If you are a new parent, you may have been wondering about this for a long time, and the moment has come. It is time to look for the right preschool for your child.
You might be wondering when you should start looking for a preschool when you should enroll your child, and what steps are involved in the process.
It would be a great comfort if someone could walk you through everything step-by-step as choosing the best childcare for your little one might seem overwhelming. However, with the appropriate knowledge and a little assistance, selecting the right preschool is not that tough in Japan.
Let's take it one step at a time and begin with how to choose a preschool in Tokyo, Japan (Learn more: https://www.oecd.org/education/school/ECECDCN-Japan.pdf).
So, here are four tips to help you choose the right preschool or kindergarten for your child. (More from Parents.com: https://www.parents.com/baby/childcare/basics/8-tips-for-choosing-child-care/)
There are many international preschools and kindergartens to choose from in Tokyo. Each of these has its philosophies and characteristics. So, try to learn as much as possible about daycare and preschool options.
When Should Your Child Start Preschool?
If you are wondering at what age your child should join a program, the answer is usually three. This is because most Japanese children start school when they are three or four. But daycare centers and kindergartens provide education for kids before they go to elementary school.
However, many families are starting daycare earlier for two reasons.
One reason is that many working families in Tokyo require childcare since both parents work.
The second reason is that they want their children to excel and be ahead when they reach kindergarten and then move on to elementary school.
Children from birth to age five can go to both public and private daycare centers. They have programs for kids ages three to five that resemble those at kindergartens.
Look For Schools in the Neighborhood
First, you might want to look for a school close to your home or be willing to move closer to a good school for your family.
Then, consider making a list (https://www.tokyopreschools.org) of at least four to five schools you're interested in and plan to visit each one to learn more about them. It's a good idea to write down any questions you might have about the school that isn't answered in any of their brochures or on their website and bring that list with you when you visit each school.
Contact the Schools
Now it is time to call or fill out the online inquiry form (here is ours: online inquiry form) to schedule a tour and an explanation session about the school, where you can have a chance to see the school while it is in operation.
Visit the Potential Daycare and Kindergarten Centers
On the school tour, you should pay close attention to the kids, the teachers, the staff, and the space and safety of the buildings.
The first years of life are crucial for a child's healthy growth. (Learn more: https://www.unicef.org/early-childhood-development) Young children need warm relationships with responsive adults to thrive and grow.
So, pay close attention to how the staff interacts with kids. Do the caregivers play with them? What are the teacher-child ratios? Do classrooms appear fun and joyful? Does the staff look happy?
Answering these and related questions may be quite helpful when selecting the best preschool or kindergarten for your child in Tokyo.
Don't forget that you're there for a reason and to find out what you need to know before you join a school.