Japanese Kindergarten Decisions

modeling her new uniform
Up to our arrival to Japan the only schooling EJ received was at home, and "schooling" used in a very loose sense. My schooling philosophy at this age is explained well by this blog. We would read books, explore local museums, play at the park, visit the library, and spend numerous hours building, creating, and pretending at home. I did have some Kumon workbooks that I occasionally got out when EJ reminded me about them, but the majority of our leaning was done through doing.

That being said, life changed a bit when we moved overseas and lived out of a hotel room for a month. I signed EJ up for a couple hours of preschool so she could get out of the house and meet friends from the base. She looked forward to going each morning and developed some great friendships.

When the opportunity presented itself for her to attend Japanese Yochien I knew it was a once in a lifetime chance. She would be fully immersed in the Japanese culture for six hours a day and have the opportunity to learn the language. The school had one spot left and was willing to accept her since I knew a Japanese mother from the class willing to sponsor us. With the new school year starting in less than a month I had a big decision to make.

EJ expressed her strong interest in going to "Japanese school" so we visited and I immediately noticed how happy and energetic the children were, how kind and caring the teachers seemed, and thebright and cheery classrooms. Any reservations about EJ going were diminished by her excitement about going.

We made the decision to move forward and had one more visit with the school to submit an application, have an interview, and have Ellie tested for admittance. We were told she did exceptionally well (kudos to home education) and we brought a bagful of school materials, uniforms, and paperwork home with us.  

I was thrilled about the prospect of EJ wearing a uniform each day but wasn't sure how she'd like the idea. At first she didn't like it but then when she saw what the girls got to wear she couldn't wait to try it on herself.

The kindergarten backpacks aren't the $200 ones you see most elementary kids wearing (thank goodness) but they are cute nonetheless.

I could not for the life of me told you what they yellow head covering was if the teacher hadn't explained what it was. It is an earthquake helmet ready to be put on in case the ground starts shaking.

Now I just need to attend her school's orientation day and do a little shopping to check off the list of school supplies she needs.

This will be a year of new experiences for EJ. I am excited to see how the transition to yochien stretches her and all the new things she will learn from a Japanese school.

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