pISSN : 1976-1961

English as a foreign language in early childhood care and education in Japan: Policy and pedagogy

AUTHOR : Sachiko Kitano

INFORMATION : page. 3~17 / 2008 Vol.2 No.1


This paper gives an overview of English education policy and practice for young children in Japan. Recently, a strong need for English education has emerged and changes have been made at the elementary school levels. English education has not yet been regulated, however, in early childhood education. This study investigates English education for young children in Japanese preschool settings, in lessons for preschoolers provided outside of preschool, and in English preschools. The results show that English lessons are offered more widely at private institutions than in public, and a strong commercial involvement that makes English education hard to access for families with fewer economic resources and families with two working parents. The results also revealed issues of quality in instructional method and in teachers' skills. Although there is a wide gap in opportunities to learn English from an early age, the result in English knowledge and skill in latter education level do not yet differ. More practical research and policy studies are needed to provide equal educational opportunities and also methodologically and professionally appropriate English education for young Japanese children.

Keyword :

early childhood education,English as a foreign language education,education policy


English education in elementary schools: A focus on educational policy

The conditions of English education in early childhood care and education institutions

Early childhood English education in relation to commercialism



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