White Branch

American and Internationally Recognized Texts 
Used in All Grades

Language and Literacy

Common Core standards are used to guide the curriculum and the unit studies in all the language and literacy classes at New Life International School.

Kindergarten children learn to read and write the alphabet, write simple sentences, and read simple books through engaging active learning.   

In the 1st and 2nd grades, the students continue to learn to read and write. They read a wide variety of reading texts and real books. Grade 2 students write simple summaries and stories. Second graders learn to write cursive writing. Phonics is a daily focus in both grades.

Grades 3-6 read a wide variety of books, poems, and short stories of all genres carefully chosen and at native English level. Students learn how to comprehend, analyze,  and synthesize the stories read. The students write to respond to the literature and write essays to inform, entertain, describe, and persuade.  


Junior high students develop writing and thinking skills with a focus on vocabulary and building strong grammar knowledge. Students study important editing and revision techniques through writing.  Literary terms are taught appropriately in the study of short stories, novels, and poetry.  Through reading literature from various genres, students are stretched in their comprehension and analysis of literature.  

High school students continue to increase language skills in inference, comprehension, and vocabulary, as well as in the ability to write well. Students engage in a variety of research and learn how to document the findings. Students read British, American, and ancient and modern literature from around the world.  The goal is to prepare the students for college, careers, and life. 


National Science, Next Generation, and Common Core are used for the standards in teaching science and health depending on the grades and texts used.

Science activities through hands-on STEM projects, research, and experiments are done in all classes.

BJU Science textbooks are used from grades 3 through 6, and in high school.

Grades 3-8 present an experiment or a project for the annual science fair every February.

Kesler Science is used in our junior high science program.

High school subjects include Biology, Physical Science, Chemistry, and Physics.   Students are required to take at least two science classes.

Art, Music, and Drama

The National Art Standards are used to guide the direction of the studies in the Fine Arts at NLIS.


Art is used daily in kindergarten class.  Students draw, cut, glue, paint, and actively explore learning through art.


In grades one through six, art is done at least once a week. Students use a variety of mediums to express emotion, imitate great artists, and release creativity.  Students are taught about famous artists around the world and to recognize famous art.


Kindergarten children sing and dance most days.  

Music is taught two times a week in elementary school. Students study music history from around the world and learn to sing spirituals,  folksongs, and classic and popular songs. Grades 3 & 4 perform handbells and grades 5 & 6 perform the ukulele. Concerts are held several times a year. Students are taught to read music and how to play with rhythm.  


Art is an elective offered to grades 7-12. Students have 50 minutes of art two to three times a week in visual arts. Color, pattern, repetition, line, shape, emphasis, balance, value, rhythm, variety, unity, texture, and form through a variety of projects using graphite, acrylic paint, and oil pastels.  Sculptures are created using wire, wood, cross-stitch, and paper mache.  Electives may be chosen for 1 semester or for the year.

Learning to play a keyboard is an elective offered to grades 7-12. Students have 50 minutes of drama classes two to three times a week by a professionally trained drama and music teacher.  

Pop Choir is an elective offered to grades 7-12.  Students have 50 minutes of choir two to three times a week by a professionally trained drama and music teacher.  

Performances by the students are done usually twice a year.


One computer is available for all students from grade three through grade 8.  Students from grade 9 must bring their own computers to school daily.

K-2 grades take standardized tests online, listen to reading, and learn technology rules and parts of the computer. 

3-6 grades review technology rules and parts of the computer, learn keyboard skills with at least 85% accuracy and at least 30 wpm. Students improve keyboard skills by taking typing tests. Projects include various research activities and some introduction to coding.

Computer Class is an elective offered to grades 7 through 12. Students have 50 minutes two to three times a week to work on improving keyboarding skills, learning how to do Google drive lessons, create accounts, manage documents, do coding, create surveys, create Powerpoint presentations, and make spreadsheets. Computer classes may be taken for one semester or all year. 

Computer Standardized Testing

All grades, K-8 take monthly standardized tests online.  


9th graders take a variety of practice SAT standardized online tests throughout the year.  

10th-grade students take the preSAT test.

11th-grade students take the SAT if desired. 


Kindergarten through grade 8 uses Singapore Math. It is one of the top-tested math texts available which emphasizes problem-solving and mental math.

Junior high students study pre-algebra and geometry with Singapore Math.

9th-12th grade students may take their choice of math as available. Courses available are usually Algebra 1, Algebra II, and Geometry.  Online courses available are precalculus, accounting, and trigonometry. Honor classes and/or AP classes are offered in most math classes.

Social Studies and History

Kindergarten through grades 6 uses teacher-made units,  hands-on projects, and research to study social studies, history, and global citizenship. Japanese history and culture are studied in all grades.


Child protection classes are taught to all students once a year for one week in kindergarten through high school. Sexes and ages are divided enabling the students to feel safe during the daily question and answer times. Puberty lessons are included for grades 5 through 12. 

Junior high studies Asian history, ancient history, and geography with a focus on the Eastern Hemisphere.

High school studies Humanities: World History, Comparative Politics, and Government.

Elected student council members lead school assemblies, work on school projects, and learn leadership skills.  

High school students volunteer 50 hours of community service during the four years of high school.  

Japanese Language & other Languages

Native Japanese, experienced teachers teach 4 times a week, 45 minutes each day.


Track One is for students who use Japanese in their homes.  These students from grade one through high school use the Japanese national textbook (Kokugo textbook) and several kanji workbooks and have weekly kanji tests.


Track Two is for students who do not use Japanese in their homes.  These students from grades 2 through high school will meet with the Track One classes, but follow a different curriculum.  The goal is for all the students in Track Two to take and pass the National Japanese tests for foreigners, beginning with the N5.

Other languages are also available to high school students online.  

Learning in Mixed-Age Classes

NLIS classes are combined as follows:

K4 and K5                 (ages 4 & 5)

Grade 1 and Grade 2 (ages 6 & 7)

Grade 3 & Grade 4    (ages 8 – 9)

Grade 5 & Grade 6    (ages 10 – 11)

Grade 7 & Grade 8    (ages 12-13)

Grade 9 & Grade 11  (ages 14-16)


2024-25:  Grade 11 & 12 (ages 17-18)

Advantages of Multi-Aged Classrooms

1. Gender

It is important to have a balance between girls and boys. By having combined classes, there is a better chance of maintaining a balance of genders.


2. Students learning from students

Every teacher who teaches a multi-age class notes the value of students learning not only from the teacher but also from each other. Older children commonly mentor younger ones. This helps both the older and younger students in the class reinforce their learning. It can also raise the students' self-esteem, encourage responsible behavior, and establish a healthy class atmosphere.  The younger students often say that they can't wait until the next year when they can help the new class coming in.


3. Teacher continuity

Having multi-age classes at NLIS allow teachers to get to know their students for two years.  The teachers can more effectively teach to the students' needs.  The students and teachers get to know each other well and develop a close relationship with each other.  


Are all subjects taught together?

No. All math classes are taught separately for each grade.  Each teacher teaches two math courses separately. While one group is doing independent work, the teacher teaches the other group.  


Reading, spelling, and handwriting are taught separately in the elementary grades, 1 through 6.  While one group is doing independent work, the teacher teaches the other group.  

Japanese is taught separately. Japanese teachers teach the students in individual grades in different rooms. 


All other subjects, writing, grammar, novel units, Bible, social studies, science, art, music, computer, and physical education are done together with both grades.

Are "multi-age" classes found only in smaller schools?

No. There are schools and educational authorities that have adopted multi-age classes because of the advantages.


Is there a disadvantage to children who move from a multi-age system to a single-grade system?

No, because in terms of paperwork, all students at NLIS are enrolled within a given grade. There are no complications if they transfer to another school.


Kindergarten through grades 6 study Bible stories and Bible verses and how to apply the lessons of forgiveness, love, honoring our parents, and good character traits. 

Junior high students survey the 66 books in the Bible.


High School students focus on the life of Christ and Proverbs.

The chapel is every Friday for all grades. The students memorize Bible verses, sing songs, and play games during this time.

Grades 3 through 8 may choose to go to Joy Bible Camp every June in Okutama. Other students from international schools all over Japan join for one week of English camp.  The students study the Bible, play games, swim, go hiking, do arts and crafts, and have a lot of fun contests.  The students come back very tired and very happy. 


Grades 9 and up may go to the English Bible camp, HIBA, in Chiba.  This is on the coast where the students stay in cabins, body surf in the ocean, go hiking, study the Bible, have campfires on the beach, and make lasting friendships and memories.  

    Physical Education & Recess

Kindergarten through grade two plays in the park every morning for 30 minutes. 


Kindergarten grades have at least three recesses daily.  


All students from grades three to six have at least 30 minutes of daily morning activity at the local park, in our front parking lot, or in the gym.

Students in grades one through six have 30 minutes of physical education two times a week. Students play soccer, kickball, and basketball, do exercises and gymnastics, play four square,  and have jump rope competitions.​

Physical Education is an elective offered to grades 7-12. Students have 50 minutes of physical education two to three times a week where they do fitness tests and play various sports, including basketball, volleyball, and other sports.  Electives may be chosen for 1 semester or all year.

Grades 7 through 12 enjoy an hour of lunch and recreation outside daily.  

Grades 9 and 10 may leave the campus during lunch with parental permission.  

At this time, students from grades 3 and up are eating lunch outside and enjoying a recess after lunch daily.  

NLIS has a large cafeteria with enough room for all the students to eat together, but due to Covid restrictions, all classes eat separately, or outside.


Classes walk ten minutes to the prefectural library near Kofu station every other Friday.  Students check out two English books and one Japanese book.  This encourages the love of English and Japanese literature.

NLIS has books available in each class for students to read in class and to borrow.  NLIS teachers and students are very thankful for book donations.

Advanced Placement Courses

High school students are encouraged to take advanced placement classes. These challenging courses are created by the College Board in America. Some courses offer college-level curricula. American colleges and universities grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores on the examinations.  Advanced Placement courses are accepted by universities in America, Canada, Japan, and over 100 countries in the world.  It is more widely used than IB. At this time all advanced placement courses are done online through SevenStar Academy, an accredited school in America. 

Special Activities

School is made memorable with special activities throughout the year. There are 3 class parties, at least 2 field trips, several special theme days, and visiting speakers every year. 


An art fair for all grades is held in July and a science fair for grades 3 and up in February. 

6th, 8th, and 12th graders take a  trip to celebrate the finish of elementary, junior high, and high school.

NLIS makes good memories!


Accreditation & Associations

Candidate for Accreditation. Approved by the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges WASC
Accrediting Commission for Schools
for grades K through 9.
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
533 Airport Blvd., Suite 200, Burlingame, CA 94010
NLIS teachers, students, board members, and parents are working hard to obtain full accreditation by 2025 for all grades.  Every year until 2025, grades will be added for approval. 
NLIS is providing quality education and safe care that parents trust. 


We are also affiliated with the Christian Academy of Japan in Tokyo.  CAJ is an accredited school with over 60 years of experience.