Jinseki International School takes learning to another level
Jinseki International School (JINIS) is set to offer an educational experience unlike any other in Japan.
It is a European-style boarding school, for children in grades one to six, located in the beautiful town of Jinseki Kogen in Hiroshima Prefecture. JINIS’s mission is to provide an entirely bilingual curriculum that gives students the opportunity to develop strong Japanese language skills, while preparing them to move on to the world’s top boarding schools.
The Canadian spoke with two of the school’s senior advisors — Michael Rob Gray and John Baugh — about JINIS’s stunning natural surroundings, the philosophy behind the school, and the considerable benefits that young learners can gain from a boarding school education.
“JINIS is a new school that draws upon the experience of two education advisors and mentors,” explained Baugh, who is currently executive director of St. Andrew’s School in Kenya and who ran the Dragon School, Oxford, for 17 years. He and Gray, who has been headmaster of the prestigious Swiss boarding school Institut Le Rosey since 2002, have provided guidance that has been instrumental in the school’s development.
When asked about JINIS’s picturesque location, Gray explained: “It is conducive to a different type of learning. It takes children out of their normal environment to somewhere they can feel safe, and where they can learn in different ways. They can learn about traditional aspects of Japanese culture, and also about cultures across the world. So, I think that is rather special.”
Baugh pointed out that personal growth and understanding are just as important as academic achievement at JINIS. “In a boarding school, you have to live with people. You cannot disappear at the end of the day. You very quickly learn to get on with everyone and discover that — in spite of our differences — we need to find empathy, compassion, understanding, tolerance and forgiveness in our dealings with everyone. It is these qualities that will be crucial to us as we grow up in a multicultural world.”
Gray remarked on the noticeable progress students make while studying at boarding school. “You become a part of a group, and you know how to do things yourself. So, if you have a problem, you don’t go to mummy and daddy to solve it.”
The forging of relationships is also key. “There is the group mentality as well,” he said. “The students are together, they belong to this community and they have to learn to live together.”
JINIS offers many benefits, and a very important one, Baugh said, is individual attention. By keeping class sizes small compared with day schools, JINIS staff can spend much more time with their students. “This can help teachers to engage and encourage each individual in and out of the classroom,” he explained.
“Just as staff investment may be higher, this is also true of facilities and resources,” he added. “Boarding schools are often set in the countryside, amidst extensive grounds, with top-class facilities such as well-stocked libraries, sports fields and science, art and music facilities. These may be available to students outside of the school day, too, so that they can enjoy personal hobbies in their own time.”
And JINIS is not just appealing to Japanese students and parents, Gray said. “I think, if you’re an expat in Japan, one of the things you would like would be for your children to learn to speak Japanese — what a great advantage. At the same time, you don’t want them to forget their English or to be completely out of the English system. At JINIS, you can have both.”
Scheduled to open in 2020, JINIS is set to become qualified for, and dedicated to, educating elementary school children in preparation for their future lives as truly global citizens. As Baugh concluded, “I am in no doubt that Jinseki International School will be a beacon of learning — real learning — for young people in Japan and beyond.”
JINIS is inviting families to come and see the campus, get a feel for the beautiful surroundings of Jinseki Kogen and gain a deeper understanding of the school’s educational philosophy. Campus visits can be arranged on August 24, September 21–23 and October 5 and 6.
For more details, visit jinsekikogen.co.jp