Introducing Koka Gakuen Elementary School

Koka Gakuen Elementary School is a catholic elementary school located in the western Tokyo suburb of Chofu. Home to two classes, from first to sixth grade, the school is linked to the Society of Mary, also known as the Marianists – a 200 year old Catholic religious congregation, founded in France by William Joseph Chaminade. 

Established in 1950, Koka Gakuen has been striving to provide students with a faith-based diversified Catholic education. Adopting a holistic approach to teaching and learning, the school gives each student a comprehensive platform to succeed and grow as a student. 

Principal’s Message

Ashiji Katagiri Principal at Koka Gakuen Elementary School

Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  John 15:12 (New International Version)

Koka Gakuen is a proud member of the Society Of Mary, a Catholic organization founded by the inspirational William Joseph Chaminade in 1816. The Society OfMary was brought to Asia by Adele de Batz de Trenquelleon, and has since become a thriving institution throughout the world. Koka Gakuen is one of five schools in Japan that has the pleasure of belonging to the Society Of Mary organization. As part of this group, Koka Gakuen has five goals in the schoolcommunity: 

1.Teaching about the spirit of Catholicism  

2.Developing each student into a high quality person 

3.Providing support and a family spirit amongst the school community 

4.Fostering a spirit of service, justice and peace within each student 

5.Teaching about how to adapt to change

We, at Koka Gakuen, take these goals seriously and we are dedicated to achieving these for the benefit of each student that is entrusted in our care. We are committed to helping students to be the best version of themselves and move toward a bright future. The world is changing at a rapid pace, as is Japanese society. In some ways, the world is becoming a more selfish place, and we want to instill in our students the spirit to resist this and develop an altruistic attitude. 

As each student becomes an adult, they may face uncertain times, difficulties and challenges. We believe that having a Catholic education as a foundation will assist them to navigate their way through these tough times. The basis for our confidence in this is taken from the Holy Bible. 

Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  John 15:12

For all the students studying at Koka Gakuen, we want them to know that God loves each and every one of them. We want them to know that God’s love for them is big and unlimited. As is written above in John Chapter 15 Verse 12, because God loves us so much, we should also love others in the same way. It is our wish to instill this belief in our students and for this notion to become the foundation of what they do and how they live their lives.

We are committed to developing high quality individuals who live with this spirit in their heart.

As we look to the future, we will work towards our goals in this school each and every day. 

Koka Gakuen Elementary School Principal, Ashiji Katagiri 

Our goals for each student at Koka Gakuen

1.To develop children who listen and pray to God; 

We hope to encourage each student to find space in their heart for God, to listen to Him and to pray regularly. We hope that each student will continue on their journey with God and will find their own confidence to pursue this journey.  

2.To develop children who will develop themselves 

We hope for each student to find ways to challenge, to grow and to continually develop themselves personally. We hope that by using God’s love they will find the power to do this. 

3.To develop children who will live for others 

We hope that each student, inspired by God’s love for us, will find opportunities in their own life to help other people. To do this, they will need to develop strong communication skills and a sense of empathy for others.  

At Koka Gakuen, we strongly believe that religious studies form a strong foundation for each student’s life.  

The Academic approach

Elementary school is an incredibly important time in a student’s academic development. It provides the solid foundation upon which important structures will be placed on at a later time. Elementary school is the time to build their power, their variety of experiences and their confidence. 

As students move into the senior grades of elementary school, the emphasis is on the students to find their own path and to find their own personal meaning in the studies that they are undertaking. 

Providing each student with a varied and interesting academic experience is something that is valued greatly at Koka Gakuen. To achieve this, we have a dedicated team of specialist teachers to provide instruction in – 

  • English
  • Science
  • Music
  • Art
  • Physical Education

Sub Homeroom Teachers: Each class at Koka Gakuen is assigned a sub homeroom teacher. The sub homeroom teacher, as well as supporting the homeroom teacher, provides individual support and care for each student. Present during each morning and afternoon meeting, the sub homeroom teacher is able to develop a strong rapport with the class.  

Team Teaching: Koka Gakuen values the importance of team teaching as part of a holistic academic approach. Team teaching gives teachers the opportunity to give extra support and care during regular class times for students who require it. Team teaching (TT) is regularly used for teaching math (3rd-6th grade) and English (1st-6th grade). 

The Faith-based approach

As member of the Marianist organization, Koka Gakuen takes its role as a faith-based educator seriously and with a sense of purpose and enthusiasm. Conducting weekly religion classes as part of each grade’s schedule, the students become increasingly familiar with bible verses and the Catholic Church’s customs, practices and values.  

Moreover, students have several opportunities throughout the year to attend Mass in the school’s chapel, including for major Catholic events such as Easter and Christmas. Spending this sacred time in the chapel, with a visiting Father, becomes a memorable part of the school year for all students. 

The International Approach

Beginning in first grade and continuing until the end of sixth grade, students have three English classes per week. A comprehensive and thorough approach is undertaken for these three classes, as reading, writing, speaking, listening and presenting are all part of the school’s curriculum. Using the Smile textbooks as a base, students are provided with a wide variety of activities during lessons. An increasing focus on ICT, has seen the students make English presentations and projects, and they have developed confidence in this area. 

Several special events throughout the year further supports each student’s growth in English. Some of these events include the annual Recitation Contest, visiting theatre companies, summer English activities and collaborative events with other Catholic elementary schools. 

Koka Gakuen Yearly Schedule

April  Easter Party, 1st Graders’ Welcome Party, Club Activities commence 

May  Field Trip 

June  Swimming School, Sports Day 

July  Talent Show, Term One concludes 

September  Open School, Senior School School Camp 

October  Middle School Camp, Junior School Sleepover 

November  Remembrance Mass, English Recitation Contest,  

December  Music Concert (every 2nd year), Christmas Mass, Term Two Concludes 

January  Karuta Tournament 

February  Club Competition, Catholic Schools Music Concert, Art Festival (every 2nd year) 

March  6th Grade Graduation Trip, 6th Grade Farewell Party, Graduation Day

Koka Gakuen Daily Schedule

8:20~ Students begin arriving at school 

9:00~ Morning homeroom meeting begins 

9:15-9:55 – Period 1

10:00-10:40 – Period 2

10:40-10:55 – 20 minute recess 

11:00-11:40 – Period 3 

11:45-12:25 – Period 4 

12:25-12:45 – Lunch in the classroom 

12:45-13:10 – Outdoor play time 

13:15-13:55 – Period 5 

14:40 – Period 6 

14:55 – Final homeroom meeting 

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