Baby nursery, Childcare, Day Care, Hoikuen, Nursery school

Questions about Day Care (Nursery School) in Japan

Last week I received an email from our friend Jennifer about Day Care (Nursery School) in Japan. I thought others might have similar questions, so here they are my answers!

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Was just doing some more work on day cares (I sometimes feel as if I’m trying to drink from a firehose) and had a few questions that I hoped you might be able to help out with. 

We were just the same – I went to the Hoikuen desk at the ward office at least 6 times before I submitted my application. We kept thinking of new questions, and rather than calling on the phone I found it much easier to go to their office and sit down and talk with them.

How can we find out about the Hoiku-mamas, hoiku-shitsus and other unauthorized options? Does the ward office provide those lists as well? Fortunately, my Japanese is reasonable, but still think I’m going to go back with one of our support staff when we make the application, etc..

It may vary depending on the ward office, but mine in Setagaya provided a booklet which contained lists of all the options – Authorised (Ninka) as well as the non-authorised options such as Certified Day Care (Ninsho), Hoiku-mamas, and Hoiku-shitsus. The difference between authorised and non-authorised though is:

– Authorised – apply at ward office
– Non-Authorised – apply directly at each facility

For non-authorised Certified Day Care – highly recommended booking a visit to see their facilities and submitting your application as quickly as possible. These facilities usually operate on waiting lists, so first comes first served. There are usually 70-100 people on the waiting list by the end of the calendar year, so best to apply asap.

And are the certified day care centers essentially the private day care centers that are included in our little ward booklet? They gave us a list of places, marked either private or municipal. I would assume the private are the “certified day care centers” but was surprised when I called that they still wanted to know if I had applied at the ward office.

Yes, the certified day care centers (認証, Ninsho) are the private day care centers in the booklet. When you apply for these, it is common for them to ask if you have also applied for Ninka Hoikuen at the ward office. I think this is because people who have applied for both will usually take Ninka Hoikuen as first preference if they get in, so I think they may give first preference to parents who have not applied for Ninka. I don’t think you are under any obligation to tell them if you have applied for Ninka Hoikuen though.

Hope this helps and good luck!

If anyone has any other information or advice to add, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

See also here for tips on applying for Nursery School in Japan.

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