Elementary Level (Grade 1 = 6 years old by April 2 – Grade 6 = 11 years old by April 2)
Public (normal) - all public elementary schools are basically the same; they all follow the MEXT curriculum; there is no guaranteed “school culture” because teachers and principals rotate every few years
Public (with JSL support for international students) - schools like Onna Elementary currently have Japanese language support for foreign students, but otherwise are the same as normal public schools (follow MEXT curriculum, teacher and principal rotation, etc)
Additional information on what schools have this kind of support is available by calling the Compulsory Education Section in the Prefectural Government. These schools change every year depending on the needs of the local community.
Private – schools like Okinawa Catholic Elementary School and San Iku Elementary School. These schools charge tuition. Classes are taught in Japanese. The schools report (Japanese) student attendance and benchmarks to the board of education.
International – Schools are called “international” in Okinawa when English is the language of instruction. Being an international school does not necessarily mean the school is accredited or has a majority of students from outside Japan. The curriculum depends on the school, and schools follow either a Japanese calendar year or an American one. Currently, some accredited international schools in Okinawa include (but not limited to) Amicus, Okinawa Christian School International (OCSI), and Okinawa International School (OIS).