After the kids party last night we visited with one of our friends about elementary school here in Japan. It was interesting to hear a little bit about why they do the things they do. At Chofu-Otsuka Shogakko (elementary school) where Logan will start in a few weeks, there is typically only one class per grade. It is not uncommon for classes to have over 40 kids in a single class. I was shocked to find this out! This coming year there will be two first grade classes because they have too many students for one classroom. I was happy when they announced the change because Logan will benefit from more one on one attention.
What our friend said afterwards was a little shocking to me. Japanese parents actually HOPE their kids will get put into a class with 40-50 students. This means they will have a greater chance of meeting more kids. These kids will most likely attend all of elementary school and junior high together. They will probably choose to all go to the same high school and many will apply to the same college. The more kids there are in the class the more networking opportunities they will have in the future. Schooling is such a large part of their lives, that there are few other avenues for them to socialize and meet new people.
In the US, people focus a lot on being independent and doing things on their own. In Japan, it is all about community. Interesting eh?