As I mentioned in my last post, uniforms vary greatly depending on the yochien you use. The one we ended up choosing has a very elaborate uniform with both summer and winter uniforms as well as a P.E. uniform with both hot and cold weather versions.
All the pieces of the uniform
Winter Uniform - With jacket, button up shirt, neck ribbon, sweater (optional depending on the weather), pink play smock (customized with iron on patches), short pants, hat, indoor shoes, yellow bag (for carrying bento, letter case, and attendance book)
Ready for the first day of school
Modeling the summer uniform
Like I said pretty elaborate uniform for a preschooler, but you can see why it cost around ￥40,000 :P Anyway its got me doing laundry a lot more often (its amazing how dirty his shirt gets even though he's got a play smock on over it all day long). The smock, as well as hand towel, indoor shoes, and PE wear gets sent home on Friday (or in the case of a day off or Saturday preschool, the last day of the week) for washing.
This is another area in which all yochien differ. Ours has a school lunch on Mondays, I have to make a bento on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; and on Wednesday schools gets out at 11:30 so we have lunch at home. Nearly every Yochien gives the kids milk with their lunch (unless your kid is allergic of course). Most yochien ask a flat monthly fee for the milk. Ours however has us purchase milk tickets that we have to send with the kids to school. The reasoning behind this is that it's more cost effective for the parents. Less school days in a month, miss a few days cuz you're sick? Well don't worry about losing out one the money you payed for milk because the tickets have no expiration date, you just buy more when you use them up. I actually really like this system.
Now on to the bento aspect. Most of the moms I talk to really hate having to make bento and they would rather the school switch to all school lunches. They must think I'm out of my mind because I actually really enjoy trying to create cute lunches (I'm beginning to think this was actually my calling in life, making art with food rather than with animation or manga like I had wanted to for so long :B)
Starting in December they're going to be putting the kids' bentos into warmers so I had to purchase an aluminum bento box this past week. It's a Cars bento box, Yosei got to pick it out all by himself.
First day of school - Shinkansen bento. He didn't eat the lettuce or the broccoli (but made sure to eat the cheese stars and mayo off of it :P)
There are a ton of events throughout the year and moms are put on committees to help with the preparation of events. I've been put on the 'Owakare Kare Party' committe (English translation : The Goodbye Curry Party) It's to say bye to the kids that are 'graduating' and moving on up to elementary school.
The week before Yosei started the kids went sweet potato digging and we got to tag along, lots of fun digging in the dirt with your bare hands ;) Two weeks ago the kids got to eat all those potatoes they dug up at their sweet potato party.
Coming in December we'll be doing 'Mochi Tsuki' - smashing sticky rice into sticky chewy rice cakes with a giant mortar and pestle, and at the end of the month the kids will have a performance day in which each class will put on a play. I hear there will be some work involved for me there too in the form of sewing decorations (ribbons and such) to Yosei's costume.
Twice a year they do a parent child field trip; the last one this year is taking place this Wednesday and we're going to (drumroll please)..... Sanrio Puro Land, the Hello Kitty theme park and possibly cutest place on earth. I'll make sure to do a write up on that trip.