• Kyodo

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Tsuzuki Ikuei Gakuen, a private school operator based in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, plans to open a local elementary school next April that would have an all-English curriculum designed to give Japanese schoolchildren complete bilingual skills.

Tsuzuki has submitted the plan to Fukuoka Prefecture for approval and said it expects an official nod this fall.

Tsuzuki Ikuei is building a campus for the school — tentatively known as Linden Hall Elementary School — on a 17,000-sq.-meter site. Tsuzuki Ikuei officials said it will be the first noninternational elementary school in Japan with a complete English-language curriculum. Apart from Japanese-language classes, all other courses are to be taught mainly in English.

Tsuzuki Ikuei officials said a majority of the teachers will be native English speakers. Tsuzuki Ikuei has translated government-approved textbooks into English and plans to use both versions as teaching materials.

Instructions will be a mixture of English and Japanese until the students get used to all-English teaching.

Tsuzuki Ikuei said it plans to introduce some novel courses, including the teaching of verbal presentation skills and computer classes. Class hours for first-year pupils would be about 30 percent longer than the government-approved standard and the school plans to add hours to mathematics classes.

Tsuzuki Ikuei plans to admit 40 boys and girls in the first year. Annual tuition is to be around 1 million yen.

Kimiko Tsuzuki, deputy director of Tsuzuki Ikuei Gakuen and the designated principal of Linden Hall, said Tsuzuki Ikuei plans to build a dormitory and turn Linden Hall into a boarding school.

“Our aim is to recruit pupils from around the nation and bring up people who are at ease with the world at large,” Tsuzuki said.