Here is a list of frequently asked questions about Tsukuba International School. If you have a question about our school and you don’t see the answer here, please feel free to contact us.
An international school is a school that offers an international curriculum (or a curriculum that is different from that of the host country) and that is open to students of all nationalities. Many international schools use English as their language of instruction, but some schools are bilingual, or use languages other than English.
No, Tsukuba International School is religiously neutral and we welcome students from all races, religions, and cultures.
This is our pledge of non-discrimination:
Tsukuba International School is an equal opportunity educator and employer. We will not discriminate against any student, prospective student, employee, or job applicant on the basis of race, color, gender, nationality, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We will take measures to ensure against such discrimination in all of our services and practices.
Yes, our full-time core teachers are licensed to teach at the elementary and/or secondary high level (as defined in their home countries). Our current teachers are from Australia, Canada, India, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The school is a non-profit educational organization (学校法人, gakkou houjin) and is funded primarily by the tuition paid by the parents along with any donations we are able to obtain through our "Annual Giving" campaigns.
TIS is the only international elementary and junior high school in Ibaraki that offers a curriculum designed and implemented by certified teachers.
We are also the only IB World School in Ibaraki authorized to offer the Primary Years Programme and the Middle Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate.
In addition, we are the only international school in Ibaraki that is registered as a school corporation (学校法人) and as a member of the Japan Council of International Schools (JCIS).
You can see a list of the highest quality international schools in Japan on the JCIS website.
There are many reasons why parents might want to send their children to an international school.
Parents need to think very carefully about the education that they provide for their children. It is important for the values of the parents to match the values of the school. Therefore, the most important reason for parents to send their children to an international school (or to any particular school) is because the school is offering a program that is in line with the parents' own values and hopes for their children. At Tsukuba International School, our program focuses on developing the creativity, independence, and critical thinking skills that will allow our students to adapt to many different people and situations in the world. This focus is what some parents are hoping for in a school, and will, therefore, lead them to choose an international school.
Also, some international families may prefer to send their child to an international school if they need to be able to communicate in English with the teachers and staff of their child's school.
In addition, some international schools, such as TIS, have small class sizes, which is conducive to developing a vibrant learning community.
Finally, for parents who are planning to stay in Japan for a short time (e.g. one or two years or less), it may be difficult for their children to adjust to the Japanese school environment and keep up with their studies. In cases like this, where parents have concerns about their children keeping up with their cohorts back home (in cases where they study in English in their home country), an international school like TIS can be a good option.
When our school community came together to define our new school mission statement in February 2017, we came up with the following words to describe our values and hopes for our students.
TIS currently offers the following:
- A preschool curriculum (ages 3 to 5) in line with the Primary Years Programme (PYP) of the International Baccalaureate (IB).
- An elementary curriculum, covering grades 1 through 5 (ages 6 to 11) in line with the Primary Years Programme (PYP) of the International Baccalaureate (IB).
- A junior high (middle school) curriculum covering grades 6 through 10 (ages 12 to 16) in line with the Middle Years Programme (MYP) of the International Baccalaureate (IB).
We are planning to offer Grades 11 and 12 in the near future. Please watch this website for details.
Tsukuba International School is an IB World School authorized to offer the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and the Middle Years Programme (MYP) of the International Baccalaureate, so our curriculum is aligned with the PYP and MYP. We use curricular documents from Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom to inform our curricular choices.
Our regular school year goes from August to June, and this is referred to as the Regular Program. The Headstart Program goes from April to June (three months) and exists to give incoming students a chance to study intensive English before starting the school year in August.
In Japan, public schools go from April to March, so parents sometimes want their children to start studying at our school from April instead of August. The Headstart Program provides us with a way to accept students who are transferring from Japanese schools and gives them a chance to get used to our school before starting our school year in August. Students in the Headstart Program follow the same curriculum as those in the Regular Program.
Students who complete the Headstart Program in June are automatically accepted into the Regular Program from August.
Tsukuba International School is an IB World school that is authorized to offer the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and the Middle Years Programme (MYP). The PYP is for students from pre-kindergarten (age 3) to Grade 5. The MYP is for students from Grade 6 to Grade 10.
No, we are not an English conversation school. We offer a complete curriculum, teaching all regular subjects, for full-time elementary and junior high school students. All classes are taught in English.
Japanese is also offered as a language class.
We welcome students from all cultural backgrounds including Japanese, as long as they can communicate in English and they have a clear need to be educated in English (e.g. they have returned from a stay abroad, or their family is planning to move overseas). Tsukuba International School is an equal opportunity educator. We will not discriminate against any student or prospective student on the basis of race, color, gender, nationality, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Yes, you can enroll your child in April. We have a Headstart Program that runs from April to June. These three months give students a chance to get used to the school environment and give non-native English speakers the opportunity to develop their English language skills before the school year starts up again in August. The Headstart Program is available to all students who are eligible for the elementary school and junior high school. Please contact us for details.
In fact, students can enroll at any time during the year if there is space in the grade. (We only accept a maximum of 20 students per grade.) Please contact us to ask about specific grades.
Students entering the preschool must be 3 years old by December 31 of the current school year in order to be eligible for admission into the Pre-Kindergarten 1 class. (They must also have completed their toilet training by the time of entry.)
Students entering the elementary school must be 6 years old by December 31 of the current school year in order to be eligible for admission into Grade 1.
Age requirements may be waived for transfer students who have completed at least one term of schooling elsewhere.
Please see our list of eligibility requirements for more information.
Students at TIS are immersed in English and under ideal circumstances can be brought up to a high level of fluency by the time they graduate. However, for non-native English speakers, we require basic English ability in the younger grades, with increasingly higher expectations for older grades. In addition, at least one parent must be willing and able to communicate with the school in English.
The school day starts at 8:30 am (8:45 am in the pre-kindergarten) and finishes at 2:00 pm in the pre-kindergarten grades, 3:05 pm in the elementary school (kindergarten to Grade 5) and at 4:05 pm at the junior high school (Grade 6 to 10).
The school year starts in late August and finishes in June. Please have a look at our school calendar for more details.
The students' weekly schedules can be downloaded from this website.
No, we do not provide a school lunch. Students bring packed lunches every day.
Yes, we do. Students can be picked up from several locations in and near Tsukuba.
Occasionally we run events that are open to the local community; however, the majority of our programs are for current, full-time students enrolled in our school.
We only offer full-time enrollment, so we welcome any Japanese students whose parents want them to pursue an English-language education on a full-time basis.
We do not offer after-school English programs for students who are not studying at TIS full-time.
Many graduates from TIS have gone on to international junior high and high schools in Japan and then on to universities abroad. Other students have continued in Japanese schools after TIS, and still others have integrated back into schools in their home countries.
Your child’s options will depend on his/her English language ability, Japanese ability, ambition, willingness to take tests (especially if returning to Japanese schools), and a variety of other factors. Graduate options are considered on a case-by-case basis, so it is important to communicate with your child’s teacher about your child’s future as early in his/her academic career as possible.
(Please note that we plan to offer Grades 11 and 12 in the near future, so students will be then able to continue their education from elementary school to high school at Tsukuba International School.)
Please see our jobs page for information about working at Tsukuba International School.
Please note that in order to apply for a teaching position, you must possess a degree in education with a specialization in early childhood, primary, or secondary education, and the degree must have been obtained in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States. A degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) is not a sufficient qualification for teaching core subjects at the elementary or junior high level.
Yes. We welcome qualified people who are interested in acting as teachers’ aides in the classrooms. Volunteers must be willing to commit to a long-term arrangement (e.g. coming in once a week for a full day for the whole school year). If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the school and explain in detail how your skills and experiences will be an asset to our programmes.