Japan is currently grappling with a significant demographic decline, witnessing an unprecedented decrease in population. Meanwhile, France is also facing similar challenges in the realm of childcare. The demand for childcare services in France is consistently on the rise, leaving many families struggling to find suitable solutions. To tackle these issues, the Japanese government has implemented various policies aimed at improving access to childcare. These initiatives encompass expanding capacity in daycare centers and providing subsidies to encourage the establishment of new facilities. Furthermore, innovative approaches such as leveraging technology, implementing tailored educational programs, and introducing part-time childcare services have emerged to meet the needs of parents and enhance the overall quality of childcare.
During our study trip, we had the opportunity to observe the educational principles in Japan, such as effort, harmony, respect, discipline, responsibility, and cooperation, which are taught to Japanese students as part of their education. We also had the chance to meet representatives from the French Embassy in Japan
to discuss Franco-Japanese initiatives and partnerships in early childhood. Additionally, we visited Tokyo and Ibaraki prefectures, where we discovered the policies and initiatives implemented by local authorities to support childcare and early education. We explored the Kumon Education Centre
, which offers after-school learning opportunities, as well as Wonderfy Inc
., a company specializing in game-based learning. During our study trip, we also had the opportunity to visit Gakken,
another renowned educational organization in Japan. This visit allowed us to learn about Gakken's teaching methods and educational resources developed to promote children's learning. Moreover, we were privileged to visit Kotoen, a well-known nursery in Japan
. This visit allowed us to explore a specific approach to childcare focused on intergenerational integration. Kotoen provides a unique environment where children and elderly individuals coexist and interact, fostering intergenerational exchanges and creating a sense of community. By visiting Kotoen, we observed how the proximity and interactions between generations contribute to the well-being of both children and the elderly. This innovative approach encourages mutual respect, understanding, and knowledge sharing among different age groups.
These visits exposed us to innovative methods aimed at promoting children's education and overall development. Additionally, we had the privilege of exploring various types of childcare facilities in Japan, including those managed by local governments, private establishments, and those with unique approaches such as intergenerational integration.
Throughout our visits, we witnessed firsthand the implemented innovations that address parental needs and enhance the quality of childcare. In essence, our study trip provided valuable insights into the advancements and challenges within Japan's childcare system, while also highlighting opportunities for improvement in this crucial aspect of Japanese society.
In conclusion, participating in this study trip granted the attendees an international perspective and a platform to exchange knowledge and experiences with childcare professionals. They had the opportunity to gain insights into Japan's innovative approaches to childcare and explore avenues for promoting accessible and high-quality childcare services, both in Japan and in France. Collectively, we have contributed towards enriching the future of in-home childcare, addressing demographic challenges, and fostering a harmonious integration of work and family life.