Back to Japanese School Over the Summer Holidays 夏休み、我が家の場合

Published on: October 04, 2018

This Japanese mum sent her two boys to school during the summer holidays. She has no regrets, in fact, she recommends it to other parents too. Here’s why.

By Akiko Cayne [日本語記事へ]

Article 26 of the Japanese Constitution states that “All people shall be obligated to have all boys and girls under their protection receive ordinary education as provided for by law. Such compulsory education shall be free.”

So why would I throw this amazing right away? Japanese kids can go to school for free in Japan during the Bangkok summer holidays!!

There are over 80,000 Japanese kids under 16 years of age living outside of Japan. Some of them use the above right and take part in ‘Trial Enrollment’ at Japanese public schools for a month or so when international schools are on summer break but Japanese school is still in session. I hear not many countries have this “Trial Enrollment” system. I’m glad Japan does because it gave my children the opportunity to have a truly enriching experience. Let me share some of their amazing experiences and cultural shocks with you.

Culture Shock 1: Getting to school on their own

As you might know, Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. After entering elementary school, kids go to school every day by themselves. This is shocking, coming from Bangkok where you don’t even send your kids alone to the department store toilets. Kids in Japan usually take the bus and train to commute by themselves too.

Children can go to school by themselves not only because Japan is a safe country, but our society as a whole is there to support the kids. Every morning, there are adults from the school, PTA, or neighbors standing on every corner watching and supporting the kids so they can walk safely to school.

The surprise for me was that even in this modern era, the local society is trying to raise children together with the parents. Children are the treasure of society, indeed.

Culture Shock 2: Lunch duty, cleaning duty and class leader

At all Japanese public schools, kids have lunch duty where they serve lunch to all their classmates, cleaning duty when they clean their classrooms and common spaces. Students take turns to be the class leader and lead the class in greeting the teacher at the start and end of each period and generally help the teacher too.

For my kids, who don’t speak fluent Japanese, leading the class in Japanese was not an easy task and needed a lot of courage. So taking part in this system undoubtedly built their leadership and encouraged them to do more things by themselves.

Culture Shock 3: ‘Virtue’ classes

In Japan, all the kids have to take ‘virtue’ or ethics class, where they are supposed to learn ‘judgment between good and bad,’ ‘sincerity,’ ‘sympathy,’ and ‘love for the country.’

When I was growing up, these were things I learned from my parents. But I believe it’s just as important to learn them at school. For Japanese people,  culture is based on virtue, so it’s important that the kids learn about it. My kids definitely learned to think more about how other people feel.

Japan has a very systematized society that sometimes it makes living inflexible and hard to negotiate. However, the positive experience my kids had over the summer in Japan made them grow both mentally and emotionally.

If your country has a similar system, I strongly recommend that you try it for at least one week. The kids might have a different opinion on it for going to school during the summer holidays isn’t a holiday after all.

By ケイン明子

世界でも珍しい日本の“体験入学”制度は、短期間の公立学校への就学を許します。この制度を利用した我が家の“体験入学”での“発見”とは…?

日本国憲法第26条「修学の義務」に則り、日本にいる間は義務としての就学を余儀なくさせられる我が家の小学生達。言わずと知れた国民の三大義務のひとつを果たすべくして、生まれ育ったバンコクから、この時ぞとばかりに日本国籍を引っ下げ、バンコクのインターが夏休みの間の一ヶ月は一時帰国で日本の小学校へ。

グローバル化が進む現代、海外に住む日本の小・中学生は何と約8万人。そのうち多くの子供達は一時帰国中の“体験入学”なるものを経験しています。世界でも珍しい“体験入学”制度は、短期間の公立学校への就学が許されること。この制度を利用した我が家の“体験入学”での“発見”を紹介させて下さい。

発見その1:徒歩の登下校

日本は世界有数の安全な国。小学校に入学すると毎日自分達で歩いて登下校します。バンコクではデパートの中でさえ子供だけではトイレにも行かせられないけれど、日本では当然のごとく小学生は歩いて登下校し、公共交通機関も自分達で利用します。

これも安全な国だから出来ることではなく、実際には登下校時に学校の職員・PTA・地域住民の方々が街角に立ち、子供達をサポートしてくれることにより、親が安心して子供達を送り出せる社会の仕組みが作られているから可能なのです。地域で何かがあればSNSで連絡がすぐに来たり、まさに地域社会が一丸となって子育てをしているのが感じられます。

子供達はその結果、「自分一人で行ける」ことで自分に自信が付くようになりました!

発見その2:給食当番と掃除当番と日直

海外ではほとんど見ない、「給食当番」と「掃除当番」があること。クラスメートのランチを配膳する給食当番と、自分達の教室のお掃除をする掃除当番。日本で生まれ育った私には普通のことですが、息子達にはかなりのカルチャーショック。

日直は特に我が家の子供達を成長させました。苦手な日本語を使って皆に声掛けしたり、クラスを代表して挨拶すること、相当な勇気が必要だったと思います。

その結果、「自分のことは自分でする」ことやリーダーシップをどう発揮するかを子供達は学びました。

発見その3:道徳の授業

学習指導要領によると、道徳の授業で教える内容は「善悪の判断」「誠実」「思いやり」「国や郷土を愛する態度」だそうです。誠実であることや、思いやりを持つこと、普段家庭で教えているつもりでも、親からではなく学校や周りの社会から学ぶと受け取り方が違ってきます。私は個人的にこの授業が一番為になったと思います。そして子供達は他人がどう思うかを考えることを学びました。

日常の色々な事がシステム化され、詳細化されている日本。タイと比べると融通が利かず、窮屈に感じたり、困ることも沢山ありますが、1か月の体験入学を通して得た体験や知識は子供達を大きく成長させてくれました。受け入れ先に通う子供達やそのご両親は体験入学に関して賛否両論だと聞いたことがあったので、我が家では“国際学級”のある外国人を多く受け入れる学校を選びました。日本人の皆様、おすすめします、体験入学!

About the Author

Akiko is a Japanese mother of two boys with her Canadian husband. She loves traveling, eating, singing, and BAMBI!!

カナダ人の夫との間に2人の男の子を持つ日本人のママ。趣味は旅行、食べること、歌うこと、そしてバンビ!


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