Professional Perspectives

The Impact and Importance of the Tokyo Association of International Preschools (TAIP)

June 30, 2023
5 min read
Group photo of TAIP member school teachers at a professional development conference hosted by TAIP in November 2018.

Special Note for Parents

While this article primarily addresses schools and professionals in early childhood education, it also holds valuable insights for parents. TAIP can be a valuable resource if you're interested in early childhood education at international schools or considering enrolling your child in one.

TAIP's membership comprises diverse schools offering unique teaching styles and pedagogies. The common thread among TAIP member schools is the emphasis on teaching in a language other than Japanese. By exploring TAIP's member directory on its homepage, you can gain insights into the variety of international preschools and kindergartens available in Tokyo and across Japan.

So, whether you're an educator or a parent, I invite you to join me as we delve into the world of TAIP and its impact on early childhood education in Japan.

In the metropolis of Tokyo, a vibrant community of international preschools is transforming early childhood education. The Tokyo Association of International Preschools (TAIP) is at the heart of this community, providing support, connection, and enrichment to these schools.

As a board member of TAIP and a firm believer in the power of choice in early childhood education, I have seen firsthand how this organization has helped international preschools and kindergartens ensure that all children in Japan have the opportunity to reach their full potential by providing professional development, advocacy, and other resources.

In this article, I will introduce the TAIP, its role in Tokyo and Japan's early childhood education landscape, and why it is an invaluable resource for educators, schools, and anyone who cares about our future.

About TAIP

TAIP was founded in 2005 by a group of international preschools that recognized the need for a dedicated platform for the community. At that time, there were fewer international preschools in Tokyo, and existing organizations focused more on primary and secondary education. The founding members created TAIP to allow those schools to collaborate, share best practices, create professional development opportunities, and share the expense of publicity.

Today, TAIP is a vibrant community of over 50 organizations. We work together to navigate the unique challenges and opportunities of operating an international preschool in Japan. We also advocate for the importance of quality early learning experiences. TAIP has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of everyone involved in early learning, from teachers and staff to parents and young children themselves.

Steven Parr, the inaugural President of TAIP and Founding Director and Head of School at New International School, addressing the audience at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of TAIP in 2015.
Steven Parr, the inaugural President of TAIP and Founding Director and Head of School at New International School, addressing the audience at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of TAIP in 2015.

Membership Benefits

TAIP provides many resources and opportunities for schools, organizations, and individuals committed to advancing early childhood education.

For schools, TAIP Institutional membership offers a platform to share best practices, collaborate on initiatives, and gain visibility within the international preschool community in Tokyo. Member schools also participate in and host TAIP events, further enhancing their engagement with the community.

For businesses and organizations that offer services relevant to early childhood education, TAIP Associate membership offers a chance to connect with international preschools, understand their needs, and tailor their offerings accordingly.

For individuals whose schools are not TAIP Institutional Members or whose school/institution is not a preschool or kindergarten, such as university students studying education or preschool teachers in training schools, TAIP Individual membership offers a range of professional development opportunities.

From workshops to conferences, TAIP organizes a range of events aimed at enhancing the skills and knowledge of early childhood education professionals. In addition to the professional development opportunities, TAIP membership offers the chance to contribute to the community. Members can participate in TAIP's committees, contribute to its newsletter, and play a role in shaping the organization's future and, by extension, early childhood education in Tokyo and Japan. In essence, TAIP membership is an investment in professional growth, community engagement, and the advancement of early childhood education. It's an opportunity to be part of a movement that's making a real difference in the lives of young learners.

Events and Workshops

TAIP's events and workshops cover various topics, from social-emotional learning to earthquake preparedness. TAIP also hosts book clubs and other informal gatherings that allow educators to connect and collaborate. TAIP recently organized a workshop on "Social Emotional Learning: Strategies for Preventing, Pinpointing, and Helping Young Children Develop Self-Regulatory Skills," hosted by Dr. Felicity Crawford. This workshop equipped educators with strategies to help children develop essential social and emotional skills. Participants from more than 20 schools and organizations gave it great reviews.

In addition to providing learning opportunities, TAIP's events and workshops help to foster a sense of community among its members. In 2023, TAIP plans a return to in-person events where teachers can reconnect with colleagues and friends and build new relationships.

Personal Journey with TAIP

My journey with TAIP began when I was a teacher at Joy to the World. The school's owner, Jerry Hanus, was enthusiastic about the organization. The school manager at the time, Christopher Holland (who later served as a TAIP President), encouraged teachers to attend TAIP's training events. The first time I attended a TAIP event, I was impressed by the quality of the professional development opportunities it offered. It was a rare chance to engage in high-level, in-person professional development in English in Japan. I was so impressed that I felt compelled to support the organization and help it reach more schools and teachers. I joined TAIP as a board member, and I've been fortunate to work with exceptional leaders from various schools and businesses that support international early childhood education in Japan. This experience has been incredibly rewarding. I've gained a wealth of knowledge and a renewed sense of hope. I've been lucky to meet so many genuinely caring individuals in our community who understand the importance of education and are committed to making a difference.

TAIP's Impact

TAIP has significantly impacted the early childhood education community in Tokyo and Japan. Through its various initiatives, TAIP has enhanced the quality of early childhood education and fostered a sense of community among international preschools. Initially focused on Tokyo, TAIP expanded its reach by introducing Satellite Membership. This inclusive initiative has since welcomed schools from all corners of Japan, from the southernmost Okinawa to the northernmost Aomori, into its diverse membership.

TAIP's impact extends beyond its member schools. The organization's work is regularly featured in its Newsroom: https://www.tokyopreschools.org/newsroom/all-news, highlighting its contributions to the broader early childhood education community in Tokyo and Japan.

As Japan's government works to reverse the declining birthrate, it has implemented policy changes concerning early childhood education. These policies, designed to ensure access to care and education for young children, also impact non-traditional educational and care facilities, such as international schools.

TAIP can serve as a guiding voice in this changing landscape, helping its members navigate and understand these policy changes. More importantly, TAIP can represent its members' diverse interests to Japanese government bodies. By doing so, TAIP can highlight the unique value and contributions of international preschools and kindergartens, advocating for their recognition and support in the broader educational framework.

In essence, TAIP is not just an association; it's a driving force for excellence in early childhood education. Through its work, TAIP is shaping the future of early childhood education in Tokyo and Japan, ensuring that children receive the best possible start in life.

The Future of TAIP

Looking ahead, I am excited about the future of TAIP. The organization will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping early childhood education in Japan. I look forward to seeing TAIP grow, innovate, and continue to raise the bar for quality education. If you are not yet a TAIP Member, please consider joining TAIP. Participate in its events, contribute to its initiatives, and be part of this dynamic community. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of our young learners and shape the future of early childhood education in Japan.

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