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On Friday, 9/25/2020, Grade 3 students presented their original stories in front of their parents.

These stories were made entirely by the students themselves within the KIS IB unit of inquiry “Who We Are” (私たちは誰なのか).  The theme of this unit is Cultures around the world tell the same basic stories in different ways (世界中の文化は、同じ物語を独特に伝承する)

Within this unit, students investigated the ways in which stories are similar regardless of which culture they are from.  Students studied folktales from Japan and Africa, as well as stories from America and Ireland.  They then studied ghost stories from China and Russia.  Based on what they learned during their inquiries, students then wrote their own stories, which they presented in front of their parents.  All students worked hard polishing their presentations and overcoming the natural pressure that comes with presenting in front of a group.

YouTube link:



国際バカロレアの認定校への旅の一環として、PYP候補校は、コンサルタント学校訪問と認定学校訪問の2回の学校訪問を受ける必要があります。 KISでは、7月に1回目のコンサルタント学校訪問を受けました。


熊本インターナショナルスクール小学部は国際バカロレア(IB)のPYP候補校*です。現在、IBワールドスクールの認定校になるための調整を進めています。IBワールドスクールは、チャレンジに満ちた優れた国際教育を提供するために尽力する、という共通の理念をもっています。*国際バカロレア機構に認定を受けた学校のみが、IBの4つのプログラムである、初等教育プログラム(PYP:Primary Years Programme)、中等教育プログラム(MYP:Middle Years Programme)、ディプロマプログラム(DP)、キャリア関連プログラム(CP:Career-related Programme)を提供することができます。



As we announced last November, KIS is currently a candidate school for the IB Primary Years Program (PYP). During our candidacy, we have begun our trial implementation of the PYP curriculum, and despite the challenges created by Covid-19, things are proceeding apace.

As part of the journey to accreditation, PYP candidate schools are required to schedule two on-site visits: the consultant visit and the on-site verification visit. KIS had the first of these two on-site visits in July, and we continue our work preparing for the second.

Currently, we anticipate having our full on-site verification visit sometime in the early part of 2021.


Kumamoto International School is a candidate school* for the PYP and is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. IB World Schools share a common philosophy – a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education – that we believe is important for our students.
*Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme (DP), or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted. For further information about the IB and its programmes visit



During the summer break, KIS provides summer school for all students who wish to attend.  This year, almost 3/4 of students are coming to KIS during summer break.  Because the development of good study habits and routines are so critical to students’s success, KIS works to provide a fun, yet structured, environment conducive to student growth even during the summer.  Teachers ensure that students have ample time to relax and play with their friends, but critically important daily study routines are are also maintained.

KIS assigns homework for each day of the summer semester; each day in the morning, all students study together doing their summer homework.  After lunch, all students are free to play however they wish – in the hall, with toys, making crafts, reading, etc.  Students have a great time studying and playing with their friends, and the structure and balance of the day means that students’s academic growth continues during the summer break.

KISでは、夏休みの間、参加を希望するすべての児童に夏の学童保育を提供しています。 今年の夏休みは、全校児童のほぼ3/4が夏の学童保育に参加しています。成功の一つの大きなカギは、優れた学習習慣を日常的に身に付ける事です。なので、夏休みの間でも児童の成長につながるよう、楽しくかつ構成された学習環境を提供するよう努めています。 勿論、児童が友達とたっぷり遊べる時間も確保できるようにしますが、非常に重要な毎日の学習習慣も維持するよう努めています。
夏休み中は、全校児童に、毎日宿題を割り当て出します。夏の学童保育に参加している児童は、午前中は、宿題をみんなで一緒にします。 昼食後は、自由に遊ぶ時間となります。多目的ホールで体を動かして遊んだり、おもちゃや工作、読書などを楽しみます。この様に、友達と一緒に勉強したり遊んだりする、とても楽しい時間を過ごしますが、児童の学力向上は夏休みの間も続きます。


It is wonderful to finally have a hall in the newly finished school expansion building. The space is located directly adjacent to the Grade 1 and Grade 2 classrooms to allow teachers to supervise students while they use the hall space during breaks and after lunch. In addition to during PE class, students use the hall space in numerous ways throughout the day to play and run during the 10 minute breaks between classes. Favorite games are currently basketball and dodgeball, and many students have gotten much better at throwing balls overhand and at dribbling. In addition, the PE teacher, Yamada Sensei is taking advantage of the new PE equipment to help students build strength and coordination via circuit training during PE class.

3年生探究の単元:Mass media influences us in a variety of ways マス・メディアは様々な手段をもってして我々に影響を与える

Grade 3 students are currently studying their unit of inquiry How We Express Ourselves.  The inquiry theme is Mass media influences us in a variety of ways (マス・メディアは様々な手段をもってして我々に影響を与える。)

Students have been investigating the ways in which advertisers influence consumers to buy their products.  Students have also been investigating the ways in which not all products are actually good for the consumer.  Students created their own ads, and then presented them to the class, explaining why and how they made the ad in the way they did.


Grade 3 students recently wrote poems in Kokugo class…


The Coronavirus pandemic this year has placed unprecedented challenges on schools in Japan and around the world. Following the direction of the Kumamoto Board of Education, KIS moved to teaching all grades online in April and May. Although we were able to offer Hearth Club (Gakudo Hoiku) for certain students, the majority of our pupils took classes at home via Zoom each day. KIS offered our English and Japanese curriculum online in a differentiated format similar to that used during regular classes.

The beginning of the school year is a critical time for all students, but it is especially so for new Grade 1 students. KIS wanted to try to provide students with as regular a life and education as possible during this difficult period, and thus offered daily online classes for all grades. Online learning is difficult for younger students because they struggle with focus and are still working on mastering basic reading and writing skills which can only be practiced properly with real pencils and paper. Working within this limitation, we used a balanced approach of most instruction taking place online, but homework assigned digitally and, in the case of Kokugo, via printed materials that were mailed to all students. All students were given daily homework assignments which they completed and then uploaded digitally for review by teachers.

One of the challenges of teaching online is providing effective feedback to students — mistakes that are not corrected can quickly become bad habits that are hard to break. Further, it is simply quite challenging to provide effective, targeted feedback for students when they are not in the same physical space as the teacher. KIS teachers worked hard to overcome the limitations of virtual instruction using screen share within Zoom and small group differentiated instruction. By displaying curriculum materials via screen share and writing directly onto them, we were able to provide engaging and effective feedback in most cases. In addition, staff followed up with further comments on the homework uploaded by the students each day.

We returned to full regular classes on Monday, June 1st, and it is wonderful to have all students back in the classroom (we can finally take full advantage of the new building!). It is interesting to realize, however, that staff learned many things about being more effective instructors during this time.

In retrospect, although online teaching was challenging and placed a large burden on parents at first (particularly in Grade 1), everyone got used to the virtual teaching format quickly and worked hard to maximize the possibilities for online education. It did take a few weeks of constant tweaking, but in the end, I was extremely proud of how hard students, parents, and staff worked during this time and the resulting quality of our classes. Everyone rose to the challenge posed by online teaching, and while I hope that we do not have to return to teaching virtually, I know that we will be ready if it becomes necessary to do so again in the future.