Following up from the last post, it’s very common for kids in kindergarten to stay after the school is over. Japanese parents generally need to work until five o’clock. Kids in the kindergarten generally play around in the playground until six. Some kindergartens offer different extracurricular courses for the kids. Music lessons such as piano and violin are commonly seen in various places. Furthermore, art lessons such as painting, clay, or even calligraphy. A variety of courses are offered for kids in kindergarten and elementary school. Most Japanese parents mandate their kids to learn an instrument and also play a sports. However, they don’t see it as a long term development for the future.
After kindergarten, kids go to elementary school according to their regions. Most of them start attending cram school after their normal class time which is around 3:00 p.m. The cram schools are common in Japan, especially in the big cities. They mainly focus on academics, like math and sciences, and also taking care of the children before the parents come and pick them up. Generally, music lessons and academic cram school are separated but really close to each other. So after school, a child can go to cram school and do his work first and then go to the music cram school next door. There are infinite possibilities of combinations that a child can do with these cram schools. However, the cram schools emphasize non-athlete activities. Studying is valued more than sports.