Blog Posts

Helping students develop communication skills

Elementary Connections:

We all want our children to become effective and honest communicators, able to express their opinions and desires in kind and loving ways.
At OCSI we also want them to be proficient in writing, reading, listening, and speaking in English. This month has been full of opportunities for your children to develop their communication skills:

  • E9C5FCBF-AD1A-4E33-8CCA-C827A246AE5FChildren are learning winter vocabulary and played karuta (Japanese card game) with winter word cards during circle time (pre-K).

  • Children can receive “share passes” during Writer’s Workshop time, and they get to share their writing with the class and celebrate their progress together (kindergarten).

  • Children are always encouraged to say “please” and “thank you” and to use kind words all the time (kindergarten).

  • Children shared with each other about a special activity they did over Christmas break, and they were asked to use their senses (I saw, I heard, etc.) as they communicated in order to make it more effective (1st grade).

  • Children are consistently discussing how to communicate empathy and respect for each other, in the pursuit of becoming a better team (2nd grade).

  • Children create original vocabulary sentences each week before the spelling test and then get three friends to peer-edit them. They are also learning that being honest is being helpful (5th grade).


Next month, elementary will celebrate the Week of Reading with guest readers, a character parade, Dr. Seuss birthday parties, buddy reading, pajama day, and a 5th grade read-in. We are planning some fun and exciting reading activities for your children here at school, and we hope that you will come celebrate with us at Family Reading Night on March 1. More information about this special week coming soon!

If you’re a preK-2nd grade parent and you’d like to learn how to more effectively read and discuss books at home with your child, please join Mrs. Julie Woolery for her Mother Read class, starting January 25 (2-3 p.m.).

Megan Roe, elementary principal
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
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Megan Roe

P.S. Check out the schedule for our Week of Reading and the reminder about re-enrollment (re-registration)!

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Get involved through PTF!

PTF Connections:

Happy New Year! How was Christmas for everyone?  I hope all of you had a fun time with your family.

We thank many of you for attending the coffee morning on December 15!  It was an enjoyable coffee time with our guest speaker, Mr. Tony Novak, the chef from Mogu Mogu Cooking, who shared his cannoli, a traditional Italian pastry.

PTF is planning to continue to hold occasional events with morning coffee or afternoon tea and guest speakers. If you would like to recommend someone to be a guest speaker, please contact us at ptf@ocsi.org.

PTF’s popular class, Mother Read, starts in a few weeks.  This course will be taught by Mrs. Woolery.  Through this course, you can learn the joy of reading English books with your child(ren) at home and tips for making it even more enjoyable.  Mother Read welcomes all parents from PK3 to 2nd grade, including those who are not confident with their English levels and have been hesitant to attend.  This course is filled with fun and laughter, and everyone can enjoy it even if they cannot speak in English.

  • There will be 8 classes in this course, which will take place at Room 202 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Thursdays.  Parents are welcome to participate in the classes at any time and whenever it’s convenient.
  • We look forward to seeing many of you in Mother Read classes!

PTF would also like to host cooking classes.  Would you like to volunteer to show other parents how to cook one or two dishes?  As OCSI parents come from various countries, we would like for you to share recipes of some cuisines of your own country.  If you are interested, please contact us at ptf@ocsi.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Yumi Horii
PTF Director


In transition? Use a RAFT!

OCSI Connections:

Transitions are part of our lives, and they range in size. We transition from home to school. We transition from the school to spring vacation. We transition elementary to middle school. And upon graduation, we transition to college and career.

What are some big transitions you’ve experienced? Big transitions I’ve experienced include moving from Japan to the US in 1973, going off to college in 1981, and moving from the US to Japan in 1987. And as I look back on my transitions, I found that “[l]eaving right is a key to entering right.”


You might be wondering, “What can help me or my student leave right?” One thing I’ve found that helps is the RAFT model. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Reconciliation: With whom do you need to reconcile?
  • Affirmation: To whom do you want to say thank you?
  • Farewell: To what people, places, and possessions do you want to say good-bye?
  • Think destination: How does your destination compare to your current situation?
We use the RAFT model with our seniors to help them transition to college and career. Here are some examples of how we do this:
College Career Resources

Another thing I’ve found that helps people leave right is doing personal reflection. Here are some questions that are designed to help you do some initial reflection:
  • What words come to mind when you think of “transition”?
  • What excites/concerns you about transition?
  • What do you think of the following statement? “Leaving right is a key to entering right.
  • What helps/hinders healthy transition?
  • How helpful is the RAFT model?
Remember, transitions are part of life, and “[l]eaving right is a key to entering right.” (If you found this helpful, you might like to read The Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition.)

Michael B. Essenburg, head of school
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
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P.S. Want to use the RAFT model to do some further reflection? Try the list of questions below!

Reconciliation (Ephesians 4:32):
  • What does “reconciliation” mean?
  • What’s comfortable/comfortable about reconciliation?
  • How can reconciliation help you leave well?
  • With whom do you need to reconcile before your leave?
  • What will you do?
Affirmation (I Thessalonians. 5:11):
  • What words come to mind when you think of “affirmation”?
  • How do you feel about giving affirmation?
  • How can affirmation help you leave well?
  • Whom do you want to affirm before you leave?
  • What will you do?
  • What words come to mind when you think of “farewell”?
  • What’s satisfying/unsatisfying about saying farewell?
  • How can saying farewell help you leave well?
  • What people, places, and possessions do you want to say farewell to?
  • What will you do?
Think destination:
  • What’s your destination like?
  • How do you feel about your destination?
  • How can thinking about your destination help you leave well?
  • How is your destination the same/different than your current setting?
  • What will help/hinder your adjustment to your destination?
  • What’s next?

Thanks for praying for OCSI


Happy New Year!

OCSI Connections:

Happy New Year to you and your family! I trust you had a good holiday. My wife and I enjoyed visiting with family in the US.

Essenburg Family

Re-enrollment (re-registration) begins on Friday, January 5:

  • Please note that re-enrollment (re-registration) is earlier than last year. This is because we have several classes that are nearing capacity, and we want to help incoming families to be able to apply starting February 5 so they can make informed decisions before the Japanese school year starts in April.
  • Please reserve your seat by February 2 for next school year before new students are admitted (starting February 5). Please come to the office to make payment (8:00-3:30). Please bring your completed re-enrollment form. For further information, please see this lettertuition/fee schedule, and re-enrollment form, all of which were mailed and emailed to you in December.

Key dates:

  • 1/5: Re-enrollment (re-registration) begins.
  • 1/15: Martin Luther King Jr. Day – no school
  • 1/26: Teacher work day – no school for students
  • 2/5: Open enrollment, with new students being given available seats
  • 2/19: Presidents’ Day – no school

Michael B. Essenburg, head of school
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
Calendar • Contact • Donate • Handbook • Prayer Guide • Facebook • Typhoon