Japan Video Topics 2013-2 (DVD)
The School Day
Japanese children must attend elementary school from age six to age 12. We see a typical school day, with pupils learning core subjects like Japanese language, math, science and social studies in their homeroom classroom, and then moving to dedicated rooms to study music, crafts or home economics. The distinctive Japanese approaches to school meals, cleaning and school club activities are also shown.
Japan's elementary schools provide school lunches, and everyone eats from the same menu. Children from each class are assigned the task of bringing food from the kitchen and serving it. This unique system is not only valued for providing correct nutrition – it is designed to teach children the importance of a balanced, healthy diet, and to introduce them to different culinary traditions from other Japanese regions and from all over the world.
Events held throughout the elementary school year to deepen and round out pupils' educations include day visits to interesting local places and longer trips to further regions. The annual sports day is a major occasion, as are traditional cultural events like brush calligraphy contests. And all schools hold regular drills to prepare their pupils to react safely in case of emergencies like earthquakes or fires.
The Japanese school year starts from April, and there is a long mid-year vacation in the heat of the summer from late July to the end of August. We see how pupils are encouraged to take the opportunity of this long summer break not only for leisure, but also for special studies, sports and other training that is better done independently out of class times.