Preschool Education and Care in Japan NIER

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Tokyo Women s Normal School present day Ochanomizu University It served as a model. preschool and was well known by the adoption of Fr bel s Gifts into its curriculum At the. very beginning kindergartens served upper middle class families just like in the famous image. where every morning children came up to kindergarten with their attendants riding coaches. At the end of the 19th century the Ministry of Education seeing the gradual quantitative. growth of kindergartens issued the first Regulation on Kindergarten Contents and Facilities. in 1899 Later in 1900 when the Elementary School Order was proclaimed this regulation. was integrated into the Order According to these acts kindergartens were established as. pre primary educational institutes to educate children ages three and above before they entered. elementary school They covered four subjects over the course of a five hour school day play. singing songs hearing and speaking and handicrafts During this period Fr bel s Gifts which. had dominated the early years of Japanese kindergarten education were incorporated into the. subject of handicrafts Generally speaking the education methods during this period were. teacher oriented like those of elementary schools, In the first half of the 20th century Japanese kindergartens increased in number There were for. example 5 611 pupils in 665 institutions in 1916 and 94 421 pupils in 1 066 institutions in. 1926 In the 1920 s more child centered education methods were practiced in the kindergartens. inspired by progressive educational philosophies from America and Europe Sozo Kurahashi. 1882 1955 a professor at Tokyo Women s Higher Normal School was one of the most. remarkable leaders of preschool education reform during this period In accordance with this. reform the Ministry of Education promulgated the Kindergarten Order in 1926 which was. the first independent ordinance specialized for kindergartens and it generally specified the. contents of kindergarten education as play singing songs observation hearing and speaking. handicrafts and so on so that every kindergarten could decide its own educational content and. During wartime health education and exercises were emphasized and kindergarten s role of. improving home education was required under the Outline of Kindergarten Education. issued in 1937 Under this plan the number of more simple kindergartens was to be expanded. and practitioners at that time requested the government to unify the kindergarten system and. the day nursery system so that it could become the national kindergarten system but these. changes were not realized because of the wartime disasters During this period nationalist. education content such as worship of the imperial family raising the national flag singing the. national anthem and group training were introduced into the daily program Near the end of. the war kindergartens in urban areas were destroyed or closed by attacks from the air and. kindergartens and day nurseries both became wartime daycare centers at temples shrines. libraries and schools, After World War II the role of kindergarten education was solidified in the school education. system by the School Education Law enacted in 1947 Article 77 of the law declared that. kindergartens should provide a suitable environment that helps young children grow and. develop their minds and bodies and Article 80 prescribed that kindergarten was to be for. young children from the time that they were three years of age until entering elementary school. Although kindergarten was not considered compulsory education and enrollment was. completely up to children s parents or guardians it rapidly gained popularity in the 1960 s The. enrollment rate of five year olds increased annually from 28 7 in 1960 to 53 7 in 1970. The Ministry of Education announced a plan for promoting kindergarten education in 1971. This plan entailed developing a kindergarten system that would provide kindergarten education. to all four and five year olds whose parents desired to make their children go to kindergarten. over the next decade As a result of this the average enrollment rate for five year olds. increased nationwide to 64 4 and the ratio of five year olds attending either kindergartens or. day nurseries came to exceed 90, About the educational content and method the Ministry of Education issued a guideline for. kindergarten curriculum and revised it several times after World War II The first Nursing. Guideline issued in 1948 was applied not only to kindergartens but also to day nurseries and. home education with many recommended activities such as observation rhythmic exercises. rest free play music storytelling pictures handicrafts nature study pretended dramatic or. puppet plays healthcare and events according to an annual calendar under the very free and. progressive atmosphere just after the war In 1956 the first guideline was revised more. systematically and renamed the Guideline for Kindergarten Education National Curriculum. Standards for Kindergartens in accordance with the revision of curriculum standards for. primary and secondary schools Course of Studies This time kindergarten education. content was divided into six areas health society nature language drawing and handicrafts. and musical rhythm They were treated like subjects in primary schools in some kindergartens. In the 1989 revision of standards the areas of kindergarten education were revised into five. categories health human relationships environment language and expression The emphasis. was put on comprehensive education through play and every day activities Although. educational areas were remained as they were in the 1998 revision how they were dealt with. was changed to a method of education through one s environment in accordance with the. changes in society, However the recent falling birth rate and increasing labor participation of mothers has caused. the enrollment numbers of kindergartens to fall saddling many private kindergartens with an. ongoing crisis Indeed competition among kindergartens has gotten fierce with some adding. additional educational programming 3R s foreign languages computers etc providing lunch. or offering school bus services Nowadays 88 of private kindergartens also offer daycare. service after their regular schooling,1 2 History of Day Nurseries.
In Japan day nurseries are the facilities that provide childcare for infants and young children. who lack it at home It was in the 1890 s in the slums of Tokyo that the first group of day. nurseries for impoverished children were established and the most famous one of them was. Futaba Day Nursery at first it was called Kindergarten founded by Yuki Tokunaga. 1887 1973 who used to be a kindergarten teacher and was trained at Tokyo Women s. Normal School, At the beginning of the 20th century the rise of Japanese capitalism needed a large number of. women in the work force and day nurseries were set up one after another along with the rapid. construction of manufacturing factories In the 1920 s the Ministry of Home Affairs promoted. establishment of day nurseries as a means of child protection within the social services. program Under this policy public day nurseries were set up first in Osaka then later in Kyoto. Kobe Tokyo and other urban areas Generally day nurseries were established for public safety. to help poor families and to attract female workers as a cheap source of labor. With the outbreak of the Sino Japanese War in 1937 social services became part of wartime. policy In 1938 the Ministry of Health and Welfare was established and Social Work Law was. enacted Under this Law day nurseries were legally positioned within a child protection. activity which was quite different from the educational purpose of kindergartens. After World War II day nurseries were legally regulated as child welfare institutions named. hoikujo under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health and Welfare on the basis of Child. Welfare Law enacted in 1947 Article 39 of the law defined day nurseries as institutions with. the purpose of taking care of infants and young children on the basis of daily contracts with. their parents or guardians and Article 24 clarified the responsibility of city mayors in placing. children in need of childcare in day nurseries Afterward in 1951 Article 39 was amended to. limit the coverage of day nurseries only to cases of lacking childcare which meant that. parents or guardians could not look after children because of work illness etc. About the substance and method of ECEC at day nurseries there are both pedagogical aspects. and daycare aspects In the prewar era pedagogy for day nurseries was modeled after those of. kindergartens After World War II the areas covered in the first Guideline for Nursery Care at. Day Nurseries 1965 were life and play for infants under the age of 2 health society and. play for 3 year olds health society language nature music and arts crafts for 4 to 6. year olds The guideline was revised twice in 1990 and 1999 changing the content to no fixed. areas for ages 0 to 3 and health human relationships environment language and expression. for 4 to 6 year olds, From the 1960 s to the 1970 s day nurseries multiplied at a remarkable rate due to increased. demand for childcare in the rapid economic growth and social change Since that time day. nurseries have come to play a greater role as the number of working women has increased and. the Japanese family unit has shifted toward the nuclear family model From that time Japanese. day nurseries have begun to provide not only regular childcare services but also extended their. services to include infant daycare extended hour daycare nighttime childcare and so on. 2 Current Situation and System of Japanese Preschool Education and Care. The table below indicates Japanese kindergarten and day nursery enrollment numbers and their. rates according to the child age group, Table 1 Enrollment number and rate of children in the same age group population. facilities,age Kindergartens Day Nurseries,of children. 0 47 575 4 3,1 231 316 21 3,2 316 459 29 4,3 427 135 40 6 397 696 37 8.
4 602 105 55 1 456 750 41 9,5 644 923 57 8 454 245 40 7. Source Hoiku Hakusho White Paper on ECCE year 2008 Soudobunka 2009. Table of statistical data on population by Ministry of Health Welfare and Labor 2008. As shown above daycare for children under the age of one is not so popular and the service is. mainly for working mothers who do not take the full amount of parental leave at home The. enrollment number and rate increase as the children get older and more than 80 of. three year olds more than 90 of four year olds and 98 of five year olds are enrolled either. in kindergartens or day nurseries in Japan, Other than the above there are alternative types of ECEC services with public financial aid. such as family daycare where a so called nursing mother looks after infants at her home. municipal budgets have been allocated since 2002 and newly authorized centers for ECEC. explained below Many parents guardians and children under the age of three at home are. taking part in various non formal ECEC programs that local governments or NPOs provide at. children s centers community centers kominkan or playparks. Although most of the young children in Japan are enrolled in kindergartens or day nurseries. the location of each institution has not been necessarily suitable for the actual demographic. situation of the children and their families As in some areas kindergartens are playing the role. of day nurseries and in other areas day nurseries are functioning as kindergartens substantial. differences between the institutions have gradually diminished year by year For this reason. unified or integrated facilities which can play both the roles of day nurseries and kindergartens. have been put into practice locally The new system of the ECEC Centers nintei kodomoen. has been authorized by the central governments since 2006 Table 2 indicates differences. among these three types of institutions and their statistical situation. Table 2 Differences among the Three Types of ECEC Institutions. Kindergartens Day Nurseries ECEC Centers, 1 Governing Ministry of Education Ministry of Health Welfare MEXT and MHWL. Authority Culture Sports Science and and Labor MHWL. Technology MEXT, 2 Legal School Education Law Child Welfare Law Law for the Centre for Early. Foundation Article 77 Article 39 Childhood Education and Care. Article 22 2007 and regulations issued by local,governments.
3 Target From ages 3 to 5 From ages 0 to 5 lacking From ages 0 to 5 regardless of. childcare at home parents labor participation, 4 Enrollment When parents guardians Municipalities determine the Parents directly apply to ECEC. Requirements decide directly apply to a enrollment of children Parents center Municipalities look into. and Procedures kindergarten guardians select a day nursery the applicants and determine. and apply to the municipality which case is lacking in. 5 Childcare and 4 hours a day standard 8 hours a day standard According to children s family. Education Time service Since 1997 extra service Longer childcare situation 4 hours a day or 8. childcare service has been service within 11 hours has hours a day in standard case. possible become possible by way of a,municipal notice. 6 Standards for National Curriculum Guidelines for Nursery Care Both National Curriculum. Content and Standards for Kindergartens at Day Nurseries Standard for Kindergartens. Preschool Education and Care in Japan Preschool education is called pre primary education in the ISCED International Standard Classification of Education designed by UNESCO and classified as level 0 On the contrary primary and secondary education are classified respectively as level 1 and level 2 This means that preschool education is counted as a preparatory stage of organized

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