in Japan
CAJ Insights: Approach to Learning in Elementary School

Two years ago the elementary teachers decided to articulate our elementary ethos. We chose three words: faithful, grateful and caring. The 2016-2017 school year was our first opportunity to share these with the students and community at large. We spent time in the classrooms and at chapel discussing what those words mean and modeling what they look like.

Some people may ask, “Why do you have an ethos when there already is a mission and student objectives?” All we do at CAJ is to “equip students to serve Japan and the world for Christ.” The student objectives are responsible learner, discerning thinker, productive collaborator, effective communicator and faithful caretaker. With CAJ’s overall mission and objectives in mind, we sought to pare things down to 3 commonly understood words for younger children.

At CAJ, we want to foster an environment where students learn about God’s world so they can be faithful, grateful and caring. Faithful in their studies. Grateful for all that God has created and for his plan of redemption and restoration. Caring in doing their best.

We want thinkers who will apply what they know about God’s world to be faithful and caring. Faithful to the truths they have learned from the Bible. Caring in how they apply these truths to their life and God’s world.

We want collaborators who respect themselves and others as being created in God’s image and are caring, faithful, and grateful. Caring in working with others and creating a safe environment for everyone in the group. Faithful in doing their share of the work. Grateful for the contributions of others in the group.

We want effective communicators who are caring and grateful. Caring enough to be certain that there is mutual understanding of all involved. Grateful in spoken, written and nonverbal communication.

We want caretakers who are caring and faithful in serving God and others, and caring for God’s creation. Caring is shown not just to other people, which is very important, but also God’s world and our school. Faithful means that others can count on us to help and to care for them and the world around us.

As we begin a new school year, we continue to look for opportunities to recognize our students as they demonstrate faithfulness, gratefulness and caring.


Jean Hino is the Head Teacher for the elementary school. Jean has been a part of the CAJ community for more than 20 years. Jean and her family first joined as members of Student Support Services (SSS), then her daughters started school here, then her son, and eventually Jean began working at the school. She has served as an elementary classroom teacher, second grade teacher, interim elementary principal, elementary technology integration specialist and elementary head teacher. As elementary head teacher, Jean focuses on curriculum development with the elementary principal, director of learning and elementary classroom teachers. She also spends time in the various classrooms supporting the students and teachers as well as hosting parent cafes and book discussions.

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