Why did you choose YIS?
We were considering two schools for our daughter. We visited both. The atmosphere at YIS felt different than the other school, and our daughter felt relaxed on our tour of YIS. My wife also liked the school very much. Initially, there was no space in kindergarten for our daughter, but one opened up a few weeks later. We were quite relieved, of course.
It was difficult for us to leave Turkey because of the strong community ties we have in our neighbor there. But the school helped us connect with the parent community with a mentor family who help us get used to Japan. And, the first PTSA coffee morning also helped us meet people and understand what the school community is about.
How important was selecting an IB school, and what specifically appeals to you about the IB Program?
Our daughter went to an international school in Turkey, and my wife spent time overseas when she was a student, so a school that is internationally minded in character and curriculum was very important to us. We really like the way our daughter has been able to communicate how her skills help her and what she can do with those skills. The Student-led Conferences, in which parents are shown by their child what the child does in class, show us how are daughter is learning; we see her ability to communicate has improved by more than what we had imagined it would.
Please describe a memorable moment from your time at YIS and how that has had an impact on you and your family?
Aside from the Student-led Conferences, a comment by the Chairperson of the PTSA at the first coffee morning made an impression on me. She said that the library is the heart of the school. I am not used to having a large library at a school, so I was intrigued by why the library was so popular. I now see why. Our daughter loves to read; she has a small library in her room. Her books took up the most space in our luggage when we moved to Japan. We come to the library almost everyday to find books. We both love the atmosphere in the library because of the way the librarians speak to the students. The sense of freedom created by the conversation in the library makes us feel comfortable and relaxed. Our daughter gets novel recommendations for books to read from Ms. Katy and Ms. Viki because they get to know us through our conversations. We read together as a family regularly because of our daughter's interest in books and connection to the library.
Do you participate in activities or get together with other YIS parents? If so, can you tell us about some of the things you’ve enjoyed?
I volunteer at the library regularly. I get to understand what the students are like, what teachers are like, and I can find books I think my daughter will like. We also come to the Maker Saturdays as a family to get to know other families. I participated in the PTSA beach clean-up and helped organize food for the Chiku Center. Outside of school, we've also had picnics with families we know. Our daughter is in an all-Japanese ballet class in the community, and I take tennis lessons.
Do you live in Tokyo or Yokohama? How is the commute for your children?
We live in Yokohama. It's less crowded and close to school. We walked from the houses we were considering moving into to school to get an idea of the neighborhoods. We walk or ride our bicycles to school.
What sort of advice would you give to other parents who are considering YIS?
We love the neighborhood the school is in. We made an effort to speak to the Japanese people in the neighborhood, and they were very helpful with our requests and questions. We didn't have any problems in adapting to the culture and daily customs here. I think if you put in some effort to break the ice, you'll be well rewarded.