The results of an early learning survey targeted at preschool and kindergarten children were recently announced and they are gaining popularity. This is the “Ranking of Prefectures that Raise Good Kids”, which was created based on the Ministry of Education Survey on Academic Performance.
The prefecture that came in 1st place is the prefecture is famous for using “Namahage (demon) masks” to try to get kids to cry. After looking at the survey results and academic performance tests results, we can determine the characteristics and habits of “good kids” and the reasoning behind them. In this article, we will look at the prefecture that came in first place in the ranking, Akita Prefecture. We will also introduce some tips for raising good kids.
The ranking was created based on the “National Academic Performance & Learning Habits Survey” executed by the Ministry of Education annually since 2007. The ranking data was based on the analysis of results from 46 questions (of a total of 123 questions) regarding the children’s daily lifestyle (such as breakfast and sleeping habits, how they handle issues and their personality). The 2013 Ranking Results are as follows:
#1 Akita Prefecture 65.8
#2 Miyazaki Prefecture 63.3
#3 Yamanashi Prefecture 57.0
#4 Saitama Prefecture, Hiroshima Prefecture 56.4
#6 Ibaraki Prefecture, 56.2
#7 Fukui Prefecture 54.8
#8 Okayama Prefecture 54.0
#9 Toyama Prefecture, Yamaguchi Prefecture 53.8
(The above was created by the Kyoritsu Research Institute, Ltd based on the Heisei 25 Annual Survey Results of the National Institute for Educational Policy Research survey. (The results are written by Prefecture Name: Total Score).
●[Daily habits] and [Personality] of Akita Prefecture (which received a high score)
Akita Prefecture, which ranked #1 in the survey results, is the same prefecture which tries to get kids to cry using “Namahage(Demon) masks”. Reviewing each category, we see that the prefecture scored a 67.2 points in the categories that relate to daily habits like “regular sleep times” and “eating breakfast every morning”. In the same categories, Nagano Prefecture (which was #5) scored 61.3 points and Yamanashi Prefecture (which was #2) scored 62.3 points. This shows a 5-point difference between Akita Prefecture and Yamanashi Prefecture. In addition, within the will and personality categories, “challenge oneself with difficult problems” they scored 84.4 points and “feeling accomplished when they achieve their goals” they scored 76.7 points which puts the prefecture way above the #2 ranked prefecture. However, when they first held the survey in 2007, Akita Prefecture scored 56.1 points and ranked #6. What happened in Akita Prefecture within these 6 years that brought them to #1?
●Why did Akita Prefecture rank #1?
The main reason for their high scores is said to be the increased importance on education that encourages intellectual curiosity from a young age. According to the educational policy of Akita Prefecture, teachers are encouraged to have open discussions with students and encourage their students to ask why. Also, students are asked to combine math problems and observation reports onto one page of their notebook. As a result, in 2013, they scored a 70.1% on the Japanese and Math test and received the #1 score in the country.
The sense of accomplishment and desire to take on new challenges learned from the ranking, is said to be related to the learning habits. To raise children who are not only smart but also have a good personality, it is important to encourage their intellectual curiosity and love of learning from a young age.
The “good kids” we introduced in this article strive to find out their interests and strengths by taking lots of risks and studying. Early education is important because it gives children the opportunity to experience new things from an early age. A child’s personality is exposed by interacting with people from a variety of backgrounds and by challenging themselves with new activities.