What are the characteristics of early child education in America? How do they differ from education in Japan?

2019.08.26

The interest in early child education in America is increasing. What do early child education classes focus on in America? In this article, we will cover the characteristics of early child education in America and how it differs from the education style for the same age group in Japan.

What are the characteristics of early child education in America? How do they differ from education in Japan?

Education in America officially starts from 5 years old
In America, most children attend nursery school or daycare at 3 and 4 years old and enter kindergarten at 5 years old.
In most states, the kindergarten is connected to the elementary school and the school day is the same for kindergarten and elementary school students.
In kindergarten, teachers focus on phonics (reading and writing) and math skills. As a result, American children start learning a little earlier than Japanese children.

The Focus of American Early Child Education

To Enhance Self-expression
American early child education puts an emphasis on self-expression and presentation skills in addition to reading, writing and math.
The need to encourage high level self-expression, presentation and communication skills from a young age is also becoming common in Japan.

To Incorporate Music
Many American parents believe in the importance of encouraging learning from a young age and they send their children to various lessons.
Music is one of the most popular lessons among families with young children. This is because many families believe that music is effective in bringing out young children’s talents and a general love of learning.
As a result, there are many music schools throughout the country.

The importance of individuality
In Japan, there is a tendency to focus on cooperation but in America the importance is often put on individuality.
Each individual has his/her own opinions and is encouraged to share them with others.
While in Japan, acting as an individual and doing something differently is often looked down upon.
American educators focus on each student’s abilities and try to bring out each child’s individual talents.

Guiding instead of teaching
In Japan, teachers are expected to “teach” the class. While in America, teachers are expected to guide the class.
By bringing out each child’s ability to learn individually and triggering their curiosity, American teachers encourage a motivation to learn.

The importance of “praise”
In America, when a child makes a mistake they are not blamed.
Instead, they are praised for what they did correctly and guided in the right direction. Of course, if children do something bad, they are scolded but the number of times they are praised is often a lot higher than the number of times they are scolded. By focusing on “praise” rather than “scolding”, children don’t grow up to fear mistakes and are positive about trying new things.

Japanese people tend to focus on cooperation and working with peers so incorporating American early child education theories is a good idea.
Although it will be hard to change the Japanese education system, attending American-style early childhood development classes is a good way to incorporate the benefits of the American educational system.
All children are individuals and have their own strengths and weaknesses and opinions. It is important that parents and educators provide them with a learning environment that will bring out their individuality.

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