12 Must-Read Articles If Your Child Is Starting School In Japan

Your One-Stop Guide To Japan's Public Schooling

Get fully ready for what to expect, what to prepare, what to ask and how to support your child in the Japanese public school system.

Often referred to as the “Month X,” April in Japan is all about closure and new beginnings: whether it’s moving in, moving out, starting a new job or even starting a new life in Japan, this month will surely keep you busy. For many parents in Japan, however, April is also the beginning of their children’s school life, and with this comes a long list of preparation and research.

If you have a child starting public school in Japan this April, or you’re a parent considering going through the Japanese public system, here are 12 articles to get you ready for the journey.

1. Preparing to Enter a Japanese Elementary School

From the bags to buy, to the slippers you’ll wear at school and the things to keep in mind before the entrance ceremony, this is your one-stop guide to all you need to do before your child (and you) become part of Japan’s school community.

2. Adventures in Entering a Japanese Elementary School

One foreign mother’s personal account on what she and her family did (and felt) prior to their kid’s official entering in the Japanese education system.

3. Preparing Your Child to Walk to School in Japan Without You

Perhaps the biggest and most immediate change that accompanies your child’s graduation from kindergarten to elementary school in Japan is their newfound independence. But now they are ready — and so should you be. 

4. Pros and Cons of the Japanese Public School System

Japanese schools have long been criticized for excessive use of rote learning and cookie-cutter output of students. But as Japanese society changes, its schools are changing too. This article guides you into the things Japanese schools are doing well and at what you can do to supplement your children’s learning to foster their non-Japanese skills.

5. Is a Japanese School Best for Your Child?

What is best for my child? When the topic is education, and is further clarified as education in Tokyo, it’s a tough choice for everyone. The article examines some of the factors worth considering when making the decision of sending your child to the Japanese public system or not.

6. All You Need to Know About Tokyo Public School PTAs

Schools in Japan are just as much for the parents as they are for the kids. Read an outline of how those Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) generally work at public schools in Japan and how you can take part in them (or survive them).

7. Japanese School Lunches: More Than Just a Meal

Like most things here in general, Japan takes its catered elementary school lunches very seriously. More than just a meal, lunchtime at Japanese schools is considered on a par with school lessons in its educational importance. Read on to see why.

8. Savvy Tips for Avoiding Dreaded “Bento Stress”

But if your child attends school where they are required to bring their own lunch and your knowledge of that expands to spreading peanut butter on a sandwich…you may be falling a victim to “obento stress.” This article gives you tips on how to manage this stress and still rock your kid’s packed lunch.

9. Child Safety Tips From Japanese Schools

So your little ones are on the road alone, heading to school and you can’t just sit and stay cool. This article may help you feel safe for them, as it looks into Japanese schools’ safety guidelines for kids — in an attempt to understand what contributes to making this one of the safest countries in the world.

10. What To Do When: Problems Arise at Your Child’s Japanese School

© Photo by A Shino

Health problems, language problems, learning problems, fighting and bullying—during six years of elementary school your child is likely to face a number of issues. Here’s a quick guide on what to do if you notice that your child is facing certain problems at school and how to approach them.

11. Bullying in Japanese Schools

© Photo by Wen Tong Neo

Now, if one of the problems your child is facing at school goes as far as bullying, things will get more complicated. This article provides you with information on what Japan is doing to prevent such issues and tips on how to manage the situation if your child is involved.

12. The Ins & Outs of Japanese Elementary School Holidays

The academic year starts in full speed, but the holidays will come by even faster. This article gives you an idea on what Japanese schools usually do to keep the children occupied during school holidays.

Interested in more school-related stories from Japan? Stay connected with Savvy Tokyo for more upcoming features.

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