A life skill that adds up

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Why JAMS? 2017-09-01T00:06:15+00:00

Our Story

Two Decades of Teaching Excellence

Founded in 2001, JAMS is proud to be the only math school in the Portland and Beaverton area certified by the League for Soroban Abacus. We use the teachings of Abacus & Anzan instruction to build a solid and strong foundation of mental mathematics with lifelong skills.
Mental Math Calculation is a skill that children retain for life. Abacus gives any child the skills and confidence to excel in STEM related subjects beyond the classroom.

When a child experiences success, they naturally grow in confidence and self-esteem, as well as their desire to continue the pursuit of that success. What’s more, with our specialized instruction, your child will build a solid and strong foundation of Mental Mathematics with lifelong skills.

Our Mission

Creating Future Thought Leadership
We provide Abacus & Anzan instruction to build a solid and strong foundation of mental mathematics with lifelong skills. We are committed and dedicated to become the leading provider of brain development for all students. Abacus is not just power in itself but supports number sense (place value, and algebraic operations) concentration, patience, memory and judgment that in return increases brain development and power.

Bead by Bead
In providing Abacus instruction, our goal is to encourage students to succeed. When a child experiences success, they naturally grow in confidence and self-esteem, as well as their desire to continue the pursuit of that success. What’s more, with our specialized instruction, our hope for your child is to build a solid and strong foundation of Mental Mathematics with lifelong skills.

Why Abacus

An Ancient Skill for Modern Times

The Can DO Attitude
Many ask, how does the abacus provide a “life skill” in today’s world? And we say, it’s all in the attitude. Learning the abacus is more than just learning math, it teaches a lot about Japanese culture, and most importantly the concept of DO (pronounced ‘doh’). DO represents the ability to persevere. You may not have realized that this concept is applied in many other Japanese disciplines such as…

  • Judo
  • Kendo
  • Taekwando
  • Kado – flower arrangement
  • Sado – tea ceremony
  • Syuzando – Abacus

When your child applies DO to classes, with your support, your child will not only excel in math, but they will gain powerful life skills.

How it Works

It starts with success
We believe that by empowering your child to achieve success with the Abacus – by focusing on classroom lessons and homework assignments – your child will grow in areas that go well beyond the classroom.

Brain Power Today, Brain Power Tomorrow
Abacus is not just power in itself but supports number sense (place value, and algebraic operations), concentration, patience, memory and judgment, which in turn increases brain development and power.

Uncover Your Child’s Natural Talent
Every child is Intelligent and Gifted. The only difference is in the learning curve and the performance. This is because of the skills and tools a child has, or doesn’t have.

So give your child the skills and the best tools available – learning Mathematics through Abacus and Anzan. This is the best gift that you can pass on to your next generation.

Proven Success

Personalized Teaching That Puts Your Child Ahead

In less than a year Violet succeeded in reaching her goal. She is well ahead of her class in math and is continuing to reach higher goals. Her level of concentration and focus have shown marked improvement.

Kathi Johnson

To our Jacob, Abacus is more of a hobby than a study. That’s how much he loves abacus and the enjoyment for math has grown over the years as his ability and skills have improved. We’re very pleased with the JAMS and would recommend it to anyone!

Angela Lee

She has now understood that she can always excel at math just like science and languages if she puts the right amount of effort and hard work. We will always be grateful to you for helping our daughter to love Math just as much as her other subjects.

Divya & Arun Arakali
More Testimonials

Meet Our Leading Teachers

Your Child’s Success Is Our Success

Miwako Sakabayashi, Founder

Lovingly known as Sensei Miwako (‘sensei’ means ‘teacher’ in Japanese), Miwako grew up in her native country of Japan with the Abacus. When she first put her hand to a heavenly bead at age 7, her path was set. At the age of 12, she placed third in Japan’s National Abacus Competition, and her Abacus math accomplishments as an adult garnered a prestigious position in Japan’s banking industry.

She came to the U.S. in 1992 and settled in Oregon. With her love of the Abacus and a passion for working with children and teaching, she founded the Japanese Abacus Math School, JAMS, in 2001. For Miwako, there’s no greater sense of accomplishment than seeing a student’s face light up with confidence when they discover their mental calculation abilities and succeed with their class work.

And Miwako is a hands-on person – maybe that’s why she’s so skilled with the Abacus. She’s earned degrees in calligraphy, flower arranging, tea ceremony and sewing kimonos. Beyond the classroom, she still enjoys those activities, as well as getting creative in the kitchen or preparing genuine Japanese cuisine.

Two decades of Abacus Teaching Experience
Besides opening her own school, Miwako has been working to educate others about abacus throughout the region for 20 years. Her accomplishments include:

  • Richmond Elementary School, Portland, Oregon – January 1998 to December 1999
  • Woodstock Elementary School, Portland, Oregon – Fall 1999
  • 2001 Working on Abacus pilot program for 4th graders along with Dr. Leo Richards, Director, Montana Abacus Institute and Former Professor, University of Southern California
  • Saturday Academy 2007
  • Children’s Hour Academy May 2007-June 2008
  • Village Home (Home School) Fall 2008
  • Oregon College of Art and Craft Spring 2009
  • Oregon Episcopal School Spring 2009
  • Sherwood School District – Summer 2009
  • Portland State University – 2009 to present

Mika Comeaux, Parent Coordinator & Assistant Teacher

Mika Comeaux was born and raised in Japan and came to the U.S. to attend college and has remained ever since. Sensei Mika was an assistant teacher at the Japanese Montessori Children’s House before joining JAMS.

Mika always finds it fascinating to watch children adapt and excel with amazing skills in their own way, and looks forward to helping them to learn and grow. Her favorite part of being a key member of the JAMS team is knowing that she also learns and grows with every student at JAMS.