Willowbrook Founder and Director - Ikuyo Maeda
Ikuyo was born in Wakayama. She holds a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Osaka Shoin Women's College, and a M.A. in Early Childhood Education and Child Development from Wheelock Teacher's College in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. After teaching at a Boston-area preschool, Ikuyo returned to her native Japan to pursue her teaching career. She worked at several international schools in Tokyo before branching out on her own to fulfill her desire to open her own international preschool. Willowbrook was born of humble beginnings, but with the help of a supportive community, it quickly expanded to the robust population it retains today. Ikuyo is actively involved in all aspects of the school.
Assistant Director -- Angela Aramaki
Hello! My name is Angela Aramaki and I am the Assistant Director of Willowbrook International School. This is my fourth year at Willowbrook. I come from Fredericton, New Brunswick, on the beautiful Atlantic coast of Canada. I have been living in Japan for 15 years. I graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Anthropology and a Bachelor’s Degree of Education specializing in Secondary Art Education. My early teaching career began as a Middle School teacher in rural New Brunswick. Looking for an adventure I decided to come to Japan for one year as an English teacher. I immediately fell in love with Japan and have been living and teaching here ever since. Now I have a husband and a 2 ½ year old daughter, Kaitlyn, who is in Kaze Class. We live in the lovely city of Yokohama near Yamashita Park where we spend our weekends chasing Kaitlyn, smelling flowers and eating ice cream.
Each preschool classroom consists of lead teachers, assistants and their aides, depending on the teacher to student ratio at each age level. Lead and assistant teachers are internationally credentialed from their home countries (e.g. Australia, US, UK, etc.). We require all of our teachers to be certified in early childhood education, from pre-K to early elementary and to have early childhood teaching experience. We are also fortunate to have Art and Kanji teachers. Our staff is as diverse as the student population. The home countries of our staff are USA, Japan, England, Scotland, Chile, Australia, Philippines, France, Korea, Canada, New Zealand and more. Turn over of our faculty and staff is infrequent.
Willowbrook employs classroom aides who are eager to begin a career in early childhood education. Aides are not required to hold teaching degrees, but help assist the teacher with their classroom routines. Aides are required to attend staff training workshops and are encouraged to participate in continuing education opportunities.
We recognize that excellence in education is more than just a strong curriculum. At the forefront of our teaching lies the interests, unique abilities and special needs of the children in our care. It is from this vantage point that we catapult our unique Willowbrook teaching strategy. This initiative necessitates a special combination of creativity and innovation in program design. Teaching not only requires a developmental understanding of children, but a special kind patience, dedication and love. Our staff epitomizes these qualities.