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Amazing Kindergarten in Japan Lets Kids Run Free and They Are Thriving

By: Krystle Crossman

Kindergarten in the U.S. is generally comprised of a classroom or multiple classrooms where children are confined to their desks all day long. They have four walls surrounding them for a good portion of the day. Most children were not meant to sit still for hours at a time in small spaces. They can lose their focus and their schoolwork can decline because of it. In kindergarten children still need freedom to explore and learn about the world around them. Unfortunately more and more kindergartens in the country are giving the students loads of homework and expecting far too much of them academically. An architect in Japan decided that kindergartens needed a makeover. He designed what is possibly the greatest kindergarten in the world.

Architect Takaharu Tezuka designed a kindergarten that allows the students to roam as they please through the day. There are sectioned learning spaces but the students are not confined to these rooms. They can come and go when they want to. If they are interested in the activities in these spaces they can go in, complete and activity, and then move on to whatever interests them next. The building is an oval shape. The middle is cut out and there are trees growing everywhere. There are two floors but the top floor is an open roof that the children can run and play on. There are fences and rails to ensure their safety but they have the run of the building. They get to explore life and nature all day. While this may seem unorganized it is actually much better for students. They are all thriving in this environment.

Tezuka feels that children are meant to be outside and playing when they are young. This is part of the reason that there are trees growing up through the school building. The open concept allows children to feel like they are less confined. They are not as nervous. They are able to focus on what they are studying but at the same time are able to get up and go somewhere new if they find they are lacking focus. The principal says that children need the freedom to explore and learn about the world in their own way. He even wanted to put nets around the edge of the roof instead of bars so that they would learn that they can fall if they go too close to the edge. The government however had regulations against this so they had to construct the fences and bars. The children are happy, the teaches are happy, and everyone is learning something new every day.

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