Hello Workawayers! My name is Sybrina (pronounced similar to Sabrina) and I operate a small, home-based, English-immersion international preschool and kindergarten in Yokohama, Japan. Since the start of 2019 I have been taking on the mission of renovating my school. I would love to find a Workawayer who is creative and can help us make our new school space an amazing place to learn and grow! Aside from this project, I am also continuously searching for individuals who would like to relocate to Japan to teach young children in English and are willing to stay for at least one year. For those individuals interested in working at the school on an extended Workaway position, please see under the dotted line below to learn more about what the teaching position involves.
I have purchased a permanent home for my school and from January 2019-March 2019 we will be doing lots of renovation work on the house to create a great new space of learning. I will be a bit limited in what I can do since I'll be pretty occupied with my baby (who was born in June), and I'd like to host a Workawayer who can 1) mostly help around the house (looking after my children, cooking, tidying) and 2) sometimes help my co-teachers set up the new classrooms, and decorate our new space. Therefore, individuals who are great with young kids is a must and someone with creative and artistic talents is greatly appreciated. We use several different materials, such as soil paint, fabric, paper and natural materials. I really need someone who is creative and can work independently to make our new learning spaces awesome!
This position can be filled by a short-term Workawayer, but even so, I prefer to host someone for at least 3 months.
For individuals interested in a teaching position at school:
At my school, we take inspiration from the Montessori method, Reggio-Emilia approach, and a little Waldorf-Steiner, too. As a play-based preschool, we understand that play is the most important work of the child, so in our Morning & Afternoon Work Cycles, children are allowed to play freely in order to learn about taking risks, sharing, role modeling, and resolving conflicts. Imagination is nurtured through storytelling, nursery rhymes, fingerplays and songs. Children can express themselves artistically through drawing, painting, clay modeling, and seasonal crafts. During Morning Circle, children become more confident and comfortable participating in group activities as they sing and move together. Our goal is to evoke a life-long love of learning and maintain school as a place that every child looks forward to coming to every day.
School is in session September-July, Mon-Fri from 8am-3pm; some children stay until 5pm. We currently have 22 students with varying schedules whose ages range from 1 year old to 5 years old.
We require help at school daily:
1) taking photos, assisting with art and cooking projects, setting the lunch table, attending school field trips (*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️only for long-stay Workawayers), helping to create classroom materials, helping teachers prepare for events, and general childcare which includes: changing diapers/helping children use the bathroom, and playing together with students.
2) keeping the premises tidy, taking out the trash, and possibly light garden work.
If you can play a musical instrument, know a yummy recipe, or have some other skill/talent that you can share with the class from time-to-time, that would be amazing! As a school we like to do many art projects (with kids and also for decorating the classrooms), so your creativity will be much appreciated! The school is closed on all Japanese public holidays & weekends, so you will also have the opportunity to travel at these times & do as you like.
The school is a private house with small garden located in a quiet suburb of Yokohama city. It is about 30 minutes to either Tokyo (Shibuya Station) or Yokohama city center. The ground floor of the home is used as the main classroom for the youngest class and the rooms upstairs are used for the oldest children's classrooms. My husband works at a company in Yokohama city, and I work as the head teacher of the school. Our daughter attends the school every day...she was the original student! When we're together as a family, we speak English, but Grandma & Grandpa live close by and only speak Japanese. Since school has been growing steadily, our family has moved out to our own house about a 15-minute drive away from the school.
We want to host someone who understands that this position is a very serious commitment:
1) to our family and co-teachers - so that we may be able to offer this great space of learning,
2) to the students you will be caring for who can become attached to you, and
3) their families who are entrusting you with their treasures.
This is not babysitting, rather educating, and many people will be depending on us. Therefore, we need someone who is responsible, respectful, self-sufficient, energetic and curious with a bright personality who adores children and above all can be committed for the time they promise to be with us. Please understand that since this position involves childcare, we ask our potential Workawayers to provide two character references (from past volunteer work or employers) and talk with me over Skype. Previous experience with children is a must - if you are interested in this long-term position, please do not make contact unless you have experience!
We have been hosting people from all around the world for 4 years and really enjoy the experience, so we hope to find someone who fits well with our school's educational philosophies and can stay for a long time (the longer, the better & we can provide visa sponsorship as a host/guarantor for a Working Holiday Visa). We look forward to meeting you!
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️As mentioned above, school is closed during most of August and from December 15th~January 5th. Thank you, but we do not need helpers during these times.*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
Workawayers who stay with us can:
1) Study Japanese...the school is located near an International Lounge (community center) that offers weekly Japanese lessons for any ability level for ¥300/month. ---> yes, that's right - not a typo!!
2) Learn how to cook some Japanese meals, and
3) Learn more about the Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio-Emilia teaching methods (and early childhood education in general) by working together with our experienced staff and our lovely students!
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Are you comfortable around young children?...This is a preschool & kindergarten; you will be around children everyday, so liking children is a definite must!
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Can you draw or paint?...There is always some art project going on around here - not just in the classroom with the students - but for the school itself as well, like classroom decor, murals, painting new school signs, etc.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Can you sew or are good at handcrafts?...We often make our own thematic classroom materials (see photos below of an example), most things from paper, but also many from fabric or wood.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Are you tech-savvy?...At school we use Apple iMac computers for creating everything from classroom materials to new school brochures, flyers, and invitations to our events. We use professional cameras to take photos of each child's day at school (and then upload them to our private parent's page on our website).
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Can you cook/enjoy cooking?...Each month we cook a special dish from around the world with our students! I also know how to make several Japanese meals which I can teach you how to make if you're interested.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Are you tidy?...Specifically, cleaning help needed can include: vacuuming, washing dishes, and dusting. The room offered to our Workawayer must also always be neat and presentable during school hours and I expect you to keep the kitchen and bathroom clean.
Japanese and English
Accommodation offered is a private room with a closet, an air conditioner/heater (*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️we appreciate those who can help us conserve energy!*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️), and a single futon mattress (floor bed). This room, however, is used during school hours, so we expect that you keep it tidy and school-ready when school is in session (Mon~Fri 8am-3pm). We will also provide a high-speed wi-fi internet connection. The school house is located in a nice, quiet neighborhood about 12-minutes walk from Aobadai Train station. It takes about 25 minutes on an express train to get to Shibuya, the heart of Tokyo, so this area is very convenient!
Volunteers may do anything they like in their time off. There is so much to see and do in our area, a quick Google search will yield some great recommendations. We are located close to local transport (bus & train), so it is easy to get around the city for day trips. Our favorite places for day trips are: Kamakura, Hakone, and Nikko. We are not in Yokohama City central, and not in Tokyo Central, either, but approximately a 30-minute train ride away.
We do recommend that travelers:
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️bring a plug transformer
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️bring a pocket wi-fi because you can't buy SIM cards freely at phone shops, etc. (however, recently they have started selling SIM cards at Narita Airport)
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️please make sure you have Facebook Messenger or download the application Line on your smartphone as it is a great way to keep in touch through free phone calls or messaging...everyone uses it in Japan. If you're going to be in Japan, you need it.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️please bookmark the "Japan Train Route Finder Jorudan" webpage as it is a great resource for knowing the train schedules all across Japan. (I'm sorry I am not allowed to put the URL here, so please Google it)
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week