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Visiting Nico Kids in Tokushima


In front of Nico Kids with Junpei


With the current coronavirus crisis and all that school owners have been writing about it on Facebook and other media, I’ve decided not to write about it here.  All that we as school owners are learning from each other, however, reminded me of a post I had meant to write in late January, but didn’t get around to.




Those of you who know me know that I very much value learning from other school owners.  As coordinator of the JALT School Owners’ SIG we started the School Owners’ Mini-Conference, which has now happened three times with between about 45 and 65 owners each time.  I have also spent considerable time and effort visiting other schools around Japan and inviting others to visit us up in Yamagata.  Today I want to write about my visit to Nico Kids English ( in Tokushima.





Wonderful Tokushima seafood lunch!

Nico Kids is run by Junpei Tamura, who also writes his own blog on school ownership:  I visited him because he uses Finding Out, like we do; operates in a rural prefecture similar to Yamagata, with a capital city almost identical in population to Yamagata City; has his main school in a town of about 40,000 residents, just like our main school; and is just an incredibly cool guy that I wanted to have an excuse to hang out with while being able to expense the cost for tax purposes ;-).





I learned a lot from visiting him, but if you asked for my two top takeaways, they would be:



    • Nico Kids lobby area

      1) After each lesson, the teacher—and support staff when necessary —go to the lobby with the students and talk with the parents there about what they did during the lesson. I really like this, because it not only helps the parents know what their children are learning but also helps strengthen the connection between the parents and the school, increasing the likelihood that they will continue for many years.





    • Full view of Nico Kids

      2) Nico Kids charges ¥10,000/month for 50-minute lessons (¥9,500 tuition and ¥500 facilities fee), even though they are in a rural prefecture. At MY we charge more than average, but still only ¥8,500/month for our lessons.  Yamagata has the 43rd lowest average annual income in Japan while Tokushima is 30th (, so it’s nice to see someone able to successfully charge an up-market rate in rural Japan.  It can be done!  But you must provide the experience and location to back up the price.




I highly recommend for all school owners to visit others around Japan and see what they are doing at their schools.  MY English School is successful mainly because of what we have learned from others.  We’ve had other owners come see us up here in Yamagata as well.  Please let me know if you’d be interested in a visit.




Also, the next School Owners’ SIG is planned form June 28 in Nagoya.  Would be great to see you there!





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