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Daycare centers (hoikuen)

ID番号 N36423 更新日 平成29年4月14日

If you’re a working parent or otherwise cannot watch your child during the day, you can apply to use a daycare center (保育園, 保育所, 認定こども園, hoikuen, hoikusho, or nintei kodomo-en). You will have to consult with your local municipal office’s Children’s Welfare Division (児童福祉担当課, jidou fukushi tantouka). The name may differ from office to office. You can apply to enter a daycare at any time, but there may be times when your desired daycare is more crowded than others. Please inquire as soon as possible. You may only send your child to daycare if it is deemed necessary.

 

Once your child is around 5-6 months old, the immunities that they received from you will start to drop, causing them to get sick more often. If your child is sick, you cannot send them to daycare and will have to make other arrangements. Many people ask a family member or stay home from work, but there are times when you cannot do this. There are organizations where members watch each other’s children at their houses, so you can inquire with your local municipal office about these kinds of childcare services.

 

When using daycares, gather as much information as you can, talk it over with your family, and take a look for yourself before deciding on a place to look after your child.

 

*Daycares (保育園, hoikuen) are different from kindergartens (called 幼稚園, youchien). Kindergartens are run by the Ministry of Education and as such have an educational curriculum; however, children can only attend kindergarten for a few hours a day.

 

Availability and Applications

Applications may be made at any time throughout the year, but because daycare centers are often at capacity, entrance is not guaranteed. The easiest time for entrance is April, the beginning of the academic year. Applications for April entry are made in December.

 

What you need to apply

1)       Household head’s statement of income (record of taxes withheld, etc.)

2)      Statement of employment

3)      Maternal and Child Health Book

The application procedure at your local municipal office may be slightly different and may vary according to your personal circumstances, so please check.

 

Hours

Daycare centers are generally open from 7:00 am to 6 pm. Some may have different or extended hours. Please check with your municipality for specific information.

 

Tuition

Tuition is determined by municipal mayors; it is adjusted in accordance with guardians’ ability to pay. It covers fees for lunch, diapers, and educational materials. Caps, aprons, bedding (futons) for afternoon naps, spare clothing, and certain other necessities must be provided by the child’s guardians.

 

Conditions of Enrollment

Applicants must demonstrate the need for daycare. This means that neither the guardians nor other persons including but not limited to cohabitant family members can provide daytime childcare to a preschool child.

The following circumstances will normally be given special consideration.

1)       Guardians normally work during the day

2)      Mother (or female guardian) is pregnant or has just given birth.

3)      Guardians are ill, injured, or physically or mentally disabled

4)      Guardians are providing permanent nursing care to a cohabitant relative

 

Other

It is imperative that guardians pick up and drop off children at the daycare center’s prescribed times. There are some that provide later hours (延長保育, enchou hoiku), but you will need to inquire.

 

Daycare centers often hold events for which parent participation is expected. These include parent/guardian conferences, visitation days, athletic meets, and school outings.

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