Primary Education

Elementary schools (Korean: 초등학교, chodeung hakgyo) consists of grades one to six (age 8 to age 13 in Korean years—6 to 12 in western years). The South Korean government changed its name to the current form from Citizens' school (Korean: 국민학교, Gungmin hakgyo) in 1996. The former name was shortened from 황국신민학교 (Hwangguk sinmin hakgyo), which means school of the people who are subjects of the Empire (of Japan).

In elementary school, students learn the following subjects. The curriculum differs from grades 1-2 to grades 3-6.

Grades 1-2:
We Are First Graders (Korean: 우리들은 1학년) (grade 1 only)
Korean (listening, speaking, reading, writing)
Disciplined Life (Korean: 바른생활)
Sensible Life (Korean: 슬기로운생활)
Enjoyable Life (Korean: 즐거운생활)
Physical Education

Grades 3-6:
Korean (listening, speaking, reading, writing)
Moral Education
Social Studies
Practical Arts
Physical Education

Usually, the class teacher covers most of the subjects; however, there are some specialised teachers in professions such as physical education and foreign languages, including English.

Those who wish to become a primary school teacher must major in primary education, which is specially designed to cultivate primary school teachers. In Korea, most of the primary teachers are working for public primary schools.

Because corporal punishment has been officially prohibited in every classroom since 2011, many teachers and some parents raised with corporal punishment are becoming more concerned about what they see as worsening discipline problems. However, some teachers infringe the law and raise their students with corporal punishment.