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May 06, 2005

Nation's First English-Immersion KK Elem. School Opens

The country's first elementary school to teach entirely in English and to be run as a kabushiki kaisha (stock-controlled corporation) opened recently, according to the Mainichi Shimbun web site. LCA International School opened in the Kanagawa Prefecture city of Sagamihara in April. All classes other than Japanese are taught in English - the school has five teachers from the US, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. Arithmetic classes use an English translation of an education ministry-approved textbook, while all other texts are imported from the US and Australia. School facilities don't yet meet the legal requirements for official government recognition, but graduates of the school will be able to enter middle school. Currently there are students in the first three grades, 32 in first grade - who are divided into three classes - 4 in second and just 3 in third.

Principal Norio Yamaguchi established LCA as a company in 1984, focusing on outdoor activities and studies. He set up the LCA kindergarten in 2000, and most of the students at the new school are graduates. Some students have very little English ability, so the use of Japanese is not prohibited during school hours. But students are strongly encouraged to use only English in the classroom.
Mainichi Shimbun article (Japanese)

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