Moving to a big international school environment in a foreign country can be quite daunting. If you are looking for a smaller, more intimate school environment for your child, but don’t want to compromise on facilities, The Japanese International School Hong Kong (JIS) may be the answer.
About the school
JIS is a dual-stream school in Tai Po. There are around 440 students in its Japanese stream and just 170 in its international stream – the latter catering to English speakers aged four to 11 years. International section principal Simon Walton says the “delightfully small” size of the stream means it can offer the “personal touch”, though not at the expense of facilities and educational opportunities. “The school is small by Hong Kong standards,” he says.
“This is sometimes commented on, but we view it as a major advantage, not a disadvantage, as we are lucky enough to be housed in a large shared facility and have the resources and equipment of a school many times our size, while retaining the core of a small ‘family’ school.”
Resources and facilities
The school’s resources include the JIS swimming pools, an astroturf pitch, specialist facility classrooms and large homeroom classrooms. “The two sections of the school share the campus with equal priority and access,” Simon emphasises.
The fully accredited IB World School also takes advantage of its Tai Po location. “By being small, we can be incredibly flexible – one bus can take a year group to any field trip, exhibition, camp or environmental learning opportunity. We bring the outdoors in and the inside out as often as we can – be it the forests of Tai Po Kau or the urban highlights of a dynamic city such as Hong Kong.”
Simon says there has been a common misconception that learning Japanese is mandatory in the school’s international stream, which has students of almost 30 nationalities – and that some prospective parents are surprised this isn’t the case.
“Students in that stream are taught in English and do not need to study Japanese as their additional language, as Mandarin is also offered,” he says. “The staff of the international section are recruited on a very global basis to reflect the dynamic nature of a positive international education.”
Simon explains that the school is founded on three core values of respect, community and kindness, which permeates everything they do. “It’s our sense of community, relationships and shared purpose that best describes the school,” he says. “There are high levels of mutual respect within the school community, which allow us to be creative, innovative and supportive.
“As a small school, we have big achievements – in curriculum design, teaching and learning, sport, drama productions and environmental commitment. We dream and act beyond our size to create opportunities for our students and community.”
See more in our Schools section
This article first appeared in the December/January 2018/19 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.