Today I'd like to address some of the things that have been on a lot of our minds, when coping with the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. I have personally seen some of the effects on decision-making on a practical level, of the huge accommodations that schools have had to make to make schools a safe… Continue reading Impact of Covid-19 on education in Japan
Update: School closures / switch to online learning due to covid-19
Two Tokyo international schools close campuses for long durations At least two International schools in Tokyo are closing their campuses for long durations, with the American School in Japan shutting down for the remainder of the school year as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on curriculums. "Following the advice of the Japanese Government that all schools should… Continue reading Update: School closures / switch to online learning due to covid-19
A trip to a trick art museum makes for a good art lesson (on art perspective, famous art masterpieces), as well as a great holiday fun for the family... The above images were captured at the Yokohama trick art museum. Website: https://www.daska.jp/english/index.html/ See also https://www.japanhoppers.com/en/kanto/yokohama/kanko/1576/ 97 Yamashitachō, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken 231-0023 (Yokohama Chinatown Tencho-mon front… Continue reading Field-trip-art-lesson-and-holiday-fun-all-in-one
Navigating the Open Campus in the Heart of a Sweltering Summer
College guidance counselors generally tell students to have fun and enjoy their campus visits. But it has NOT been fun this summer ... instead, it has been physically exhausting walking sprawling campuses with my daughter in this heatwave. Being Round Two for me (the last time I went ... was with my son four summers… Continue reading Navigating the Open Campus in the Heart of a Sweltering Summer
Just another schoolday…
Introducing two new international schools
Announcing two new international schools, we have added these schools to our international schools directory listing. Laurus International School of Science Primary School Location: 3-4-17 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo Phone: 03-5422-7375 Fax: 03-5422-7376 firstname.lastname@example.org Opened April 2016, Laurus International School is ready to equip your children to become inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring global citizens. The… Continue reading Introducing two new international schools
Lakeland Lecture by Tom Blackwood: Bukatsu – An Essential Part of Japanese School Education
A lecture on "Bukatsu, an essential part of the Japanese educational system" given by Dr. Thomas Blackwood will be held on May 25th, at 7 pm in Shinjuku. See http://www.lcjapan.com/lectures for map details and queries, call: 03-3225-0425 Blackwood authored a chapter in the book Beyond Formal Schooling in Japan: Non-Formal Education and Civil Society (editor: Kaori… Continue reading Lakeland Lecture by Tom Blackwood: Bukatsu – An Essential Part of Japanese School Education
Current concerns: Available places in Tokyo wards’ childcare facilities continue to be oversubscribed due to burgeoning demand
The article below highlights the plight of working parents seeking quality childcare. Setagaya ward's available childcare spots was oversubscribed by more than double. Some of Tokyo's wards are seeing sharp population growth. To cope, some wards like Minato ward have been "operating 12 “urgent provisional nursery facilities” for the last 10 years, utilizing unused primary… Continue reading Current concerns: Available places in Tokyo wards’ childcare facilities continue to be oversubscribed due to burgeoning demand
Let children feel the power and richness of Japanese folktale and mythology through children’s picturebooks
Parents when choosing children's books these days, tend to dismiss folklore books and to opt in favour of books that are deemed to have academic enrichment value. But the beautiful art and narrative of children's picturebooks, especially of folklore and mythology, play more important roles than we know. These picturebooks stimulate the mind's eye and… Continue reading Let children feel the power and richness of Japanese folktale and mythology through children’s picturebooks
Terms related to how the Japanese school organizes student activity and life
Are you a newbie to Japanese elementary school? Many parents have asked for a glossary of educational terms that might be encountered in daily school life in Japan. Today, we list the terms encountered in Japanese elementary schools that are related to the organization of classrooms and student activity. The han In Japanese schools, each… Continue reading Terms related to how the Japanese school organizes student activity and life
Product Ping: Super Illustrated Kanji Learning Aid
Check out this new resource "Supaa Irasuto Kanji" for making kanji learning way easier for children, especially for dyslexic children. Available at Amazon.co.jp Above is the link for the year 1 and 2 book, the other 4 grades have their own book. Note: Designed for use with Japanese children, the product is all in Japanese. Look… Continue reading Product Ping: Super Illustrated Kanji Learning Aid
EDU WATCH: Recommendations-based admissions and AO exams to be introduced this fall for top universities; Gaishikei on the recruiting scene
Spring greetings to all our Edu Watch readers, It has been fickle spring weather for graduating students as well as new school entrants heading to their respective school ceremonies, their rites of passage. Relief, disappointment or excitement are in the air as school exams end, and school acceptances are announced or as graduates head out… Continue reading EDU WATCH: Recommendations-based admissions and AO exams to be introduced this fall for top universities; Gaishikei on the recruiting scene
Putting my son through his paces for college entrance exams is more like purgatory, than hell
As my son walked off this weekend with his bento lunchbox and waterflask to sit possibly his final set of entrance exam papers at a public university, I felt a distinct weight lift off from my shoulders, and a feeling like we're seeing the light at the end of the Tunnel of the Underworld of… Continue reading Putting my son through his paces for college entrance exams is more like purgatory, than hell
New facility-packed U. student apartments in Hachioji set higher standards for the nation…
Featured on this morning's NHK Asaichi TV program were recently built college student apartments at Hachioji, known for its green and picturesque precinct and the historic Mt Takao. The apartments offer good security, a workout gymnasium, its own communal onsen bath, an open outdoor lawn area for socializing, hip cafe popular hangout for college students,… Continue reading New facility-packed U. student apartments in Hachioji set higher standards for the nation…
EDU WATCH: School mergers bring longer commutes; On the REAL reason why Japanese students aren’t heading for a Harvard MBA any more
Sad news for Kanto-ites who enjoying taking their young for a day of creative play at the "Kodomo no Shiro" or the Children's Castle. ... and who have fond memories of our kids banging on drums, driving all manner of miniature "bu-bu" norimono-transportation or painting on walls. "The National Children’s Castle in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo,… Continue reading EDU WATCH: School mergers bring longer commutes; On the REAL reason why Japanese students aren’t heading for a Harvard MBA any more
文武両道: What is Bunbu Ryodo?
During the course of the junior high school life of my daughter and particularly in the past year, I have witnessed a huge transformation in her. From an extremely shy and mousy girl who would not speak before others during early elementary grade school years, and from someone who showed consistently lacklustre grades and… Continue reading 文武両道: What is Bunbu Ryodo?
Japanese students’ stellar showings at International Olympiads
Below we post the results of Japanese participants in the various Olympiads, (note: Japan does not seem to be participating in the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA) - among the Science Olympiads, this is the second newest one after Biology, and with the lowest profile.) Results from the 55th International Mathematical Olympiad July… Continue reading Japanese students’ stellar showings at International Olympiads
The MARCH acronym and the Feb-Mar banking stampede for a shot at admission to one of the prestigious MARCH universities
From mid-February through March, we are currently and will be witnessing hundreds of parents standing in excruciating long lines at various local banks. They are waiting to pay up the fees for their children to sit the entrance examinations at their targeted universities. Banking staff will make a beeline to assist every customer walking… Continue reading The MARCH acronym and the Feb-Mar banking stampede for a shot at admission to one of the prestigious MARCH universities
Inspired by Reggio Emilia education, the Geijutsushi program, now in its fifth year, sends artists to daycare centers and kindergartens
This excellent creativity-promoting project is worth reblogging... "Takamatsu city launched a program incorporating art into childcare in autumn 2009. Under this framework, artists work together with small children as "Geijutsushi" in day-care centers, kindergartens and Early Childhood Education and Care centers (ECEC center:kodomo en) to support them in following their interests and fully expressing their… Continue reading Inspired by Reggio Emilia education, the Geijutsushi program, now in its fifth year, sends artists to daycare centers and kindergartens
EDU WATCH: Japan’s child kidnapping figures surpass those of the US; Panel wants revamp of U. entrance exams
Panel calls for new university entrance exams (NHK -- Dec 23, 2014) Advisors to Japan's education ministry have called for revising the university entrance exam system. After about a year of study, the Central Council for Education submitted a series of recommendations to Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura on Monday. The Council pointed out that the… Continue reading EDU WATCH: Japan’s child kidnapping figures surpass those of the US; Panel wants revamp of U. entrance exams
Watch the Nawatobi National Jump Rope championships on TV on NY’s Eve
Tomorrow on New Year's Eve, when most students will be at home and most likely watching terrestrial TV's NY programmes with the family, one programme being aired on… Continue reading Watch the Nawatobi National Jump Rope championships on TV on NY’s Eve
EDU WATCH: Status quo on the retaining class size and student numbers
Opposed by "the education sector and others" the Finance Ministry has backed down from its earlier proposal to increase class size to 40... see YS article below for more. 35-student class size likely to stay The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec 14, 2014 The government will likely maintain the current class size of 35 for first graders… Continue reading EDU WATCH: Status quo on the retaining class size and student numbers
Finally! A gifted program for the square pegs of Japanese society
This is educational news that makes us sit up and take notice. In a country known more for cooperative conformity than for individual creativity, many educators will be excited and wish to see this program succeed, and proliferate and perhaps become the norm(?), paving the way for square pegged students to find their place under… Continue reading Finally! A gifted program for the square pegs of Japanese society
Shokugyou taiken gakushu – Trial work experience program
During the summer break of every second year public junior high school student here in Kanagawa prefecture, they are given an opportunity to work at a local convenience store, supermarket, or other company, usually in the service or manufacturing industry, in order to experience what working life is like. They are allowed to choose from two… Continue reading Shokugyou taiken gakushu – Trial work experience program
Time to stock up on stationery supplies before the 10 pct price hike
Kokuyo, the leading company and maker of stationery supplies has announced on Dec 5 (via Jiji press) that it will be raising the prices of 1,122 items by almost 10%, so for all of you with kids or teaching professionals in the educational system (unless you've gone entirely paperless!) you… Continue reading Time to stock up on stationery supplies before the 10 pct price hike
EDU WATCH: The class size debate and what teachers are worth
Dear readers, Today, in addition to our regular news summaries, I am also weighing in on the class size debate and other ideas expressed in this article: Are Japan's public school teachers paid too much? (Japan Times -- Nov 18 excerpted immediately below my opinion piece). The finance ministry thinks that the maximum class size for first year… Continue reading EDU WATCH: The class size debate and what teachers are worth
EDU WATCH: Is the world of Wall-E already here?
Hello readers, Is the WALL-E-esque world depicted in the Pixar movie creeping up upon us? A futuristic scene from the Pixar movie Wall-E In the future world of WALL-E, "humanity has become completely reliant on technology. Humans literally spend their lives lying on moving chairs, rendering them obese and… Continue reading EDU WATCH: Is the world of Wall-E already here?
EDU WATCH: Sporting accidents in schools on the rise
Autumn is here, and many schools are holding their sports festivals (undokai, taikusai) roundabout now. Showstopping and heartstopping events like the human pyramid gymnastics formations are the most popular(watch on Youtube here) but statistics show they also generate the third greatest number of injuries during physical exercise classes in schools nationwide(see news article below). My… Continue reading EDU WATCH: Sporting accidents in schools on the rise
Edu watch: ALTs to be placed in all primary schools
Experts have said it is important to secure a sufficient number of native English speakers, and utilize them to enhance the learning environments for students. About 800 ALTs first came to Japan in 1987 when the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program was launched as a state international exchange project. As of 2002, the number of… Continue reading Edu watch: ALTs to be placed in all primary schools
In the news: 12% of the nation’s municipalities offer combined public primary and middle school education
211 municipalities offer unified education September 20, 2014 The Yomiuri Shimbun Twelve percent, or 211, of the nation’s municipalities offer combined public primary and middle school education, an education ministry survey has found. The first of its kind to be conducted, the survey found such an education system in use at 1,130 combined primary and… Continue reading In the news: 12% of the nation’s municipalities offer combined public primary and middle school education
Japan ranks last in education spending
September 09, 2014 Jiji Press via Japan News Japan remained at the bottom among 32 comparable Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member states in public spending on education in 2011, an OECD survey showed Tuesday. Public expenditure on education represented only 3.8 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, compared with the OECD average… Continue reading Japan ranks last in education spending
Shouldn’t we be vigilant and preparing for an Ebola outbreak
Below is a poster being distributed by UNICEF, bearing information and illustrations on the symptoms of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and best practices to help prevent its spread in this 2014 UNICEF handout photo. As of July 27, 2014, a total of 1,323 cases, including 729 deaths, had been attributed to EVD in the four… Continue reading Shouldn’t we be vigilant and preparing for an Ebola outbreak
How much does your child’s schoolbag weigh?
I weighed my junior high school daughter's schoolbag and the weighing scale registered 12.75 kg (this only approximates an average day, and this is MINUS her afterschool club gear). For comparison, a regular household sack of rice that roughly feeds a family for about a month weighs 10 kg, so it is as if my… Continue reading How much does your child’s schoolbag weigh?
EDU WATCH: Back-to-school summer projects; nursery school services expand while Yoyogi Seminar juku closes, and other news
Hello to all readers of our regular roundup on educational news in Japan.It's the end of the local summer break and back-to-school for everyone. This past week saw my daughter completing two days of "apprenticeship" work experience at a nearby DIY store, and lugging her Jiyu kenkyu (lit. 'Independent Project') Summer Project back to school yesterday.Only… Continue reading EDU WATCH: Back-to-school summer projects; nursery school services expand while Yoyogi Seminar juku closes, and other news
The acting classes boom: The ‘star factor’ dazzles Japanese kids
Times have changed. Kids in Japan today aren't interested in the safe jobs of yesteryear of the doctor-accountant-and-lawyer set, they are hankering after the 'star factor'. So much so, acting and singing schools for kids are now thriving enterprises. Local talent variety shows and 'Glee', the American drama, are the most watched shows on TV… Continue reading The acting classes boom: The ‘star factor’ dazzles Japanese kids
Genes may determine a child’s reading and math ability, but heritability isn’t the end of the story…
"Finding such strong genetic influence does not mean that there is nothing we can do if a child finds learning difficult – heritability does not imply that anything is set in stone – it just means it may take more effort from parents, schools and teachers to bring the child up to speed.” … Continue reading Genes may determine a child’s reading and math ability, but heritability isn’t the end of the story…
EDU WATCH: Return of the trimester system; gruesome murder of a schoolgirl by her classmate, shocks nation during summer holls
Hello readers, Here's our regular roundup on the educational scene in Japan: Sasebo girl says she wanted to see what it was like to kill someone (JapanToday, Jul. 29, 2014) SASEBO — A 16-year-old high school girl who was arrested Sunday for the grisly murder of her 15-year-old classmate in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, told police on… Continue reading EDU WATCH: Return of the trimester system; gruesome murder of a schoolgirl by her classmate, shocks nation during summer holls
Film-making and animation summer courses increasingly popular with kids
Given the popularity shown for the previous year's animation courses at the Kawasaki Art Center in Kanagawa (with easy access from Tokyo-Shinjuku) the center has expanded its range of workshops this year, offering a smorgasbord of theatre, musical as well as its hugely popular film-making and animation courses for the young (elementary school grades onwards),… Continue reading Film-making and animation summer courses increasingly popular with kids
Sumo sport and tournaments in school
While most people associate the professional Sumo sport with Japan, and most Japanese regard the sport as an indigenous sport, not many are aware that Sumo is also an amateur sport, with participants in college, high school and grade school in Japan. It remains extremely popular although its popularity took a hit following recent… Continue reading Sumo sport and tournaments in school
Adapting and defining living and communal spaces for academics and school life
Have you found yourself and your home or living room stuck in childish preschool and kindergarten mode, and are you yearning for a makeover, wanting to adapt the room to the more demanding activity-as well as academics-oriented lifestyle of your growing schoolchildren? This post focuses on managing school scheduling and household documentation and bills and… Continue reading Adapting and defining living and communal spaces for academics and school life
When you miss your exams, because the train doesn’t come…
In one of the most suicidal of nations in the world, the odds of the student missing an exam on account of a malfunctioning railway line and train delays are higher than elsewhere, so be prepared to know what to do: JR provides certificates of delayed trains to show employers or schools online that… Continue reading When you miss your exams, because the train doesn’t come…
IT courses springing up to train new generation of app designer-developers who are in short supply
Teens step into role as next generation of app designers The Yomiuri Shimbun May 30, 2014 As teenagers use their flexible thinking to create practical smartphone apps for life and learning—one high school student has already started his own app business—various initiatives have emerged to support young people who want to make the world a… Continue reading IT courses springing up to train new generation of app designer-developers who are in short supply
Gohou doragu: ‘legal drug’ abuse proliferating among school students and young adults
Two PTA meetings ago, talk circulated among PTA moms with a warning from one of the moms that candy-like "dappo or gohou drugs" (quasi- and 'legal' drugs) had been seen being handed out freely like free tissues, at the Machida train station (Tokyo) to high schoolers and younger students. Machida city is a favourite hangout… Continue reading Gohou doragu: ‘legal drug’ abuse proliferating among school students and young adults
Spotlight on Kuroshiocho, Shikoku: the Mecca of whale-watching
Japan has been in the negative spotlight over whale-catching activities, however, what is relatively unknown is that whale-watching is also an eco-tourism business that is growing and showing tremendous potential, especially since Japan's eco-tourism is still under-developed compared to that in other developed countries. Away from the headlines and negative publicity over Japanese whaling activities,… Continue reading Spotlight on Kuroshiocho, Shikoku: the Mecca of whale-watching
Forest schools catching on in Japan
My daughter attended a yochien(kindergarten) that offered forest education without having advertised it as one. The school was built on a mountain slope and everyday the children spent at least an hour in "forest adventures"(mori no tanken", climbing slopes and trees, collecting all manner of bugs. Across from the school is situated about an acre… Continue reading Forest schools catching on in Japan
EDU WATCH: 700 high school science students to be nurtured by 8 universities in an unprecedented gifted kids project
Japan in Depth/ Cultivating science whizz kids (May 6, 2014 Yomiuri Shimbun) By Fumihiko Ito and Mutsuko Yamada Scientific and educational institutions in this country are stepping up efforts to discover children who show potential excellence in science and provide them with specialized education well before their admission to universities. The aim is to nurture… Continue reading EDU WATCH: 700 high school science students to be nurtured by 8 universities in an unprecedented gifted kids project
Murakami Suigun and the Seto Inland Sea: A blast from the past of Japanese pirate history
This summer think about visiting the Seto Inland Sea(Seto Naikai) for an exciting, memorable and romantic family vacation. Innoshima was home to the Murakami Suigun (a word that means navy, but think "pirates" or "privateers") that were active across the Seto inland sea between the Muromachi and Sengoku eras. So the trip would be an… Continue reading Murakami Suigun and the Seto Inland Sea: A blast from the past of Japanese pirate history
In the news: Original text of 1890 Imperial Rescript on Education found
Original text of 1890 Imperial Rescript on Education found Jiji Press -- Apr 08 via newsonjapan A document believed to be the original text of the Imperial Rescript on Education, issued in 1890 as basic norms of moral education in prewar Japan, has been discovered, the education ministry said Tuesday. As the original text has historic… Continue reading In the news: Original text of 1890 Imperial Rescript on Education found
Cool product buzz…study organizer extraordinaire!
Giving you the buzz on the coolest educational product featured on NHK TV (Asaichi) about 10 minutes ago... You can buy it at bellemaison's website for just under 3,000 yen, a steal for its neat multiple organizational features. This is one of the niftiest edu-organizers I have ever seen. Kyoiku-mamas (educational-mamas) are snapping it up… Continue reading Cool product buzz…study organizer extraordinaire!
EDU WATCH: OECD survey debunks widespread perception that Japanese and Asian kids lack creative problem-solving skills?
Sakura spring greetings to readers of our regular roundup on educational news focused on Japan! In this post, we bring you news of two new international school openings as well as other news focused on educational issues and the educational scene in Japan. It may be time to re-examine the oft-stated belief and widespread perception… Continue reading EDU WATCH: OECD survey debunks widespread perception that Japanese and Asian kids lack creative problem-solving skills?
Sasumata; the samurai weapon of Japanese school administrators
Don’t be scared if you see one of these at your local school, it’s this school’s version of security in the event of malevolent intruders…
Safety and threats in society-
Japan is an incredible safe country, violent crimes rates (and crime rates in general) are among the lowest levels in the world.
Americans are familiar with mass shooting and gun violence, so it is not unusual to see security officers or even metal detectors in schools.
Despite the social safety and stability in Japan as well as the limited access to firearms, there have still been acts of violence that have shaken Japan. Most foreigners are aware of the sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway that were perpetrated by a religious cult (Aum Shinrikyo) in 1995, sending thousands to hospitals and killing 12.
Foreigners are much less aware of the “Osaka school massacre” of 2001. In Osaka, at the Ikeda Elementary School, a mentally ill man went on a rampage with a kitchen knife, killing 8 and injuring 15.
A defensive weapon-
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