About Imagine

About Us

Imagine opened in July, 2003 as Imagine Child Development Center. Our founder, Hiroki Kinoshita, was inspired to open an early childhood education center that was unique in Japan. He was impressed by the quality of overseas childcare and the educational possibilities for children in an emergent type curriculum. In collaboration with Kathleen McCartney, a behavioral psychologist at Harvard, Imagine incorporated the Project Approach as our fundamental method for early childhood development. 

Through the years, Imagine has continued to develop educational methods to incorporate recent research in the field of early childhood education. In July, 2009, we changed our name to Imagine International Preschool to better reflect the international culture that is evident in the school.

Why Choose Imagine?

What is it that makes Imagine so special? Why should I choose Imagine for my child? These are some of the questions you may be asking yourself as you decide which school is the best fit for your child.
Here are some of the key features that make Imagine a great choice for your child:

l  Individual child development
l  Focus on positive development
l  Relaxed English-speaking environment
l  Friendly atmosphere
l  Multi-aged classrooms
l  Project Approach to learning
l  Strong relationship with families
l  Excellent student-teacher ratio
l  Experienced staff
l  Convenient location

We hope that you have the time to come and visit us to see for yourself what makes Imagine so special!

Project Approach

Imagine adopts the Project Approach, the educational philosophy which refers to a flexible framework that revolves around children's unfathomable curiosity. There is no fixed time table at Imagine, instead children will explore their own curiosity and propose a conclusion, taking a time-span from at least several weeks to a year. They will gain real world experience, knowledge, and research skills along their academic adventure.

Project themes are often created around new questions that arose during previous projects. As the children are learning new information, new doors are opened that expand their knowledge and create more and more questions leading to a wider world view.
Question > Hypothesis > Experiment > Presentation
This cycle gives intellectual satisfaction and induces skills necessary in the learning process.
Below are some examples of projects accomplished in the past by children at Imagine:

Example 1: Money Project
This project was triggered by the children's heated conversation on Otoshidama (money which Japanese children receive from parents and relatives on New Year’s Day), after winter vacation. The project began by children asking questions such as "What is money?" and "What kind of money are there?" which led us into researching more about the designs and types of Japanese money. Our curiosity went beyond Japanese money, so we looked at the world map and compared money from different countries as well as currencies, notes and coins used in the past. As our project unveiled, knowledge on diverse money designs motivated the children to explore more symbols in general, taking us out in town to investigate convenience store and post office logos.
One recurring interest they had was: What kind of money do we want to use?
From this, diverse activities spun off yet again, such as designing money, making bag-shaped wallets, and creating Imagine currency. It was clear to see how this project had stimulated the children. Prior to the project, children simply exchanged toys when role playing. However, after being exposed to the money project the children began to role-play in a shopping context.

Example 2: Shopping Project
After the money project many shopping questions arose. As you can see, these two are closely linked. First, we practiced shopping through role-playing. Teachers created price tags for classroom toys. Soon, on their own, children had quickly grasped the concept of addition, even the ones who hadn't yet begun studying mathematics: "In order to buy a 100 yen toy, I need two coins of 50 yen!"
Gradually, price began to look more complicated with neither 100 yen nor 50 yen labeled on the toys. Children encountered with 90 yen toys, but they were quick enough to realize that they can purchase it with a 100 yen coin, but not with a 50 yen coin and further realize that they will get 10 yen change if they buy it with a 100 yen coin, and so forth.
This activity made the children feel confident enough to going shopping out in town and we enjoyed a field trip where each child carried 105 yen with them.

Example 3: Lunch at Restaurant
After the Shopping Project, the children were more interested in other ways that people spend money. This included, going to a restaurant for lunch. At the restaurant, the older classmates read the menu out loud to everyone, which suddenly made younger students very interested in words written on the menu. After the luncheon, the older friends decided to write a Thank You letter to the restaurant. The younger students were so motivated to learn more about these skills. They were also curious about the context of what older friends were doing, so they could not resist but to start practicing writing their names. This is how younger friends started to practice writing.
As you can see, by studying something in which children already have interests, they are learning different areas of scrutiny such as geography, history, mathematics, reading, and writing. Widening the perspective of each child is a fundamental part of the Project Approach. There is so much to learn and discover from one’s own curiosities.


The staff at Imagine are especially chosen for their dedication to children and for sharing the same values as our school’s philosophy. It is important for us that staff are able to connect with children and make positive relationships as a role-model in each child’s life. Other important qualities we look for are patience, an ability to give positive praise, and an ability to play with children (not just watch them play). We believe that playing with children is important to develop their creativity and to better understand what they are able to think and do.
We have a mixture of native English speaking staff from various countries as well as bilingual Japanese staff. All staff have university qualifications in various fields and all are trained in infant and child first aid (CPR, AED, first response injury treatment). At least two staff members possess a Japanese license in early childcare (Hoikushi).
We are happy to say that we have a very low turnover in staff, which allows children to establish a strong relationship with all the staff over several years.


Imagine is conveniently located in Yokohama’s Landmark Tower, less than 10 minutes’ walk from Sakuragicho Station and Minatomirai Station.
Located on the 13th floor, Imagine has a fantastic view looking towards Yokohama and beyond.
The interior of the school was designed by Bright Horizons, a major early childhood provider in America. The first thing visitors often say is how Imagine is a lot bigger than what they were expecting from the outside! With two separate class spaces and a shared multi-purpose room, children have plenty of space to play, explore and learn every day.
Inside the classroom, children have easy access to educational toys and games, a wide range of books, musical instruments, physical development equipment and art & craft supplies.
For toddler aged children, a crib room provides them with a quiet place to take a nap, and both classrooms have children sized bathrooms.
Imagines location is convenient for daily outside excursions to many different parks and places of interest, including shops, train stations and the viewing floor of Landmark Tower on the 69th floor. 

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