In Japan, each school has an organization made up of educators and guardians known as the Parent Teacher Associations, or PTA, that supports students in a variety of ways.
PTA members, which include parents, guardians, and educators, work together, exchanging information and ideas in order to provide a better academic atmosphere for the students at their school.
One of the benefits of getting involved with the PTA as a non-Japanese is the opportunity to get connected with Japanese and non-Japanese parents and guardians. Parental networks make it easier to get information about a school’s curriculum and student services, and also help strengthen relationships between students. Furthermore, it can be encouraging for children to see their parents taking an active role in school affairs.
If you are not currently a member of the PTA at your child’s school, please talk to a teacher at that school for more information on how to join. Becoming a member of the local PTA is a great way to support your child’s education.
The Chairman of the Mie PTA Union provided the following information about the role of PTAs at schools
[Mr. Daisaku Ando, Chairman Mie PTA Union」
What does a PTA do?
The PTA is an organization that brings together administrators, educators and members of thecommunity to hold childcare seminars; help organize school events like field days and culture days; discuss issues like how to eliminate bullying and discrimination; and ensure that children get to school safely by addressing car safety issues and organizing volunteer patrols to protect commuting children. Simply put, it is an organization formed to support students that involves not only parents and guardians, but also school officials and other members of the local community.
When does the PTA meet?
PTAs will meet once a year during spring to select officers for the coming year. Officers meet once a month or once every two months to make various decisions. Meetings to carry out decisions made by PTA officers about activities like patrols, assisting with cultural days and field days, and school cleanings are held 4 to 5 times a year.
Does it cost money to be a part of the PTA?
Membership dues for PTAs tend to run from 100-500 yen a year. The exact amount will vary by region, but yearly PTA dues usually fall within that range.
Is participation in the PTA mandatory?
PTA membership is not mandatory. While membership is voluntary, most parents and guardians are members, so it would be good to join and expand your network.
Whate are the benefits of joining my child’s school’s PTA?
First of all, joining your child’s school’s PTA gives you access to a wide network of other parents, which is a great information resource when you need help with problems concerning child care, etc. Also, I think parents who are part of the PTA feel less alone and isolated when dealing with problems because they feel like they have many other people around them that they can count on. As I mentioned earlier, being a part of the PTA also gives you the opportunity to talk to students about issues like safety, how to run events like field days, heating and cooling school facilities, etc.
A message for non-Japanese parents and guardians
I feel that we as Japanese educators need to reach out more to non-Japanese members of the community. We would also like non-Japanese parents and guardians to work more closely with us. Let’s all work together for the sake of our children.