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Preparing for Japanese Kindergarten (Yochien)

japanese kindergarten yochien obento suppliesPreparing for Japanese kindergarten (yochien) is a time consuming task, especially as a foreigner. To prepare I was given a 128 page book listing rules, procedures, items to make, items to purchase, items to label and clothing to wear for different school events – entirely in Japanese.

Preparing for Japanese Kindergarten (Yochien)

The items to make list included precise dimensions for a number of bags that are supposed to be handmade by mothers. I had to make the following for my son`s preschool:japanese kindergarten bags

– smock + smock bag
– seat cushion + seat cover
– book bag
– indoor shoe bag
– pianika bag (piano + harmonica combined into one small instrument)
– gym bag
– bag for extra clothes
– bag for a jump rope
– bag for a cup
– marching band uniform bag
– scissors bag (seriously!?!)

japanese kindergarten yochien crayonsAll of the above have to have name tags sewn/ironed onto them with your child`s name and class name in hiragana. I also had to purchase 3 school uniforms (summer, winter, gym) three of which needed the school`s emblem ironed onto it, 3 different types of school hats – one of which needed a 1cm by 1cm cloth patch sewn onto it, indoor shoes, a school bag, an aluminium bento box with a band, chopsticks with a case, spoon, fork, cup, toothbrush and 2 obento napkins – all need to be labeled with my son`s name and class name. I cheated a bit and printed everything out then put clear tape over it.

We also have to attend a parent meeting prior to the start of school where we are given additional information and more items to label: a clay case, a box of crayons (every individual crayon in the box has to be labeled – 12 crayons), a notebook, glue and scissors. Note all yochiens are different. Some may require more items and some less. I believe we were accepted into one that requires a lot of work and time from mothers.

jpn kindergarten bento bookAlso, mothers are expected to spend their mornings preparing cute and delicious obentos (Japanese box lunch) for their kids. There is a sense of competition among mothers to see who can produce the most cute, appetizing, and healthy lunch. Mothers have till May, when the school schedule extends past the morning, to perfect their morning obento making routine.

Finally, most yochiens start the first month on a half morning schedule so that the children can get used to being away from the parent so expect your child to spend 2.5 hours or less at school for the first month.

 

Emblem to iron onto the uniform
Emblem to iron onto the uniform

 

Result
Result

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

** This content was originally published on Tokyo Stroller which has now merged with Best Living Japan. We hope you enjoy the new combined site. **

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Preparing for Japanese Kindergarten (Yochien)
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