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Childcare and Schools in Tokyo

An Insider’s Guide to Living in Tokyo

This moving to Tokyo guide has been designed with the explicit intention to provide expats and travellers with all they need to know about moving to Tokyo.

This exciting chapter covers Childcare and Schools.

There’s a huge choice when it comes to childcare and schools in Tokyo. From Preschool all the way through to secondary schools, your kids are going to get the best education they can get. Your choices of schools may well have an affect on their path to Higher Education.

University of Tokyo

To make this easier for you, we’ve put together this chapter which will highlight the school options that you can take advantage of while you’re in Tokyo.

Remember, education is compulsory for children aged from 6-15 years old. Also, it is worth noting that the school year in Japan starts in April and in March. There are three school terms in each year, with a vacation between the terms.

5.1 Preschool Childcare

When it comes to childcare in Tokyo, you’ll find that there are a few options to consider. Preschools help to develop your child between the ages of 3-5, focusing on social skills and the basics like the alphabet, reading, drawing and writing. These aren’t compulsory but do make a difference to the overall growth of a child. They do come at some cost; even the state run preschools will require some contribution. Costs of 20,000 yen to 80,000 yen are considered by most to be fairly reasonable.

If you can afford to send your child to preschool, then we recommend it as it is best for their overall growth.

Childcare Centres

Early childcare services, be they centres or preschools, are designed to help working families manage their professional and personal lives. Childcare centres function in the same capacity as the preschools and enable the child to gain some of the basic skills that they will need at school, along with snippets of knowledge. Emphasis is obviously based on fun so then the child can be engaged as they learn.

Again, Childcare Centres cost - even those run by the local community and the state. They are still worth it for the child as they can form future bonds that will come in handy when they enter elementary school.

Childcare Centre in Tokyo

Childminders, Nannies and Au Pairs  

Some parents prefer to hire nannies or childminders to look after their children. This can happen within their own home, or within the home of the child carer. The choice is yours when it comes to who you hire, but be sure that they have looked after children before you agree. Costs will obviously vary on their experience, the services that want them to deliver and where you live. Most will probably charge an hourly rate. Examples can be 2,000 yen for one child and 3,300 yen for two children.

Childcare Costs

Costs have been covered in the various sections above, but you should know that the amount you spend will be based on what area of Tokyo you live in, whether you choose state or private funded childcare and other segments.

As previously covered, the cost is more than worth it if it give your child a head start. Even if you can’t afford it, you could try a bit of home schooling that covers numbers, letters and interactions.

5.2 Schools

The education system in Japan bears some similarities in many western countries, but there are minor differences that can be observed. We’ve all heard that many Asian countries have some of the most talented students in the world, and when you see the emphasis that education has in Japan, it’s very easy to see why.

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