Japanese Education System
The Japanese education system is comprised of elementary school (6 years), junior high school (3 years), senior high school (3 years), junior college (2 years), or university (4 years), and graduate school (2+ years), and there are national, public, and private educational institutions. While 9 years of elementary and junior high education (age 6-15) are compulsory, many children are enrolled in nursery schools or kindergartens before that. The school year usually runs from April to March, and from elementary school to senior high school, one year is divided into 3 terms, from April to July, September to December, and January to March (however, recently there is an increase in schools that have incorporated the semester system used in universities), and universities and colleges have a semester system (April to September, October to March).
Features of Nursery Schools
Nursery facilities provide child care for infants from 0 years old to preschool age, and are child welfare facilities where parents who are having difficulty taking care of their child at home for work or health reasons can leave their children.
Japan’s preschool education and day care services will be made free starting from October 2019. This applies to the followings:
- Children from the ages of 3 to 5 provided at kindergartens, nursery schools, and similar facilities.
- Daycare will be made free for households that are exempt from paying municipal taxes and that have infants or children up to the age of 2 and require daycare.
Period and Method of Application
For children requiring care from the beginning of the school year (April), application forms are distributed at each nursery facility and the Child Rearing Support Section at each ward office from about late October of the previous year. After you submit all the necessary documents to your desired facility by the set date, you will find out whether your child has been accepted or not, and after that, a briefing session will be held. Note that application deadlines, etc. differ every year. If you wish to enroll your child in the middle of the school year, please inquire with the nursery school or the Child Rearing Support Section of your ward office.
* Be sure to visit each and speak to the staff at each facility you wish to apply at before submitting your applications.
- Child Rearing Support Sections in ward offices
- Fukuoka City Child Care Association
6F Fukuoka City Citizen Welfare Plaza 3-3-39 Arato, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Features of a Kindergarten
While nursery schools are provided under the Child Welfare Act, kindergartens are administered under the School Education Act, and follow the kindergarten education guideline which focuses on learning through various recreational activities. Kindergarten teachers are certified with kindergarten teaching licenses.
School Guidance Section, Fukuoka City Board of Education
Governmental Financial Support
Fukuoka City offers a financial incentive for private kindergarten enrollment, which exempts enrollment and care fees to households enrolling their children in private kindergartens, so as to reduce the parents’ financial burden and to enhance kindergarten education. To qualify for application, both the guardian and the child must have a resident registration in Fukuoka City, and attend an accredited private kindergarten. The amount of exemption varies according to the income and whether the child has a sibling from kindergarten to grade 3 of elementary school. For details, please inquire with the kindergarten or the Pre-school Administration Section of the Child Affairs Bureau.
- Child Rearing Support Section, Child Affairs Bureau
（Fukuoka Children Information）
- Fukuoka-City Private Kindergarten Federation
- Private School Section 2, Private School Promotion Department, Fukuoka Prefecture