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Elementary School Education

Elementary school is organized in 6-year courses (curriculums). Children must enter elementary schoolon March 1 of the year after they turn 6 in international age (6 years old in Western age is equivalentto 8 years old in Korean age. In Korea, a baby is considered to already be 1 year old on the day of hisor her birth; the child turns 2 on January 1 of the following year. A baby born on December 31, 2016turns 2 years old in Jan. 1, 2017.) However, children may also enter elementary school the year afterthey turn 5 or 7 in international age. Elementary education is compulsory, so no tuition is required.By law, parents must enroll their children in an elementary school, or otherwise make sure that theirchildren graduate with an elementary school education. Parents who fail to do so can be fined orotherwise penalized.

01 Content of Education

Elementary education focuses on building the fundamental abilities and basic habits necessary forlearning and daily life, and developing proper character. Each class takes 40 minutes. 1st and 2ndgraders learn basic life habits and capabilities such as Korean, math, good living habits, wisdom for life,etc. Students from the 3rd to the 6th grades learn Korean, social studies/ethics, math, science/domesticscience, physical education, arts (music/fine art), English, etc.

Content of Education
Class1st~2nd Grade Courses3rd~6th Grade Major Courses
good living habits,
life for wisdom,
joyful life
Listening speaking, reading, writing, grammar, literature
Social studies/Ethics(Society) politics, laws, economics, social and geographical awareness, placesand regions, natural environment and human life, human environment andlife, sustainable world, general history, political and cultural history, social andeconomic history, (ethics) relationship with oneself, relationship with others,relationship with society and community, relationship with nature/supernatural
MathematicsNumbers and arithmetic, figure, measurements, regularity, continuity, data, probability
Science/Domestic science(Science) movement and energy, matter, life, earth and space, (domestic science) human development and family, family life and safety, resource management and self-reliance, technology system, technology applications
Physical educationHealth, challenge, competition, expression, safety
(Music) expression, appreciation, everyday life, (art) experience, expression, appreciation
EnglishListening, speaking, reading, writing

02 Creative Experience Activities

Creative experiential activities are extracurricular activities divided into four types of activities:autonomous activities; club activities; career development; and volunteer activities. Schools canselectively organize activities by grades (groups), considering the development of students and schoolconditions. The types and activities of creative experiential activities are as follows :

Creative Experience Activities
ItemActivitiesFocus of Education
Autonomous activities
  • Self-governing and adaptation activities
  • Creative theme activities
Adaptation to school at the beginning of school, adolescentadaptation activities, understanding and practicing the basicprinciples of democratic decision-making various themedactivities for a pleasant school life
Club activities
  • Arts and sports
  • Academic cultural activities
  • Youth group activities
Talent discovery through various experiences and culturalactivities, experiencing body sensory and direct manipulation,cultivation of fellowship and solidarity
Volunteer work
  • Helping neighbors
  • Environmental protection
  • Campaign activities
Understanding and practice of meanings and values of volunteer work
Career development
  • Self-understanding
  • Career exploring
  • Career planning
Forming positive self-concept, understanding importance of work, exploring jobs, and development of basic career skills, etc

03 Guide to Elementary School Admission

(1) Eligibility for enrollment (for entering school)

Children who are a full 6 years of age are eligible to enroll at an elementary school in March of the following year.
This includes non-enrolled children from the previous year including those who postponed enrollment obligation and excludes children already at school due to early enrollment.
  • New students enrolled in 2020 are children born anytime from January 1 to December 31, 2013
    For new students in 2021, this means children born anytime from January 1 to December 31, 2014

(2) Enrollment procedures for elementary school

Enrollment procedures for elementary school is as follows.

  • Prepare a list of children entering (by Oct. 31)
    Community service centers of town and village (eup, myeon, dong)
  • Apply for early admission or admission postponement
    (between Oct. 1-Dec. 31)
    (such as parents)
  • Notification for enrollment
    (by Dec. 20)
    Community service centers of town and village (eup, myeon, dong)
  • Preliminary summoning
    Elementary school
  • Enter school
    Elementary school

National or private elementary schools select students directly without going through the aboveadmission procedure. Invitation periods for these schools may vary by school and/or region. If parentswish to enroll their children in a national or private elementary school, they must inquire directly to theschool, or apply online via the school homepage.

  • National elementary schools are affiliated elementary schools of universities or colleges of education.
    A list of private schools may be obtained by inquiring at your local office of education.

(3) Early admission (enrollment), application for deferred admission

Parents who want early admission or delay in admission for their child must visit the local eup or myeon office or the community service center from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 annually to apply.

Subjects for early or deferred admission
  • Early admission: children who are a full 5 years old in age and intend to gain early admission to an elementary school (a maximum of 1 year early admission is possible)
    • For 2021 early admission, children born from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2015 can apply.
  • Deferred admission: children who are a full 6 years old in age and intend to defer admission to an elementary school for a year.
    • A delay in 2021 admission can be applied to children born from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2014 whose parents intend to enroll them in 2021 (admission on 3/1/2021)
  • Early or deferred admission is a decision made by the parents that must be considered carefully.

(4) Admission of children who have difficulty going through the general admission process

Korea secures the right to receive education when the child reaches the age of admission to elementary school regardless of the child’s nationality or qualification to stay.
An applicant for admission applies to the head of the competent elementary school for the person’sresidence by attaching documents to prove immigration or alien registration and documents toverify the student’s academic background*.
  • When documents proving immigration or alien registration is unavailable, documents verifyingresidency such as a tenancy agreement or warranty of an acquaintance on residency cansubstitute for them.
  • Academic Supporting Document: a diploma, proof of enrollment, transcript, etc.
  • A guide to admission·transfer of children for multicultural parents, ‘Sending my child to school’ booklet,is in 12 languages. You may download them at the Multi-cultural Education portal ( orrequest at the Multicultural Family Support Center.

04 Preparing to Enter School

Entering school can be both a joyful and a stressful event for a child. At home, parents shouldencourage the child to prepare for school life with a joyful heart.

Clothing (Garments) :
Dress the student in plain and casual clothing that will make his or her school life comfortable before sending him/her to school.
Backpack :
The child's backpack should not be too big and should be easy for the child to carry.It is better to prepare a backpack that is simple and neat, rather than one that is too trendy or hascomplex patterns.
Pencil, Pencil Case, and Eraser :
A pencil case should be simple rather than complex, and casesthat include games should be avoided. At the beginning of the school year, a 2B pencil (dark lead) isrecommended. Prepare two or three pencils and one eraser. In the upper years, mechanical pencilsare recommended.
Notebook :
Prepare a notepad for 1st-2nd graders. Prepare a home notice notebook and a generalnotebook in advance, and follow the guidelines of the classroom teacher regarding other notebooks(dictation notebook, home notice notebook, general book, etc.)
Crayons and Color Pencils :
1st graders typically need about 12 colored crayons.
Shoe Bag and Indoor Shoes :
The shoe bag should be large enough to hold running shoes.There are many kinds of indoor shoes in colors such as pink, sky blue, etc. Avoid indoor shoes thatare uncomfortable to walk in or are too big. Shoes can be bought in the shoe store or at the stationeryshop in front of the school. No shoe bag is required if the student keeps his/her indoor shoes in a locker.practice how to arrange school supplies and his/her backpack, giving the child a sense of independenceand autonomy (wash face, arrange things on own, know how to use the rest-room, etc.).
Useful Information
Things for your Child to Learn before Starting School
  • Learn the school name and how to say it.
  • Learn to write his/her own name and the names of family members.
  • Study Korean consonants and vowels.
  • Learn simple numbers (1-10)
  • Learn how to use a pencil, crayons, scissors, and an eraser.
  • Learn to draw circles, horizontal lines, and vertical lines with a color pencil.
  • Learn the names of colors.
  • Be able to distinguish his/her own things from those of others.
  • Know his/her home address and phone number and how to make and receive calls.
  • Learn basic table manners.

05 Preparing Your Child for the Beginning of the School Year

Giving a Good Impression of School
  • Some children may be afraid of school. For these children, let them know that school is a fun place by visiting the school and taking a tour around the 1st grade classrooms and other places.
  • Tell them in advance about the rules to observe at school.
  • Tell them that he/she can make many friends in school.
The Teacher: Helping your Child Navigate School Life
  • Tell children that a teacher is someone who tells children what they want and need to know.
  • Talk to your child about how to behave in the classroom (following rules, keeping promises, etc.)
Being Independent
  • Give a list of objects to the child, and let him/her put them in the backpack in order. Have him/her practice how to arrange school supplies and his/her backpack, giving the child a sense ofindependence and autonomy (wash face, arrange things on own, know how to use the rest-room,etc.).
Attend School in Good Health
  • Get teeth, eyes, ears etc. checked, and receive treatment for any illness in advance.
  • It is advisable to inform the classroom teacher in advance if the child has any food allergies or illnesses (milk allergy, atopic skin, enteritis, etc.)
Know the Safe Way to School
  • If possible, it’s best to walk to school. Check the route to school a number of times.
  • Make sure to walk on the left side of the road, use the crosswalk, and understand traffic signals in order to commute to school safely.
  • If taking the bus, get on the bus in an orderly fashion.
  • Don't walk in front of or behind the bus after getting off the bus.
  • Cross the road using the overhead bridge or underground passage in areas where there's an overhead bridge or underground passage.
  • Don't run on crosswalks.
  • Follow the instructions of the crossing guard if there is one present.
  • Get back on the curb if the crosswalk signal switches when you start to cross the street. Cross quickly if you are already beyond the center line.
Useful Information
Support for Extra-Curricular Activities

These forms of support help elementary students with after-school education/activities andhomework through after-school programs (elementary care class), regional children's centers, afterschool academies, community-based childcare programs, after-school care (nursery facility), etc.
Students of primary schools may attend the after-school classes, local children's centers, after-schoolacademies for teenagers and after-school childcare facilities, and students of primary, middle andhigh schools may use the after-school educational programs and home assignment support services.Families with financial difficulties can use these institutes for free via counseling.

Useful Information
After-School Child Care and Education Service Centers
After-School Child Care and Education Service Centers
ClassificationMinistry of EducationMinistry of Health and WelfareMinistry of Gender Equality and Family
Project NameElementary Care ClassCommunity-Based Childcare ProgramLocal Children’s CenterYouth After-school Academy
TargetElementary Grade 1-6Children aged 6~12Children under age 18Grade Elementary 4 ~ Middle 3
Mainly for working parents
Mainly for working parents
Mainly for socially vulnerable group
(Less than 100% national median income)
Priority for socially vulnerable in childcare
Support TypeFree
(Partial charges for snacks, etc.)
(Within KRW 100,000, actual expenses separate for snacks)
(Charges by income, within KRW 50,000)
Operating hoursDuring school termAfter school
~ 17:00
(Some operate night care)
14:00 ~ 19:0014:00 ~ 19:00After school
~ 21:00
During vacationFreely operated depending on conditions09:00 ~ 18:008 hours including
12:00 ~ 17:00
Freely operated depending on conditions
Supported ServicesProtection,
and some meals and snacks
After-school care, programs, etc.Protection, education, culture, emotional support, link to communities, etc.Experiential activities, compensatory learning, meals, counseling, etc.
Useful Information
‘e-learning center’ online learning website

The e-learning center website provides contents in 1st year elementary to 3rd year middle school coursecontents that are compatible with school curriculum, teaching and learning materials, and exam questions forfree. Students can study by themselves anywhere and teachers can open up an online class to use for onlineand offline lessons.

본 저작물은 '한국건강가정진흥원'에서 '2020년' 작성하여 공공누리 제4유형으로 개방한 '한국생활가이드북'을 이용하였으며, 해당 저작물은 '한국건강가정진흥원,' 에서 무료로 다운받으실 수 있습니다.