JAPANESE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LIFE
A March 2003 survey of 838 elementary students (via questionnaires distributed to schools in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama prefecture) showed that most children enjoyed elementary school, with 46.1% replying that it was "very fun," 30.3% that it was "somewhat fun" and 17.6% that it was "more fun than not." However this feeling was clearly not shared by all students: 5.9% found elementary school either "not very fun" or "not fun at all." As for how much they had understood of their studies in the six years at elementary school, 37.6% replied at least 80%, 31.5% replied between 70 to 80%, but approximately 30% had entered junior high school without much confidence in what they had learned. Although nearly half of the students reported enjoying the 6th grade the most, higher percentages of bullying and truancy are indicated in the upper grades, with 40% having been subject to bullying or peer group exclusion. As students advance in grade, it appears that students become very polarized in their experience of school, either experiencing it a fun or difficult environment. Source: Daily Yomiuri
HOW TO ENROLL YOUR CHILD IN A JAPANESE SCHOOL
To enroll a child who has newly arrived in Japan, go to Ward Office (Ku-yakusho) with your child and apply for an alien registration (gaikokujin tourokusho) on behalf of the child. You must bring proof of your address as the school your child is going to attend is designated according to the address. No photograph is needed. When you have received the alien registration card, proceed to the Board of Education (kyouiku iinkai) office in Ward Office. The kyouiku iinkai office will telephone the school your child will attend to make an appointment for the parents and child to meet the principal (kouchou mensetsu), usually the next day. School can usually commence immediately after the interview.
When your child has moved and are changing address from within Japan: parents need to visit the ward office to submit a change of address (juusho henkou). The rest of the procedure for registering with the new school is the same as above.
Should your child be already resident in this Ward and you wish to transfer from an international school, parents should take the child's alien registration card to the Board of Education office to begin enrollment procedures. The child does not have to be present.
Internet Articles / Essays
Off to School ... Kansai Time Out - April 2000. Catriona Chalmers offers an insight into the nyugakkoshiki on the first day of Japanese elementary school.
Elementary School Fun For Most Source: Child Research Net
A Day in the Life of Kentaro Excellent feature pages with details of just-before-school-morning activities at home, going to school, classroom activities, school life, after school activities, evening activities at home. The website, called "The Lives of Japanese Elementary School Students", is a message from Japanese elementary school students intended for their peers who are studying Japanese overseas; See also A Day with Kentaro; Access the front page here.
Explore the staff room, media room, gym, lunch room and sickbay of Miyake Elementary School online as well as Daily Life that goes on in the school.
Kids Web Japan's School pages give an overview of school life, what children learn and what goes on inside Japanese schools, from classroom activities to after school clubs. It also offers information on what is studied, a typical time-table, lunch offerings, games played by students, and more.
Something's Gotta Give: Juggling Public School, Language Immersion & a Home Education (Scroll down to read article.)
Find a pictorial account of School life at Hamamatsu Higashi Elementary School
A World of Wonder Chronicle of a visit to and of life at Nissho Elementary School and also more here.
Positive Experience at Local Public School: A Group Effort by Lynda Watson A warm and funny account of an expat navigating the hazards of shogakko parenting.