Japanese Language Program

In the International Division (NSW Curriculum), children from Kindergarten to Year 6 take daily Japanese language lessons. Our highly qualified and experienced language teachers offer high quality Japanese language lessons to every child. It is worth mentioning that not every child at SJIS has a Japanese or Japanese-speaking background. It is always a pleasure to see a child who has had no previous knowledge of Japanese when they enrolled, graduating SJIS with a strong understanding of the Japanese language.

Benefits of learning a foreign language from early childhood

When children are young, they are learning sponges. Exposing a child to a foreign language at an early age will result in better fluency than if they were to learn later in life. Children’s brains are developmentally ready to accept and learn a foreign language, and fluency comes fairly easily and without an accent. As they grow, children will lose the ability to hear and reproduce new sounds as they did when they were younger, making foreign language acquisition not impossible, but more difficult.

If you feel you want to raise your child as a bilingual, it is very important to keep touching the two languages continuously in bilingual environments.

At SJIS, we offer a Japanese language lesson everyday and children are immersed in both the Japanese and Australian cultures in every aspect of the school.

SJIS language Proficiency Levels


In Kindergarten, children learn the Japanese language through games, songs and folk tales. They also learn about traditional cultural events such as Setsubun and Hinamatsuri, by learning about the four seasons. Each year, Kindergarten students showcase their newly acquired language skills at the Japanese Language Festival held at the SJIS Assembly Hall.

Years 1-6

From Year 1, students are placed into different levels according to their language ability. These are grouped: Nihongo 1, Nihongo 2 and Nihongo 3

Nihongo 1 is designed for students who are new to the Japanese language or for those that have limited opportunity to use Japanese as a ‘living language’. In these classes, the instructions are sometimes delivered in English, so students can grasp the tasks assigned.
Nihongo 2 is designed for those students who have an intermediate level of Japanese language ability. They may be children from bilingual households where Japanese is spoken on occasion.
Nihongo 3 is for those students who use Japanese as a ‘living’ language, and whose primary language spoken in the household is Japanese. The school also provides appropriate extension and enrichment programs for children with advanced language ability, to accelerate their learning.

Examples of Learning

Year 1/Nihongo 3

  • Term 1 – Deepen mastery of Japanese sentences with Hiragana on the theme of school life.
  • Term 2 – Introduction of katakana on the theme of school events such as Children’s day and Sports Day.
  • Term 3 – Creating and presenting sentences that combine hiragana / katakana / kanji with the theme of letters. In September, the Annual Japanese Language Festival is held.
  • Term 4 –  Learning on the theme of the four seasons and creating a poem using Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji.

Reading Recommendation

SJIS recommends reading according to your child’s educational content, differentiated by grade and level. Our library has a large selection of Japanese texts.

CookingEvents by Japanese Department

The Japanese Language Department organises various events throughout the year consisting of:

  • The Japanese Language Festival in Term 3
  • Various Japanese cultural events, such as Japanese traditional cooking, tea ceremony, Karuta etc.
  • Various Japanese traditional events eg. Setsubun, Children’s Day etc.