primary school

11 Things If Your Child Is Starting Primary School In Japan

Education is of great importance in Japan. While Japanese schools, be it primary school or high school, share many similarities with western schools, some aspects may surprise visitors. Japan has helped shape its youth to make a safe and harmonious society through its unique educational system.

Everyone eats the same meal for lunch, which students serve

Students are expected to serve their classmates their meals while wearing white masks, gowns, and bandannas from the school lunch area. Students clean up and return meal containers after lunch under the supervision of a teacher. Traditionally, students in Japan are taught to eat the same type of meal (regardless of their preferences) and finish it within the allotted time.

Students and teachers eat together in the classroom

The tables and chairs in primary schools and especially junior high schools arranged so that teachers and students eat lunch together. Except in some elementary schools, there is no cafeteria or set area to eat.

Even during school vacations, students and teachers work

Students in junior high school belong to their clubs, and teachers supervise them; therefore, activities and sports training continue throughout the break. Furthermore, during the summer vacations, students expected to learn and finish their homework. 

There are no janitors

The Japanese school system does not rely on janitors for cleanliness. Rather, students clean their campus, including the restrooms. Souji, or daily cleaning, is part of a school day of every international school in Japan. The vice-principal and principal, students, teachers, and other school staff all participate in the cleaning, with each person assigned specific areas.

A student cannot fail a class

No matter how they perform or their test scores, Japanese kids move up a grade without fail. While students may flunk every test and miss classes, they can still participate in graduation. It is only in entrance examinations that their test scores matter in high school or university.

Students are not sent out of the classroom by teachers

The Japanese Constitution declares in article 26 that “everyone has the right to receive an equal education…” Consequently, Japanese teachers cannot expel students from classes. Therefore, Japanese teachers used to keeping their cool and remaining composed throughout the lesson.

Morning and after-school club activities

International schools in Japan have different clubs that offer students a chance to explore and practice what they like. Students who belong to sports clubs participate in after-school activities and before-school activities. These are sports clubs where children run several kilometres every day to stay fit. Students also very involved in clubs, and most of them involved in at least one. 

Japanese International Schools

A well-established sector of international schools in Japan located in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya, while others spread countrywide. Most expatriate students attend international schools, which are also popular with Japanese students. 

Substitutes aren’t available at the school.

There is no concept of a substitute teacher in Japanese schools! In Japanese schools, students are expected to work by keeping quiet in a teacher’s absence. They must study throughout the day, even if their teacher isn’t present.

Students Are Trained To Self Defense

Are you aware that the Japanese students trained to fight with dangerous intruders; they even get weapons? In emergencies, teachers and students will use the weapons hung on the school wall. They are called ‘Sasumata.’

No Exams For The First 3 Years Of School

As early as kindergarten, test-taking is common practice, making teaching young children a challenge for both teachers and parents. The Japanese prioritize personality development during the first three years of schooling. As they believe people primarily tested by their character.

So, now you know which things to keep in mind before enrolling your child in a Japanese primary school. Discipline like this in the classroom prepares children for life’s hardships, which require hard work, determination, and motivation to succeed.