I've decided to to go back to what was going on a month ago and detail what went into preparing to enter Yosei into yochien. The main reason being that at this point in time I was completely clueless about what to do but in googling the subject I found very little information (I guess there aren't alot of foreign moms in Japan blogging about yochien :P)
Anyhow, beginning from where I left off on my very first post, after deciding on which school to enter and also making the decision to go ahead and start halfway into the year came the filling out of application and paying of fees (insert horror movie type screams here).
You can expect to pay an application fee, entrance fee, uniform fee, monthly tuition fee, monthly book fee (the kids bring home a picture book every month), school bus fee (should you choose to use the school bus), as well as various other fees that they decide to come up with(PTA, etc.) Some schools also have a school lunch and you will have to pay that as well, others have the kids bring their own lunch, and still others do a combination of the two.
Every yochien differs on what they decide to charge. Public yochien are apparently quite reasonable; unfortunately for us, as I've mentioned before, there are no public yochien in our area. The fees for private yochien are scary. The schools in our area all charge ￥5,000 (roughlyUS$50) for the application fee (non refundable). Now next is where it really gets scary the entrance fees for yochien in our area all range from ￥80,000 - ￥100,000 (or round about US $800-$1,000). Uniform fees, these vary pretty greatly depending on the school and just how elaborate a uniform they have. Around here I've seen anywhere from ￥10,000 - ￥40,000 (US$100 - $400-ish), and the uniforms vary from anywhere between a school issued hat and backpack and P.E. uniform all the way to a full on button up shirt, pants, jacket, neck ribbon, etc. uniform. Monthly tuition around here runs from about ￥20,000 - ￥30,000 (US$200-$300). The books fee for our school is ￥700 ($7) a month, I don't know about other schools.
So the school we went with had the ￥80,000 entrance fee and the super expensive full on ￥40,000 uniform (but its oh so adorable). So right up front with the application fee we had to fork out ￥125,000 ($1,250)
The week we started we were asked to pay the ￥21,000 tuition fee, ￥700 book fee, and (to my surprise) roughly ￥5,000 in school supplies (scissors, glue, crayons, clay (and storage box and tools), sketch book, craft book, pianica hose (all yochien kids learn to play pianica at some point), letter case, attendance book, there was probably some other stuff in there too that I can't recall at the moment.
Stuff to prepare
This is something else every school differs on but not by much. First off are the bags. We were asked to prepare a tote bag and a drawstring bag for the P.E. uniform. These bags are usually made of a quilted type of material printed with different characters and moms that can sew are encourage to make them. I can't sew and wasn't about to start but thats ok because I found Yosei a matching set of bags with bullet train pattern fabric (he was pretty excited, I don't call him my 'train butt' for nothing). Then there are the indoor shoes (uwabaki) and a storage bag for them ; we had some from before when I had him in a weekly mommy-child P.E. class. These however were a little bit fancier than the usual uwabaki and ended up being a little too difficult for him to put on and take off by himself, so about a week ago I picked up someofthe more standard variety uwabaki, also printed with bullet trains (I've never seen him so excited about shoes before 'Oh wow!!! Shinkansen!!!'). After that is a toothbrushing set. This consists of a toothbrush, plastic mug, toothpaste, and a little storage bag for when they have to bring it home. Next on the list is a towel to dry little hands on, these have to have a loop at the top to hang on the class towel rack. We also needed a hanger for Yosei to hang his uniform jacket on. And last but not least the lunch time set consisting of a bento box, spoon, fork, and chopstick set, and of course a storage bag. Oh and every single thing has to be labeled with his full name written in hiragana (the school issue supplies included, which means name written on each individual crayon as well).
End part 1. Next time uniform, bento, and some other things too.