Washington Japanese Heritage Center (Keisho) is hosting an open house for families of students interested in learning Japanese language and culture.

Date: August 27, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

April 1, 2020

Dear Keisho Center families,

We hope your families are staying safe and managing as best as possible during these challenging times. A little over two weeks ago we announced our closure due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, the spread of the virus has continued to grow since that time.

Yesterday, the governments of Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. issued stricter stay-at-home orders to all residents. Also, the Governor of Maryland has closed all nonessential businesses across the state and prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people. Federal authorities have extended social distancing guidelines for at least another month.

To follow these regulations and proactively help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Keisho Center will transition to distance learning beginning this Saturday, April 4. In-person Keisho Center classes at Norwood School are canceled for the rest of this school year.

Distance Learning
Keisho Center will transition to distance learning beginning this week and will offer all students online activities on these dates:
  • April 4
  • April 18
  • April 25
  • May 2
  • May 9
  • May 16
  • May 30
  • June 6
Note: There are no activities on April 11 (Spring Break) nor May 23 (Memorial Day).

Teachers will use the most appropriate format for the ages of the students and the content to be taught which might include Zoom, Google Hangouts, or other online platforms. The length of each session (30-60 minutes), group size, and learning activities will vary depending on the ages and specific needs of each class. Teachers will be sending emails with instructions and details about the start time, length, and expectations for their specific online sessions.

Collectively, our faculty has many years of online teaching experience and the effectiveness of virtual instruction strategies has been demonstrated (please see here and here). Our teachers are diligently working together to share best practices for distance learning. We greatly appreciate your support and patience as we gain more understanding of what works best for our students.

Next Steps
We acknowledge the impact this transition has on family routines and thank you for your continued partnership in working through these changes. We understand and share the emotions of our students, families, and staff and are confident we will move forward in a way that continues to serve the needs of the Keisho Center community.

Keisho Center's Board of Directors, Education Team, and Core Group are in ongoing discussions about our activities moving forward. We have begun to create a Distance Learning Guide to help students, parents, and staff learn the protocols for this new form of learning at Keisho Center. Please stay tuned for more detailed information on how we intend to continue to deliver our high-quality program during the closure.

Thank you for your continued understanding, patience, and grace. We are all in this together. If you have any questions or concerns, including inquiries about financial aid or distance learning issues, please don't hesitate to contact us at info@keisho.org.

Keisho Center
The Washington Japanese Heritage Center ("Keisho Center"), opened in April 2004, is a place for children and families residing in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area to learn and explore their Japanese linguistic and cultural heritages. We are located at the beautiful Norwood School just off I-495 in Bethesda, MD.

Quick Overview
  • Students working in small classes and mixed-age groups
  • A hands-on, student-centered approach involving all of our students in a variety of projects and activities
  • Our main goal is to foster a desire to continue learning Japanese language and culture
Additional Information
The Washington Japanese Heritage Center (Keisho Center) is designed to meet the needs of families residing here permanently or for the foreseeable future who want their children to learn the language and culture of their heritage. Keisho Center provides:
  • An environment tailored to the needs of each child so as to develop a life-long interest in Japanese culture while maintaining and expanding their Japanese language skills.
  • A student-centered curriculum based on Progressive Education theory to increase the children's knowledge of Japanese culture as well as maintain and develop their skills in the language.
  • An opportunity to study in an atmosphere that respects each child as an individual, building their self-esteem and social skills so that each child can become a contributing member of the communities.
For those families who plan to live outside Japan, there are few opportunities to use Japanese on a daily basis. While traditional methods of studying of Japanese often lead to frustration, Keisho Center goal is to develop a desire in each child to continue learning throughout his or her life. Come join us!

Some of our students have Japanese family members. Others have lived in Japan and want to continue learning Japanese. We do our best to welcome everyone. Students should be motivated to come to Keisho and learn, have some Japanese language ability, be able to understand and follow basic age-appropriate instructions in Japanese, and have a home environment that supports their Japanese language studies.

Program Overview
Keisho Center provides a natural learning environment where children develop their knowledge about current and traditional Japanese culture, Japanese history, and Japanese language skills. Our children build their self-esteem, self-confidence, and the social skills needed to support their lives in both Japanese and American communities.

Keisho Center offers a developmentally appropriate approach where each child can learn at his/her own pace. We recognize that each child has a unique learning style and particular strengths and weaknesses. It is very important for our children to realize that they can learn by themselves and that learning is a joy. Our children develop critical thinking skills which they apply to academic and social problems in both Japanese and American cultural contexts.

Keisho Center recognizes that our multicultural children are in a unique, fortunate, and sometimes difficult situation of living in two worlds, Japanese and American. Our program views and helps develop the whole child, supporting and validating their cognitive, social, emotional and artistic development.

The Standards for Foreign Language Learning issued by the National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project identifies the essential 5 C's of any language program:
  • Communication: Language is always a tool for communication, which can take place face-to-face, in writing, and/or reading. At the Japanese Heritage Center, children have a variety of opportunities to communicate with their peers in many different ways.
  • Culture: Exposure to another language leads to new knowledge and understanding of the culture that uses that language, in this case, Japanese.
  • Connection: Learning another language provides a connection to a whole new set of knowledge and a different perspective on the world.
  • Comparing: Encountering another culture provides language learners with a basis for comparison and evaluation. By comparing Japanese and American cultures and languages, children expand and enrich their own personal culture, knowledge, and experience, as well as their views of the world.
  • Communities: Learning another language also gives children an opportunity to be able to participate in multilingual communities both at home and around world in many different ways. Learning a language and culture in this environment fosters the development of an open mind, insightful viewpoints, and acceptance of others.

Integrated Curriculum
At Keisho Center, the Japanese language is taught as a part of an integrated curriculum, not in isolation. Children use the language as a tool for listening, speaking, reading and writing, while working on individual and small group projects. While a variety of instructional strategies are used, the primary model is a hands-on approach with cooperative groups.

Teaching and learning occur in a child-centered, open-ended environment. Each child finds his/her own learning style and life-long interest in Japanese culture and language while maintaining and expanding their current language skills in both Japanese and English. Peer teaching in cooperative, multi-age groups helps guide the children toward becoming independent, self-directed learners.

Our classroom style gives children a sense of community, helping children develop many friendships at the Japanese Heritage Center while they work together to learn and discover something new - learning which may not be available from a book. At Keisho Center, children develop a sense of responsibility, self-respect and pride in the fact they belong to both Japanese and American communities by acquiring the cultures of their heritage in an enjoyable learning environment.

Class placement is based upon each student's age or current grade and their Japanese language ability. Their learning and practice are facilitated by our teachers:
  • BOURNE Yayoi
    Miyagi Gakuin Women's University (Degree in Early Childhood Education), Childcare qualifications&Preschool Instructor license, Hawaii Pacific University (B.A. in Communication Studies), Human Academy Japanese Instructor education course, Japanese Instructor qualification, Japanese Teacher at Gunston Elementary School (VA).
  • AUSTIN Miho
    B.A. in Psychology, University of Texas at Austin. Served as a board member of Brooklyn Japanese American Family Association. Worked at Prime Service department of Nomura Securities Int'l.
  • EBISAWA Mika
    Master's degree, Yokohama National University Graduate School of Education; teachers certificates: kindergarten, elementary, middle and high schools
  • ENDO-DAVIS Coreen
    B.A. Mass Communication Studies, University of California, Los Angeles; Elementary Education Certificate, Chaminade University; ESL-trained with lead teacher experience at the elementary level; Substitute Teacher at Arlington Public Schools, Virginia
  • KEYS Ayumi
    Former JMSDF (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force) Avionics Technician; studied Early Childhood Education at University of Maryland; former owner of Family Child Care Center in MD.
  • KOGA Tomomi
    B.A. in English, Kumamoto Gakuen University. Certificate in Advanced Japanese Language Teaching. Worked as a Japanese as a second language teacher and teacher trainer in Australia and in Japan.
  • KOSHIYA Keiko
    B.A. in Chemistry, Department of Liberal Arts, International Christian University (ICU); Translator/Editor
  • NAGAOKA Maiko
    M.A. in Anthropology, Nagoya University, Certified high school teacher in Japan, Parenting consultant & author.
  • NISHIDA Masayo
    B.S. in Forestry, Department of Agriculture, Shinshu University; Licensed in preschool education.
  • SEAT Mina
    Ph.D. candidate at Fukuoka University Graduate School (ABD) in English linguistics and English and American literature. President at M&K Communication, Inc., Certified high school teacher in Japan, Adjunct Professor at University of Maryland Baltimore County.
  • SHIRATA Akane
    Teacher, Stevens Cooperative School, Hoboken, NJ; TA, UMUC Online Japanese; Master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education, George Mason University; licensed teacher
  • SMITH Chie
    B.A. in Piano and Education, Senzoku Gakuen College of Music. Music teacher for Yokohama City Public Junior High Schools; Private Piano Teacher over 20 years' experience; Certified Calligraphist and Teacher of Calligraphy for Georgia Japanese Language School.
  • TEACHING ASSISTANTS (TA): Masayoshi Kamizono, Yuko Stack, and Ryoko Tritten

Class Fees
  • Tuition: $700 per semester (One-time, full-year payment: $1300 ($100 discount))
  • Siblings: $650 (One-time, full-year: $1200 ($100 discount))
  • One-time admission fee: $40 (non-refundable)
  • Small book fee TBD for advanced classes

Class Schedule
Saturdays 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

  • 2003
    • November - Start of Core Group
  • 2004
    • March - Incorporation in Virginia
    • April - Pilot program begins with 28 students in three classes
    • September - Classes held at Lowell School
    • October - IRS Non-Profit Designation
  • 2005
    • March - First performance at Annual Cherry Blossom Festival
    • September - Classes held at River Road Unitarian Congregation
  • 2006
    • September - Seitokai (student council) formed
  • 2008
    • January - First Mochi Tsuki held
    • June - First yearbook published
  • 2009
    • September - Student enrollment reaches 48 students in seven classes
    • December - First undokai held
  • 2011
    • September - Keisho moves to current home at Norwood School
  • 2012
    • September - Student enrollment reaches 88 students in eight classes
  • 2015
    • September - Student enrollment reaches 97 students
    • Pilot Adult Program begins with 10 students
  • 2019
    • Keisho Center celebrates its 15th anniversary
    • September - Student enrollment grows to 114 in nine homerooms
Keisho Family Account

The Keisho Family Account is available for families registered with the Keisho Center. Login required.

Washington Japanese Heritage Center - Keisho Center
Phone: 703-868-3241 (during class hours)
Email: info@keisho.org
Classes Held at:
8821 River Road
Bethesda, MD 20817 Map and Directions
Mailing Address
Keisho Center P.O. Box 142
Cabin John, MD 20818-0142
Contact - info@keisho.org • Copyright 2020 - Washington Japanese Heritage Center • All Rights Reserved