Are you ready for Japanese kindergarten? Sharing our experience and tips for preparing for Japanese school.
Every kindergarten requires parents to make a number of handmade bags. You can make them yourself, purchase some on Amazon Japan or find some talented moms to make them with the exact dimensions for you. Some kindergartens are relaxed and do not require much preparation.
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Preparing for Japanese Yochien (Kindergarten )
Our list included precise dimensions for a number of bags. Our yochien requires the following:
– smock + smock bag
– seat cushion + seat cover
– picture 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
All of the above have to have name tags sewn/ironed onto them with your child`s name and class name in hiragana. Some kindergarten also require the purchase of 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 aluminum bento box with a band, chopsticks with a case, spoon, fork, cup, toothbrush and 2 obento napkins – all need to be labeled with child` name and class name, and to be replaced the following year when they enter a new class.
Parent meeting attendance is also required. The intro meeting prior to the start of school is required as parents are given class assignment, student names list, 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.
Mothers are expected to spend their mornings preparing 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 after Golden Week in May, when the school schedule extends past the morning, to perfect their morning obento making routine.
Finally, most yochiens start on a half morning schedule in April so that the children can get used to their new environment so expect your child to spend 2.5 hours or less at school for the first month. Good luck!
P.S. Visit our Educating your Children in the Japanese School System posts
Preparing for Japanese Yochien (Kindergarten)
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