Thread: Kindergarten
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04-17-2008, 02:51 AM

Originally Posted by Tsuwabuki View Post
So true. I've just been told that where the mixed child stands out it could be worse than in a heterogeneous culture.
I think it depends more upon the child and their parents. Mixed race is often looked upon as an advantage in Japan - there are just as many children who are "cool" and popular as those who are bullied. Standing out can go both ways. If you`re the type of kid who would probably be bullied anyway... Well, you`re just more obvious. If you`re the type of kid who would be the center of (positive)attention, then it just becomes that much easier as you naturally stand out.
Parents encouraging US-style behavior in their children also doesn`t help things - like a certain someone I know of (as in, have encounters with but don`t really know personally) who LOVES to blame everything wrong in their lives on Japan. If you tell your child they don`t need to do their homework, follow lesson plans, or clean up after school because they are "unique, and shouldn`t be part of that group think".... Chances are, other kids aren`t going to approve.

Now this is interesting. I think I only had one other parent tell me that the curriculum was the reasoning behind their decisions. Of course, that household was a bit different from yours, as I was speaking to the father who did not speak Japanese. He speaks English to his children, their mother speaks Japanese. I think he wanted to place his children in a private institution so that they would be learning English on par with native speakers, while also learning Japanese on part with native Japanese speakers.
Thats simply a different situation. Not a path we`d take, as our home language is 100% Japanese, but something which I imagine is best for that family.

What's Yutori?
Yutori Education
The Wikipedia article seems to have been written and edited by someone who is in favor of it - Or who has a dislike of Japanese schooling.... But it gives a basic outline.
The Yutori I refer to is really the 1999 onward bit. Curriculum was DRASTICALLY altered, based on the "give children more time at home to study with their parents"... Textbooks were turned into something akin to picture books, and more time was dedicated to, well... doing nothing. Of course, high schools and universities didn`t change any of their courses or requirements, so kids trying to get into better schools were put at an incredible disadvantage. When you`re wasting the day in school flipping through picture books and using virtually none of it to actually study, that just means that all the other time not spent in school has to be used to study. Usually in cram schools, who have had a huge surge in popularity because of Yutori... Parents just don`t feel they have the skills to teach, so those who can afford it send the kids to study with a professional. Those who can`t afford it are out of luck.

After almost 10 years of this ridiculous plan, they found that *all* scholastic skills dropped, and are reverting the curriculum back to it`s prior state.
A random note - non-Japanese in Japan tend to think that yutori is ultra-super-wonderful, as it makes Japanese elementary schools more like those in the US. Which, well, I don`t exactly consider a good thing.

I'm sorry to hear that. What accommodations are the schools making?
Kindergarten? None at this point. All the specialized programs, etc, start from elementary school.

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