The Ayla Method

Learning Through Music, Art, and Nature

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Core Beliefs

We believe that children have absorbent minds from birth to three years of age.
This age is when conscious learning has not yet emerged, and children will unconsciously soak up information from their surrounding environment, learning about it rapidly. At this stage, information and impressions shape and form their young minds. Therefore, daily experiences are vitally important to a child's development.

We believe that the child will have a conscious mind from three to six.
A child's mind is still absorbing at this stage, but consciousness begins to appear. Children start to know what they want and become more curious, creative, and imaginative. They will be thirsty for knowledge, begin to ask open-ended questions, and do open-ended activities.

Music, Art and Nature

Student laughing with teacher.


We are learning to discover self-expression through words, music, and movement.

Children who play or sing music regularly perform better in reading and math when they begin elementary school. In addition, children who play, sing, and dance to music increase their fine and gross motor skills, develop hand-eye coordination, and are better able to control their bodies. Those actively involved in music also tend to have high self-esteem and are better at playing with others.


We are learning to discover self-expression through words, music, and movement. Our students learn through creative themes and projects that inspire their curiosity.

Art for young children is about experimenting and exploring. The finished product may not look like art, but the creativity and discovery process is a valuable learning experience. Art and craft activities are an integral part of children's developmental play. Not only do art projects help with fine motor development, but they also help them gain self-confidence in what they can accomplish.


We are learning to plant and grow the seeds of wisdom.
Student walking outside with teacher.

At Ayla, students learn about environmental stewardship; and environmental education starts with hands-on experiments in science and nature. In turn, we believe this fosters personal growth and enhances social skills. Children at home have little opportunity to explore the wonders of plants, bushes, trees, and flowers. Children must be allowed time in their early years to interact with nature and living elements before they can understand it well enough to preserve it.

With our science and nature activities,  we provide opportunities for children to work together cooperatively to solve problems; and teach them about nutrition and health. These activities also allow them to make food choices based on new experiences.

Skills We Encourage

Five natural senses


Child Development Skills


Learning Styles

Ayla gives full attention and Individual Approach to each child to help them identify their learning styles.

Visual Learner
Auditory Learner
Physical Learner

Building on the Creativity of Children

Kids pretend to be astronauts!

Ayla International School was built under the vision of its founder, Puteri Zailan, to foster a nurturing and stimulating environment for children of all nationalities.

Through more than 30 years of experience as an early childhood educator, she felt that most of the curriculum for young children was too structured and not well guided and facilitated. Ayla's approach aims to educate the whole child in spirit, heart, and mind.

Ms. Zailan believes that children are the voice of the future and should have the opportunity to observe, investigate and experiment with things that interest them.

We exclusively designed our programs for parents who want their children to be independent, self-confident, and flexible learners. Ayla provides a friendly and homely environment that supports children to relax and focus on their current activities.

At Ayla, we want children to come to school to think and become curious, creative, and diligent young learners. Children will start the day with a classroom discussion.

We decorate each classroom with the children's art masterpieces. In addition, children are encouraged to use natural materials such as pine cones, seashells, twigs, and more for their spontaneous creation during art or playtime. These materials are freely available to encourage exploration, expression, and learning.

The goal to the Ayla Method, is to allow each child to be expressive and excited about learning. We believe that if you turn them onto learning now, it will follow them for the rest of their lives.

About Ayla

Students and teachers outside.

Ayla International School is a highly acclaimed international preschool and kindergarten school based in Tokyo, eastern Japan.

We designed our program to give children an environment for growth unmatched by traditional preschools.

An extraordinary teacher/child ratio ensures personal attention that encourages achievement and growth.

We believe that it is essential to foster the development of caring individuals who take an active interest in the world around them. Therefore, Ayla encourages all children to attend regardless of physical or academic ability, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status.

Facts About Ayla

Languages: Japanese and English
Maximum occupancy: 31students
Student-to-teacher ratio: 5:1
Average class size: 5 - 7 students

Founder's Profile

Ayla Founder Puteri Zailan with student.

Ayla International School was founded in 2003 by Puteri Zailan. She was awarded the Japanese Monbusho Scholarship to study Early Childhood Education in Tokyo, Japan, in 1989.

She later became the first foreigner to be granted the Japanese Early Childhood Certificate and license. Before starting Ayla International School, she taught in several Japanese kindergartens and international schools.

As a child, Ms. Zailan traveled and lived in different countries because of her father's work. Through her childhood experiences, she felt that it was an excellent opportunity to become multilingual.

She started the school to help children value their identities and cultural backgrounds while learning about diversity. Ms. Zailan designed the Ayla Method through her research with children. Most of her approach and inspiration stems from the likes of Jean Piaget, Rudolph Steiner, Loris Malaguzzi, and Erik Erikson.

Ms. Zailan is multilingual herself. She speaks native-level English, Malay, and Japanese. She can also speak a little Indonesian, German and Arabic because of her college studies.