Tohoku International School now able to provide the IB curriculum for its pre-school and elementary school students

The original article was published in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (June 29th edition). Read the original here.

The Tohoku International School (TIS, in Sendai City), has received authorization to provide the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, which is an international educational course that can be used to gain admission to universities abroad. TIS can now teach the IB curriculum to their students aged 3-12 years old (pre-school through elementary school), and is the first educational facility in Tohoku to gain such authorization. This is another step forward in developing the city’s educational environment so that Sendai can become a better place to live for foreign residents with children.

TIS teaches students from pre-school to high school. On June 26th, it gained authorization to teach the “Primary Year Program,” the IB curriculum for pre-school to elementary. It will now introduce this curriculum into its current primary year courses.

TIS began working to gain access to the PYP program in 2014, and prepared by putting the right teachers in place among other things.

PYP is known for its commitment to “two-way education with the active participation of students in the pursuit of knowledge.” Students freely select from educational themes like the global environment, history, and other topics, debate each other on their research findings, and travel outside the classroom walls to learn more. Instructors teach their students through leading them to ask the right questions. Students also concurrently learn English, mathematics, social studies, and other disciplines.

TIS aims to gain access to the Diploma Program (for students aged 16-19) of the IB curriculum in about 2 years. TIS would be the second school in Tohoku to have such a curriculum. The Sendai Ikuei Gakuen high school also has the DP, but because it teaches portions of its classes in Japanese, TIS would be the first English-only program in Tohoku.

TIS Principal James Steward said, “Our school’s profile will rise if we become an IB-recognized school.” Mr. Jose Zapatero, a pilot with two daughters in TIS, said, “It’s wonderful that people from different countries can give our children an internationally-recognized education here in Sendai.”

Sendai is also home to Tohoku University, which employs many foreign researchers and instructors, as well as the Tohoku ILC Promotion Council that aims to bring about a next-generation particle physics facility in Tohoku. Sendai is also aiming to host a next-generation facility. In order for foreign researchers to spread their roots in Japan, they’ll need an education for their children, so hopes are rising in building an infrastructure for international education.

In TIS there are 105 students from 25 different countries. As its profile rises thanks to being able to teach the PYP and DP programs, it plans to increase its student base to 150.