Calling All Artists, Teachers, Musicians & Builders to help a preschool in Yokohama, Japan



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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    Short & Long Stays Available

    *️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️UPDATE 07/2021: The renovation work at school is almost complete! There is one more classroom left to finish, and I have been doing little by little together with my father-in-law and amazing Workaway volunteers! Anyone with building/construction skills or artistic talents as well as those individuals who are more interested in working with young children are always welcome to reach out or send their CV!

    At the moment, I am in need of someone who can help around school with tasks such as:
    ~painting a mural in the classrooms/help with decorating classrooms
    ~creating a tile mosaic in the children's bathroom
    ~several building projects (kid's furniture, shelving, etc)
    ~photo sorting, uploading to website
    ~creating documents on Google Sheets and Google Docs
    ~making thematic educational materials (see photos below)


    Hello Workawayers! My name is Sybrina (pronounced similar to Sabrina) and I operate a small, play-based, English-immersion international preschool & kindergarten in Yokohama, Japan. Since the start of 2019 I have purchased a permanent home for the school and have since been completely renovating it. The entire first floor and a good portion of the second floor is now complete, with one classroom left to go! I'd love to find a Workawayer who is creative and can help us make our school spaces 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 full school year. For those individuals interested in working at the school on an extended Workaway position, please see further down below under the dotted line to learn more about what the teaching position involves.

    I have found a permanent home for my school and have been doing extensive renovation work to make our new space awe-inspiring for our students. I am limited with what I can do since I have my two children (who are 8 and 3 years old), and I'd like to host a Workawayer who can do any of the following:
    1) help around my family home - looking after my two children, doing laundry, cleaning & tidying, possibly cooking, or
    2) help at school - decorating classrooms, making educational materials, help with administration tasks using google docs/sheets & Apple Pages/Numbers
    3) help with construction - painting, building shelves, assembling furniture, general handyman work

    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 (plaster), wood, fabric, clay, 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 2 weeks.

    For individuals interested in working directly with the children 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-June (Summer Session on in July & August), Mon-Fri from 8am-3pm. There are 20 students whose ages range from 1 year to 6 years old.
    The tasks we require help with daily can include:
    1) taking photos, assisting with art and cooking projects, setting the lunch table, attending school field trips (for long-stay Workawayers only), helping to create classroom materials, helping teachers prepare for events, and general childcare which includes: changing diapers/helping children use the bathroom, & playing together with students.
    2) keeping the premises tidy, taking out the trash, & 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 by train to either Tokyo (Shibuya Station) or Yokohama city center. The ground floor of the home is used as the main classrooms for the youngest class and the space upstairs (once complete) will be used for the 3-6 year old classroom. My husband works at a company in Yokohama city, and I work as the head teacher of the school. Our oldest daughter attends the school every day...she was the original student!...and now our youngest has begun to attend, too. As a family we speak English together, but we see Jiji & Baba often, and they 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 depend on us. Therefore, we need someone who is responsible, respectful, self-sufficient, and energetic with a bright personality who adores children above all, and can be committed for the entire time they promise to be with us. Please understand that since this position involves childcare, we ask our potential Workawayers to be able to:
    1) commit to at least one full school year,
    2) provide a background check from your local authority (translated to English),
    3) provide two character references (from past employers or volunteer work with children), and
    4) have a chat with me over facebook/Skype video chat

    VISA SPONSORSHIP: For those people that come from eligible countries, I can be your sponsor/guarantor for a Working Holiday Visa. I cannot sponsor a Work Visa, especially not for someone I have never met in person or seen working with my students. Please understand this, and please do not ask me to sponsor you. (I apologize if this seems a little cold, but I get asked this ALL the time).

    We have been hosting people from all around the world for 5 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.
    We look forward to meeting you!

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Babysitting and creative play
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    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 (I know how to cook basic meals like miso soup, yakisoba, gyouza, okonomiyaki, so we can cook together), 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!

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help


    *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Are you comfortable around young children?...This involves work in a preschool & kindergarten and our family has two kids. 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 high quality 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?...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 tidy and I expect you to keep the kitchen and bathroom clean.

    Despite the many points listed above, I should also emphasize that the daily schedule is flexible, and besides being clean & tidy, any one person is not expected do be able to do everything listed in the points above. Depending on your talents and what kind of help the school needs at the time, the daily schedule could be from 2 hours to the maximum 5 per day, and all Japanese public holidays (and other days when school is closed) are off. Workawayers will not be expected to work during those holidays/closings, so the overall workload is very light.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Japanese: Fluent

    This host offers a language exchange
    I have Polish and German heritage, and know American Sign Language (ASL). Many of my students are from Germany, so I would love to learn German, and improve in French, Spanish, and Russian.

  • Accommodation


    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 (Japanese floor mattress). 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!

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    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 from each.

    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)

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    Both our home and the school house have hi-speed Wi-fi. Of course Workawayers are free to do their online work in their spare time.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week, flexible schedule

Host ref number: 189226328271