Center for Education and Research
the Home Page of
Boston Higashi School
Musashino Higashi Gakuen is
composed of two kindergartens, an elementary school, a junior high school,
and a specialized high school. The
kindergarten started in 1964, followed
by the elementary school in 1977, the
junior high school in 1983, and then the
specialized high school in 1986.
Thus the educational system is
complete, with the integration of students with autism and regular
present (as of 5/1/2017), the total enrollment (kindergarten through high
school) is 1578, of whom 467(30%) are autistic, and the number of staff
The breakdown of students at each school is as follows (as of
555 (59 are autistic)
Junior High School
Specialized High School
When the kindergarten opened in 1964,
there happened to be one child who later was diagnosed autistic.
The founder wholeheartedly accepted
him. That was
the beginning of the education for children
with autism at Musashino Higashi Gakuen.
parents of children with autism all over Japan knocked on the door of the
kindergarten, believing that their sons and daughters would not be turned
away and that they would be better off at Musashino
Higashi Gakuen Kindergarten than elsewhere.
The number of children attending Musashino
Higashi Gakuen naturally increased. The
condition of these children, however, seemed to regress when they finished
the kindergarten and returned to their local schools that apparently could
not handle them appropriately. "Please
build an elementary school to continue education for our sons and
daughters" was the ardent cry of their parents.
Having toiled very hard and long in
order to respond to parents' pleas, Higashi
Elementary School was established. Six
years later, Higashi Junior High School opened.
Three years after the opening of the
Junior High School, Higashi Specialized High School
began as a preparatory educational school to help students prepare to
become respected members of society.
Higashi Gakuen's predominant features are Mixed
Education and Daily
Life Therapy for students with
the mixed educational setting, students with autism are integrated with
their regular peers for part of full-day curriculum.
Therapy, developed by the founder of the school promotes
self-care skills and ultimately social independence.
The consequence of these educational
programs has proven enormous. Some
outcomes of this education are described here. The
total number of students with autism who have graduated from the
Specialized High School, as of 3/31/2017, is
Out of this number,
students are presently working in ordinary
have been placed in sheltered
and 92 students
proceeded to advanced schools, such as colleges
, technical schools or vocational training centers (9%).
While it is believed that individuals with autism are extremely
difficult to educate, the above-mentioned number attained as the
consequence of our educational practice of first developing self-care
skills, then self-reliance and independence and finally full
rehabilitation to society, has not been duplicated in any other part of
Regular students, who are
constantly exposed to autistic peers, naturally gain a readiness and
generosity to accept friends with handicaps, which nurtures spontaneous
attention and care for the weaker members of society. They
are also challenged to stretch the limit of their own potential, as
students with autism who make tremendous efforts to attain their goals
positively influence them. We
examples among Junior High School students. The
regular Junior High school students enthusiastically attempt to establish
physical and emotional rapport with their peers with autism.
At the same time they also participate
in community volunteer activities at nursing homes for the elderly, while
diligently engage in their studies and succeed in entrance examinations
for top-level high schools, either public or private.
They are often very active in
extracurricular activities such as gymnastics, track and field, dancing.
They score high marks at Tokyo local
tournaments and take part in Kanto regional and national tournaments.
Needless to say, the education of Musashino
Higashi Gakuen is successful not only for students with autism,
but also for regular students.
It has been widely recognized that Musashino
Higashi Gakuen has many unique features as a private school.
The reputation of our successful
educational programs for autistic children spread overseas, and by 1984
40 international children with autism were enrolled.
School was started in 1987
to meet the needs of international students, together with a strong
support from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, U.S.A.
At present, Boston
Higashi School (total enrollment is over 130, ages 3 to 21) is run
by both Japanese and American staff. The
majority of the students are American, with others from U.K., Ireland,
Yugoslavia, Venezuela, Colombia, Kuwait, Angola, the Philippines, Hong
Kong, Puerto Rico and Taiwan, etc. The
pillar of the education is Daily Life Therapy,
which has been highly evaluated by both professionals and parents.
Every year we witnesses striking
results of our education, which is now being introduced to other countries
through media, academic journals and conference presentations.
Now, Boston Higashi School, as well
as its parent school, Musashino Higashi Gakuen,
is enjoying worldwide recognition and more and more people from all over
the world are visiting Musashino Higashi Gakuen
to observe our education. Specialists
from U.S.A., U.K., Sweden, Iceland, Korea and Taiwan among others have
visited us over the past years. In
Japan, parents, teachers of public and private schools and many other
people who hear about and are interested in our school through TV and
newspaper articles visit us in great numbers on open school days.
MHG receives many applications every year but cannot accept all of them because of the strict governmental approved capacity.
Opening the Education Center in 2006 was the answer MHG made to respond to the strong requests for Daily Life Therapy education by the children and their parents from all over Japan.
The center provides a variety of programs (learning program, school program, summer program and so on) and over 600 children participate throughout the year today. The daily life experience course and music classes have been added in 2008 and more programs will be developed sequentially for older ages through adolescence. In addition, the center provides education guidance for parents and seminars and presentations to the specialists to introduce our autism education domestically and internationally.
Kiyo Kitahara and her
Kitahara, founded Musashino
Higashi Gakuen and Boston Higashi School. Kiyo
Kitahara, who developed the method of education called Daily
Life Therapy and devoted her life
to the education of children died on January
14, 1989 at the age of 63. Katsuhei
passed away on April 16, 1995.
Staffs are fully committed with
constant effort to continue their legacy and to further develop their
theories and practices of education. The
entire staff is also striving to gain a wide range of vision by taking
part in various study activities.
(For details of Dr.
Kiyo Kitahara, click here.)
Home Page of Boston Higashi School
Descriptions of the programs and their educational application of Daily
Life Therapy are available.