Established in 1958, Washington Japanese Language School(WJLS) is the first Japanese school outside of Japan designed to educate K-12 students with Japanese academic skills and Japanese culture. Students study Japanese, mathematics, music, physical education, natural science, and social science in Japanese at each grade level. Approximately 650 students in DC, MD, and VA areas are enrolled.
Students have six class periods on Saturdays, and there are 42 school days annually. In addition to academic classes, students participate in various cultural activities, such as calligraphy, sports day, flying carp day (koinobori), star festival (tanabata), and Japanese-style matriculation and commencement ceremonies.
WJLS is officially recognized as a supplemental school by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and is an educational, non-profit corporation under IRC§501(c)(3) in the United States. All K-12 children who can read and write Japanese at their appropriate grade levels, regardless of nationality, are eligible for enrollment.
Roles of Parents
At WJLS there are 2 roles of parents and guardians. First is to administer home study. It is very difficult to maintain and improve Japanese language skills by solely attending WJLS. Children need help at home with reading, speaking, and homework. Secondly, parents and guardians of students must participate in the operation of the school. Teaching and administrative management are lead by the office staff, teachers, and the principal and vice principal appointed to WJLS by MEXT, Japan. WJLS is a co-op organization that requires parental support for all other school events and operations.
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