History and Philosophy
Mitsui Gardens International Preschool is the result of a response that child care was needed by the American Embassy community in Tokyo. It has grown from a small day care facility with one teacher and an assistant to a full-fledged international preschool. Our Mitsui Gardens International Preschool’s philosophy, teachers, parents, and curriculum support a developmental, dramatic play based approach to learning, which is incorporated in our daily activities and schedules. We provide challenging activities covering many topics and imbed the fundamentals they need in order to, “develop their learning abilities-that is their capacity to think clearly and creatively, plan and implement their plans and communicate their understanding in a variety of ways. “(Lee Vygotsky Psychologist) If they have these skills they will be eager learners in elementary school and beyond in all subject areas. We offer our children many opportunities to construct their own knowledge about their world. As early childhood educators we know from research and experience that “Children contribute to their own development and learning as they strive to make meaning out of their daily experiences in the home, the early childhood program and the community. Principles of developmentally appropriate practice are based on several prominent theories that view intellectual development from a constructivist, interactive perspective. (Dewey 1916; Piaget 1952; Vygotsky 1978; DeVries & Kohlbery 1990; Rogoff 1990; Gardner 1991; Kamii & Ewing 1996).”
Each day’s schedule is carefully planned with an emphasis on exploration and process, questioning and discovering. Activities are designed to foster social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and ethical growth along developmental continuums. Classrooms are divided into areas with developmentally appropriate activities available for a single child or small groups of children to enjoy. Our older children also work on projects in groups or individually in which they learn about topics of interest to them. Our teachers are nurturers and facilitators, who help children plan, select, and explore materials in ways, which help them develop study skills which further their readiness to move easily and confidently into kindergarten.