A Japanese-immersion preschool has opened its doors in the oldest school building in B.C. – the historic Craigflower Schoolhouse.
Noting that early education is essential for bilingual education for children, the first-of-its-kind program in Victoria boasts teachers who are Japanese natives and language learning materials all from Japan.
Ayako Inoue, a Japanese/English educator who worked at Victoria Japanese Heritage Language School, wanted to make a Japanese preschool for her son when he became three. She asked fellow teacher Yuri Pomeroy if she was interested in partnering on it and Pomeroy quickly agreed.
The hunt for a suitable space was difficult but after looking for eight months an ad caught Inoue’s eye.
The Hallmark Heritage Society advertised that the Craigflower Schoolhouse was available for rent. Inoue and Pomeroy fell in love with the building, setting and the history behind the building.
They submitted a proposal and got approval, launching JLC Victoria Japanese Preschool and opening its doors in October 2018.
“I was really happy to find this building,” said Inoue. “The Japanese community is very welcoming of this program. The parents are so happy. Some have been waiting for this for a long time.”
A morning class, with a policy of only communicating in Japanese, is currently running. An afternoon class is planned for a September start that will have a more flexible approach with both Japanese and English, depending on the individual level of Japanese.
The school also offers Japanese summer programs for Kindergarten to Grade 5 students.
Learn more about the school at www.jlcvictoria.com/home-e.
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