Busy Bee School opens up a world of learning
It is not uncommon for children of U.S. military members or foreign contract workers to spend years in Okinawa inside the virtual bubble of their own community. This is only natural, but kids may miss opportunities to learn Japanese, experience local culture and, of course, make friends. Busy Bee School, located at Camp Foster’s Legion Gate, is a true international school and not just a school for foreigners. Students are taught in Japanese and English by qualified instructors giving students a chance to get comfortable – whether through study or new friendships – with both languages over time.
Educating host and foreign cultures together in a caring, nurturing environment makes for a win-win situation that is enhanced by the school's serious academic expectations. “Our students get along very well,” said school administrator Mr. Takuya Chinen. “Right now, our student body actually has more Japanese than foreign students – it's a good mix and everybody benefits.” According to Chinen, in addition to Japan and the U.S., the school also enrolls students from Hong Kong, Europe, Canada and other countries. The colorful milieu encourages students to also be teachers if not cultural ambassadors.
Academics and activities
Children from Pre-K through sixth grade are given a daily curriculum of language, arts, math and physical education that prepares Busy Bee kids for academic success. “By the time our students graduate, or if they move and transfer schools, they almost always test into the new school way ahead of other kids their age,” said Chinen.
The Busy Bee campus is cozy with a pair of two-story buildings encompassing 14 classrooms a multipurpose room, spacious playground and plenty of parking. Currently, there are 150 students enrolled, but there is room for many more.
Several on-campus social events – including their upcoming Halloween party – every year add fun and extended learning to the Busy Bee experience. Students can participate in extracurricular activities, such as music (piano) lessons, speech or talent contests and go off-campus for swimming lessons. Extending the off-campus educational opportunities are several field trips per year that give students a chance to experience as well as learn. “We try to schedule at least one educational field trip per month,” said Chinen.
Parents who are interested in a serious, yet fun, academic and social experience for their children should give Mr. Chinen and the Busy Bee staff a call in English or Japanese to set up an appointment. Busy Bee School runs according to the American academic calendar.