanding English?
It all depends on the contents of the subject and the children’s interest. Sometimes the parents think the children will understand better if they are taught in Japanese but the immersion education uses learning methods that force to children to study in a challenging but fun way. There is no single answer for all the children to acqire their learning. We discuss with the parents about the support that they need. It could be supplementary studies in Japanese.
Please tell us why the school does not limit their language to be only in English.
It is very important to reduce the emotional stress for the children. We consider that the casual conversation in their mother language is also necessary for childrens’ healthy growth.
Is an English ability necessary as parents?
English is not necessary for parents since Japanese teachers interpret for English speaking teachers.
What kind of support do we need to give at home.
Please give your children support by helping them come to school safely and happily everyday. Help children to build up their daily home study habits by checking their reading and signing off. Parents do not need to give any instruction over the contents of the lessons. Please give support to the children for their time management, mental and emotional support.
Both of us work. We are concerned about after-school care for our child.
The elementary school provides two after-school care programs: one for Grades 1 to 3 and another for Grades 1 to 6. Staff members are specifically assigned to watch over children as they play and do their homework.
Is there any special educational support?
There is a school counselor but we do not have special support staff for the students.
What are the schooling options ?
Both the elementary school and the secondary school provide a school bus service.
There are several points that children can catch the bus. For the GKA school bus there is Ota station and Bus terminal Ota. For the Maebashi bus there is Komagata station and Maebashi station.
Secondary school students can also use the public bus service or commute by bicycle if they are within cycling distance.
Are there any school buses to Takasaki or Maebashi? Do you accept everyone if they wish for those buses? Can you tell us the time schedules.
Therer is a school bus that we call Maebashi bus. It departs Maebashi Station 6:45 and 7:10 from Komagata station in the morning. After classes, it leaves GKA at 15:40 to arrive Komagata station around 16:30. (This depends on the traffic)
Please provide more details of the Kumagaya Route. Where does the bus stop, the schedule, how many students are using and the fee.
There are two types of Kumagaya public buses, one is “Shuttle 500” and the other is “Asahi Bus”. Both buses stop at Ota station and Ota Bus Terminal. So the students can transfer to the GKA school bus. There is another bus also from Kumagaya Staion which volunteer parents organized. They calculate the cost of hiring and divide among the number of users. It costs around 20,000 yen. This private bus departs from Kumagaya station to the school campus without any stops.
We heard about a private bus organized by volunteer parents. Who do we need to speak to about GKA parent-organized private buses?
The school will release this information after entrance exam. There are two parent-organized private buses. One from Ashikaga and the other from Kumagaya.
How far are students allowed to commute?
We recommend a maximum of an hour commuting time in order to avoid children’s physical and safety (burden) concerns.
Is there any waiting area for the parents to pick up children when using the car?
There is no waiting area available around the school. You can rent a car park nearby.
Please tell us what time the gate opens and what time is the latest pick up from Gakudo and Little Clover.
The school opens at 7:45.
Both Gakudo and Little Clover accept students until 18:30 and they look after students until 19:00 on parent’s request.
Is it two semesters or three semesters?
Two semesters. From April until September is the first semester and October until March is the second semester.
Are there lessons on Saturdays?
There are no satuday lessons generally, however there are some school events or orientations on some Saturdays. In that case, children need to attend the school.
Are all the students Japanese citizens?
More than 90% of students are Japanese.
Do you shuffle the classes.
We do change the class every year.
Is there any seasonal sports such as skiing or swimming?
We do not have any seasonal sports and we do not have swimming lessons.
Do all students in the secondary school who select the International Baccalaureate (IB) Course go to universities overseas ?
From Grade 11, students select either the IB Course or the Domestic University Preparation Course. The IB Course is not only for students planning to go to university abroad. Students intending to enter domestic universities can also take the IB Course, and many of them enter Japanese universities. In the final stage of their studies at GKA, students make a choice based not so much on where they plan to attend university, but on how they want to learn, and on what kind of future they envision for themselves.
Can we take an admission examination as a transfer student?
Yes you can, if there is a place in the (relevant) requested grade.
Although we live in Ota City, can we join either E or F class? The information note says “there is a possibility of not granting your request.”
In this case, what happens next? Will we be not accepted to join the pre-school?
For this year, we requested the family mainly who lives in Ota City to consider changing the class from Saturday class to weekdays class.
We never refuse to join to the preschool, but we may request to families consider changing the class for the next year, too.
Is there summer vacation for the preschool too?
Pre-school summer vacation follows the elementary school calendar.
Our child is currently in the youngest grade in kindergarten. Is there 4 years old class to be held next year?
We will decide offering the 4-year old class according to COVID-19 situation.