About the Director

Sybrina Ignatieva
和田 サブリナ

“Kia ora! Growing up in snowy Upstate New York as an armybrat, I’ve had amazing opportunities to travel the world from a young age. When I was a teenager I moved to New Zealand, where I studied Early Childhood Education & TESOL at uni and was later inspired further by my experiences at Waldorf-Steiner, Reggio-Emilia, & Montessori schools in Italy and Sweden. 

I moved to Japan in 2008 to teach kindy before opening tHG in 2014 when my baby was 7 months old. I enjoy cooking, getting out in nature, playing tennis, traveling to new places, singing (I used to sing the US national anthem at sporting events & was a back-up singer for a funk band in Ebisu), playing piano & ukulele, ice skating, and being silly & dancing with my children. 

tinyHappy Garden is a place I had been dreaming of for a very long time. I hope we can enjoy every day together & make lots of long-lasting memories!”

About the staff

The staff at the tinyHappy Garden hail from all corners of the globe. We have many talents, skills, educational backgrounds, and experiences. tHG is a community school; as well as regular full and part-time staff, we also collaborate with local universities and we are an active member in a global work-exchange programme. As a supporter of the local community, we welcome parents of our students, university students, interns, and other members of the community to visit school and share their talents or help us with our thematic projects and cultural explorations.

Join the Team

If you are passionate about early childhood education and would like to join the team,
please send your most current CV to, with “Staff” as the subject.