Montessori schools exist in Japan and this list is here to help you (hopefully) find one near you. It is worth saying that there is often a wide range when it comes to “authenticity” in Montessori education, as in how much the school follows the method illustrated by Maria Montessori herself.
When searching for an authentic Montessori school, the top three things I would consider are:
- Does the school have an uninterrupted work cycle? (Usually 2-3 hours) This means no whole class transitions such as a park outing, or special classes, etc.
- Do students have free access to some sort of outdoor space? Or at the very least daily access.
- Does the classroom include the majority of the Montessori didactic materials? This includes materials for practical life, sensorial, language, and mathematics areas.
- Do the guides/teachers have some sort of training in Montessori?
If the answer was “no” to any of those questions, I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a Montessori school. However, there are some schools that are “Montessori-inspired” that may fit your needs (or budget) as well. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) the term “Montessori ” is not copyrighted so anyone can use it to describe their school. It is worthwhile to know many schools use the name “Montessori” but do not adhere to the principles, so you may want to factor that in when deciding on a school.
Most of these schools are English speaking but a few are Japanese speaking, I will be sure to note when that is the case.
There are many more Japanese Montessori schools all over Japan as well. Please see this website for more information (note these are Japanese speaking schools: https://bambi-no.net/link/
Montessori Schools in Tokyo
Montessori School of Tokyo
The only Montessori school in Tokyo with classes from age 2-15 years of age. MST is fully accredited by the International Montessori Council and employs almost exclusively, guides trained by the Association Montessori Internationale (the organization Maria Montessori started). Every class features an uninterrupted work cycle plus free access to the garden behind the school. The garden space is also used for recess time after lunch time. For the elementary school classes, the students walk to one of the few nearby parks after lunch for about 1 hour of recess before the afternoon work cycle. Classes are English-speaking although the student body is quite diverse.
Children’s House Montessori School
Children’s House Montessori School is an AMI aligned Montessori school offerring classes from age 1-6 in two separate age groups: Infant class (1-3 yrs) and Primary class (3-6 yrs) as well as after school care. They feature a 3 hour morning work cycle and have multiple outdoor spaces available to students. They also go to local parks. The infant class is on the second floor so they get lots of practice with stairs. This school has all of the traditional Montessori materials and all guides are trained by either AMI or AMS.
From the director:
“Our 3-6 environment does have a 3 hour (sometimes plus) uninterrupted work cycle, our infant program has a 2 hour cycle. All our guides (International & Japanese) are AMI trained (bar one who is AMS) and our assistants have completed the AMI assistants courses for both 0-3 & 3-6, I also hold the AMI Montessori Administrators/Director of AMI Montessori School’s Certificate along with 0-3 & 3-6. We are proud to follow an authentic AMI approach all day, everyday. Our small terrace is not so small for Tokyo and just the right size for our school. We have a beautiful flower, vegetables & fruit garden, it really is an extension of our 3-6 environment, where children can wash cloths, paint, flower arrange, compost, feed the birds, woodwork, read books under the grape vine and much more. Our other outside space has room for the infant children to push wagons, ride tricycles, balance bikes, and generally move their bodies. Also, they can water and pick the flowers, vegetables, herbs, and fruit (some both classes have grown from seed) which they use in the classroom daily. We also have a sandbox and a pool (in summer) in the garden. We visit the park everyday weather permitting.”
Find more information at: http://childrenshouse.tokyo/
Ryozan Park Preschool
Otsuka, Toshima ku
Ryozan Park Preschool in Otsuka is offering a Montessori Primary class (age 3-6) led by an AMI trained guide starting from April 2022. Ryozan Park Preschool strives to build a connected community where families can truly feel that they are part of the school. Parents are welcome to use the designated spaces within the preschool throughout the day as well as the co-working space downstairs. This type of transparency between the parents and what goes on at school is very difficult to find in Japan. The Montessori classroom will be equipped with all of the essential didactic materials to be used during the 3 hour morning work cycle. Children have access to a rooftop area for various activities as well as go to the park or other neighborhood destinations in the afternoons. The school operates under the non-profit organization, Kosodate Village, an NPO dedicated to improving the lives of women across Japan.
Words from RZP: “At Ryozan Park, we strive to help children develop independence, confidence, creativity, and compassion through our Montessori kindergarten and After School class and play-based preschool. Their passionate staff works to give your child an immersive English experience through explorations of science and math, art and music, nature, and diverse cultural topics. Ryozan Park Preschool exists to serve families, not just children. By utilising the coworking space downstairs, parents can maintain their careers while their children are cared for nearby by a diverse staff using a progressive curriculum. AT RZP, we believe that community interaction is integral to raising kids and strive to provide that for families through transparency, communal spaces, and social events.”
The Nest Montessori School
The Nest offers an infant community (14 months – 3 yrs), Primary (3-6 yrs), after school and parent and child classes. They are an English and Chinese (Mandarin) bilingual school. They closely follow the standards set by AMI. They have an uninterrupted work cycle and the traditional Montessori materials. It is close by to two parks which the children visit frequently, and there is a large glass wall for lots of natural light.
Harajuku Children’s House
Authentic Montessori school in Harajuku featuring a morning work cycle using the traditional Montessori materials. This is a Japanese-speaking school but students do not need to speak Japanese prior to entering.
T.N.G. Montessori Academy
Tsukiji and Tsukishima campuses
T.N.G. Montessori Academy offers classes for ages 0-6 in varying degrees. It is a Japanese/English bilingual environment and utilizes the traditional Montessori materials. They do not have an outdoor space, but they do take the children for walks and to parks daily even if it is raining (parents send rain gear). Here’s one parents review: “TNG had an at-home feel that was great for the first time separation after spending 18 months at home. Daily logs and lots of pictures (at the time of attendance) made me feel safe in sending my child. My son thrived in their activities and routines. He especially loved practical life work, and the school made an effort to think of interesting and approachable ways to incorporate Montessori into the kids’ everyday lives.”
St. Albans Nursery Program
St. Albans offers a Montessori program for ages 2-5 and is connected with St. Albans Anglican – Episcopal church, although all children regardless of religious background are welcome. There is a play yard connected to the classroom. More information is needed on the guides and access to the materials but many families have had positive experiences here.
Picchio Montessori School
A bilingual (English/Japanese) school in Shirokane that appears to use many of the didactic materials.
Chateau des Bambini Montessori School
Montessori school catering to both toddlers and primary aged students, Chateau des Bambini offers work in all of the Montessori areas. Some things to note are that the 3-6 year old class has a shortened work cycle (only 1.5 hrs at the start of the day) and the rest of the day is filled with various activities. Teachers are mostly trained by the North American Montessori Center. English speaking school.
ICE Kodomo No Ie
Two locations: Meguro ku and Chuo ku (different classes at each location, please see schedule)
Group of Japanese Montessori schools located across Japan. Classrooms feature the traditional learning materials although the work cycle appears to be shortened some.
Seisen International School
A Catholic international school with a Montessori kindergarten for ages 2-5 years. Incorporates both Montessori and the IB curriculum.
Albore Montessori School
Montessori school in Bunkyo ku with at least one AMI trained guide. Offers 0-3 year old classes as well as 3-6. Classrooms feature the traditional materials. However, you will notice they also do examination prep for kindergarten/elementary entrance exams so please be aware of that.
Setagaya Seibo Kindergarten
Japanese speaking Catholic kindergarten in Setagaya. Curriculum focuses on Montessori education and religious education. More info is needed on their daily schedule and education of staff but they appear to have many of the traditional materials from photos.
Montessori Schools in the Rest of Kanto
Montessori Sumiregaoka Children’s House
Run by the same administration as Harajuku Children’s House. This school features an authentic Montessori style in Japanese. Students do not need to speak Japanese prior to attending.
Treehouse Montessori School
Treehouse Montessori School serves children 1-6 years old in two classes. The school focuses on giving the students the freedom to choose their own work. They utilize the traditional Montessori materials. English-speaking school.
Saint Maur International School
Naka ku, Yokohama
Saint Maur features a Montessori kindergarten for ages 3-6. There isn’t much information on their website about the specifics of the class, so you will need to contact to inquire.
ICE Kodomo No Ie
Six locations: Saitama, Chiba, and three in Kanagawa
Full day preschool/kindergarten running 8:30AM-5:30PM. Classrooms feature the traditional materials although the work cycle may be shortened some. Japanese speaking school.
English Montessori Learning Tree
English Montessori Learning Tree is the only English Montessori school in Saitama. They offer a 1 hour and 2 hour course where children do 10 minutes of circle time and then work with Montessori materials for the rest of the class period. The 2 hour course includes a 30 minute English lesson. The teacher is trained in Montessori. This could be a good option for families looking for a shorter Montessori class or a combination of lesson-based and Montessori work. They also have a flower and vegetable garden.
Montessori Schools in Hokkaido
Sapporo Montessori Kodomo No Ie
A Montessori-inspired school featuring many of the traditional materials. This school does have a work cycle, albeit shortened, as well as many other activities. There is a great focus on outdoor time with the children often going outside to some degree twice a day if the weather is good. 0, 1, and 2 year olds are separated by age but the 3-6 class is mixed. Japanese-speaking school but there are some English classes as well.
Montessori Schools In Kansai
Marist Brothers International School
Suma ku, Kobe
Features a 3-6 Primary class with a three hour work cycle and materials in all of the areas. This is an English speaking school. You can find a lot of information on the handbook posted to their website.
Humming Montessori School
Montessori school with AMI trained guides catering to students from 2.5-6 years. Japanese speaking but seems to also have some English language. Features the traditional Montessori materials.
Kobekaisei Maria Yochien
Nishinomiya shi, Hyogo
Japanese speaking Catholic kindergarten that has integrated the Montessori method into their education since 1970. The school looks to have many of the Montessori materials but it’s worthwhile to note the work cycle seems to be cut to 90 mins.
Fukakusa Kodomo No Ie
Fushimi ku, Kyoto
Founded by the first Japanese person to receive a diploma in Montessori education, Fukakusa Kodomo No Ie has a long history of Montessori in Japan. The leaders of the school also offer a Montessori teacher training program. They appear to have a three hour work cycle and the traditional materials. Japanese-speaking school.
Kyoto Shinai Yochien
Nakagyo ku, Kyoto
Another Japanese speaking kindergarten in Kyoto with a long history of Montessori education. Catholic school that appears to have the traditional materials and a long work cycle although more research is needed to find out exactly how long it is.
Montessori Schools in Chubu
International Academy of Matsumoto
A Montessori preschool utilizing the Montessori materials as well as a three hour work cycle. English environment.
ICE Kodomo No Ie
Full day kindergarten running 8:30AM-5:30PM. Classrooms feature the traditional materials although the work cycle may be shortened some. Japanese speaking school.
What other schools do you know of? Please send them my way and I will add them to this list!
Photo credit: https://www.niche.com/blog/traditional-vs-montessori-preschool-and-kindergarten/