A Day at a Japanese Elementary School

  • How do the elementary school students in your country spend their day? What kind of activities they share and what they learn after one day passing in class with their teachers and classmates. If you are curious to know the schedule of Japanese children’s in the school, let’s take a look.


    The first period in the morning starts 8:30 but students have to come to school about an hour earlier. Before the first period, they have what they call asanokai or morning meeting. This is the time to do the greetings, check attendance, sing songs (i.e, song of the month) and listen to teacher’s announcement. There are four classes in the morning with each class lasting to 40 to 45 minutes. There is a 5 to 10 minutes break between each class.

    Lunch and Noon Break

    After the fourth class, students have to prepare for the school lunch or what they call kyuushoku. At this time, students (with different assigned tasks) wear apron and face mask, fall in line and proceed to the pantry room to get the food and utensils for lunch. I really appreciate how organized the Japanese are when it comes to school lunch. Each student does their assigned tasks (i.e. one student will put rice on the bowl, another will put dishes, and another will put milk, etc.) and nobody complains. They patiently wait until everyone has their food on their tray before they start eating. Usually, fifteen minutes is allotted for preparation time, twenty minutes for eating time, and another fifteen minutes for tidying up. Each student cleans their own tray by putting all the utensils on its proper places. It is a very good training. After that, students have to write the next day’s class schedule (class schedule changes every day). Then, after that, they can have their noon break and it’s time to play. During this time, you will see how Japanese are really well-trained to follow orders and how they value equality and uniformity because even during their play time, they decide as a whole class what game to play and (most of the times) that’s the only game they can play.


    When the bell rings, all games played during the noon break, finished or unfinished should be stopped and students proceed to their assigned places for cleaning time. Fifteen to twenty minutes is allotted for cleaning time and all students (and even teachers) do their tasks diligently.


    Two more classes are there in the afternoon, which starts at two. And the same in the morning, before going home, they have afternoon meeting. It is called “kaerinokai”. They do their greetings and give announcements. Students go home in groups with those living in the same area or neighbourhood. Even first graders go home by themselves. There is no school bus or carpool in Japan.
    Elementary students in Japan are really well-trained and are very disciplined. Salute to the teachers! Salute to the system of education! Salute to the government!