SJIS: Celebrating 50 years

As it celebrates its 50th year, the Sydney Japanese International School (SJIS) can look back at half a century of providing quality bilingual education to families who believe a bilingual education is an asset that is worth the investment.

Established in 1969, the Sydney Japanese International School is a bilingual, bicultural, non-denominational school which nurtures academic excellence and fosters a culture of acceptance. With two curriculums on offer – Japanese and Australian (K-6 Australian Curriculum, Y1-Y9 Japanese Curriculum), the school provides a strong academic and cultural platform in which students develop the skills to fully flourish in a global society.

Located in Terrey Hills in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, students enjoy a campus surrounded by natural bushland with generous and exceptionally maintained grounds, complete with a sporting oval, an artisan-designed Japanese tea room, dedicated Music, Science, Home Economics, Computer and Language rooms, a comprehensive library boasting the largest selection of Japanese books in the Southern hemisphere, and digitally equipped classrooms.

To celebrate its 50th year, SJIS is implementing a detailed reform plan which includes further support for non-English speakers, a high school readiness program, further advancements in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), upgraded facilities and security, more bus lines to the western suburbs, and a further focus on refining the curriculums to provide children with an even greater opportunity to grow and achieve.

Through the unique learning experience on offer SJIS nurtures students to become ‘bridges’. The Japanese word kakehashi literally means ‘bridge’ and as a school SJIS celebrates the spirit of global connectivity.

Guided by the values of respect, responsibility, courtesy, honesty, justice, generosity and perseverance, the school is committed to developing the youth of today to be the leaders of tomorrow.

At SJIS, students’ intellectual curiosity, creativity, compassion and independence is nurtured through a robust and rounded education and supportive community. By fostering an environment of life-long learning, the school is dedicated to providing a positive and bright future for all.

Two curriculums, one school
Families choose SJIS because they place value in the school’s unique learning environment, with two outstanding curriculums being offered in an Australian setting.

The Australian (NSW) Curriculum is offered from Kindergarten to Year 6 to all children of any nationality who wish to have an Australian education. The Japanese Curriculum, renowned for its strong Mathematics and Science components, is offered from Years 1 to 9, to Japanese citizens who want to continue their child’s Japanese education in Australia. All students receive daily second language classes and have the option to sit external tests and exams in language competency.

“The language proficiency attained at SJIS provides a real and enduring language base, which enables students to become future global citizens with all the opportunities a bilingual education provides,” explains Mrs Jodie Hoenig, Head of the International Division.

Inclusive learning environment
The two curriculums are housed under the Japanese and International Divisions. The School Principal and the Head of the International Division, together with the General Manager, lead the Japanese and International Divisions.

The school fosters an all-inclusive learning environment, giving students from each division multiple opportunities to learn together and forge cross-cultural friendships that last a lifetime. The mixed learning subjects of Art, Sport, Music and Coding regularly bring all students of the same year together to enjoy the Creative Arts, Computer Science and Physical Education.

The SJIS Music department provides students with the learning of traditional Japanese instruments such as the pianica, and offers all students the opportunity to perform at the annual School Concert.

The flourishing After School Activities Program provides students with the encouragement to explore their individual passions and talents in the areas of Karate, Sado, Shodo, Guitar, Basketball or Cheerleading, all led by skilled coaches.

It is the school’s desire to keep class sizes small which enables students to be treated as individuals and to be given individual care and attention. From this children are nurtured to be the best they can be.

Celebrating the Japanese cultural calendar is integrated into daily school life and ensures students’ learning is meaningful and relevant. The school community embraces a positive learning culture that celebrates the differences and similarities that make each child unique. Children can enjoy traditional Japanese events like a Japanese-style Sports Day and Children’s Day and Japanese sushi and mochi making, together with the well-known Australian celebrations such as Anzac Day, Australia Day and learning to cook Aussie favourites like meat pies and pavlova.

To this, SJIS students emerge as astute, confident, empathetic and resilient second language speakers who have a deep understanding of cross-cultural attitudes and values.

“My experience at the Sydney Japanese International School was tremendous. Not only did I learn a second language as a young child (which helped me greatly in the HSC), but I also learned so many cultural and life lessons which you cannot put a value on – open mindedness, willingness to look for other ways of doing things (not just the dominant way within your own culture), and that friendships surpass race and language barriers. The school’s sports days and other festivals are memories I will keep forever,” says SJIS alumni, Dr Jordana Sweetman PhD.

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