Berkeley International Montessori SchoolCommunity Subscriber
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Our mission is to partner with parents to develop bilingual children who are confident, empathetic, mindful, and have a life-long love of learning. We provide a unique Japanese-English bilingual Montessori learning environment for children between the ages of 2.6 through 6 years.
BIM is a fantastic school! The teachers are amazing and truly care about the development of the children, both academically and emotionally. We made the decision to keep our daughter here through kindergarten as she has learned so much over the past 3 years. She's not even 5 and is reading, writing and speaking two languages AND doing math. It's terrifying to think of sending her anywhere else!
Our son enrolled this year at Berkeley International Montessori School (BIM) and we are all happy with his experience. A lot has been said in other reviews about the exceptional quality of the school but I wanted to highlight a couple of things. Even though my wife and I are not of Japanese descent, our son is fully capable of communicating at the school. It’s thrilling to see him speaking Japanese and we have found that the exposure to another language has helped his ability to communicate with others. In other words, don’t let the Japanese aspect scare you if you don’t speak Japanese! The kids soak it up like a sponge, and the teachers expose them to English reading and writing as well.
At BIM they follow the Montessori methodology closely, and we saw its effect on our son quickly. It has been an empowering experience for him. He wants to do everything himself, which we are delighted by. We’ve seen other positive aspects of the Montessori method: his willingness to share, his ability to concentrate on tasks, he cleans up after messes, he communicates with adults and peers well, and others.
We have been happy with how BIM adapted to life under Covid. They have reasonable policies that keep the kids, teachers, and parents safe. It’s a difficult decision to send a child to school while the outbreak is going on, but we feel like it is important for our son to be in a nurturing, learning environment with his peers, and the staff BIM has ensured that their school is safe, with temperatures taken on entry, mask usage, and strict policies for handling children with symptoms.
We miss BIM so much! My son went to BIM for about 1.5yr until we relocated to SoCal. It's been a couple of months since he started his new school, and he still talks about how he misses his friends and wants to go back to his old school. The teachers at BIM are so patient and caring - they take the time to cater and guide each student to their specific needs, and they would partner with the parents to ensure we help them thrive.
Although my partner and I would speak English at home, my son would come home speaking Japanese and was able to communicate with his grandparents in Japanese. We were impressed. We also miss the other BIM families - such a fantastic, irreplaceable community that's warm and supportive of one another.
I cannot speak highly enough about our daughter's experience at BIM. Under the care and guidance of the BIM staff, we have seen our daughter grow leaps and bounds. I really appreciated how well each of the teachers understood our child and her unique needs and how the school went to great lengths to incorporate Montessori methodologies in the home. Not only did my child benefit from her time at BIM but I also gained the confidence and tools to be a better parent. The teachers were all extremely warm, patient, yet firm and consistent which as any parent to a young child will tell you is vitally important. They really do such a wonderful job at recognizing even the youngest toddlers as an important individual as evidenced in the the littlest details down to the way they warmly greet each child in the morning with a handshake as they enter the classroom.
Though we have moved out of state due to jobs, our daughter still regularly speaks of her teachers and her friends at BIM. We also benefited from the warm parent community and have made great friends from our time there.
If you are looking for a Montessori immersion preschool, you would be hard pressed to find one better than BIM.
BIM is a gem of a school. This Japanese-English immersion Montessori (along with its sister-school, American International Montessori) provides an experience we’ve not found anywhere else. In addition to learning the regular curriculum, our son has learned to be responsible, confident, and interact with kids of varying ages.
Our son started at BIM soon after he turned two. Like some bilingual children, his speech was a bit delayed as he navigated the mix of English and Japanese words in our home environment. However, his language skills blossomed soon after he started BIM. Not only did he rapidly acquire fluency in Japanese (without an accent), so many people comment on how politely he speaks…he often uses formal Japanese even with us!
We have continually been impressed at how he’s developing and learning new things every day and how he continues to do them at home without much prompting. The instruction at BIM is individualized, rich, carefully considered, and the environment is peaceful. Under the direction of Saki-sensei, each of the highly-experienced teachers at BIM are nurturing, firm, kind, and patient. Our son often has positive stories that included his friends and teachers. All of the teachers understand our son, help him where he needs help, encourage him to go beyond his comfort zone and expand his untapped potential, let him learn at his own pace, and generally made BIM a place he couldn’t wait to go every day. In our limited experience with Mahr-sensei, the director of AIM and BIM, it is clear that he is focused on making sure our son gets the most out of BIM, that we as parents feel comfortable and safe, and we have a good relationship with the teachers.
The families that we’ve gotten to know are warm and friendly. Our son has made some wonderful friends and we have too!
We highly recommend BIM to any parents seeking this kind of experience for their child.
We know head teacher Tomoko Schocker from her time at Growing Light preschool. Tomoko is an exceptional teacher. Her approach to the classroom felt structured but she was also very warm with the children, and she worked with each according to their needs. Her respect for the children is evident. She also communicated very well with the parents.
This is a review for Tomoko Schocker, head teacher. Tomoko was my daughter's (age 4 at the time) head teacher at Growing Light Montessori School in Kensington. She is phenomenal. I don't have enough good things to say about her. Tomoko is incredibly professional, really relates to the children, always energetic, and just a good human being. Every day I dropped off my daughter at school, Tomoko would greet her with open arms, a smile, and engage her in a fun activity. Tomoko was very communicative with me during my daughter's time there. She is observant, creative, and fully reliable. My daughter took Japanese classes from Tomoko during an after school program, and still embraces the language and its culture. My daughter still talks about Tomoko and misses her dearly.
I almost left Growing Light Monterssori to follow Tomoko to BIM. Since leaving Growing Light, Tomoko has stayed in touch and we actually just had a preschool class reunion. Tomoko is a true educator and child lover. Your child will be lucky to have her as his/her teacher.