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A new kind of kindergarten design encourages kids to be their silly selves.

Thinking about what young students really need caused a major do-over for what a kindergarten could look like.

A new kind of kindergarten design encourages kids to be their silly selves.

What does a school do with 5- and 6-year-old kids?

The old answer was coax them into little chairs — at least until “creative time" — keep 'em relatively organized, and keep a lid on their natural enthusiasm. Basically a constant riot-control situation. And a first taste of standardized education.

But kindergarteners don't need to be forced to learn — really, they can't stop learning.

So educators in Tokyo had a different idea.

Architect Takaharu Tezuka explains in a TEDx Kyoto talk how one school created a kindergarten that doesn't fight against kids' natural impulses. It counts on them.


The roof is a giant ring of a playground. Why? Kids love to run in circles.

The single, continuous classroom has no walls.

Teachers asked kids to use crates to create their own areas, but somehow it didn't quite manage to get done.

The design has child psychology in mind.

Kids can get anxious when they feel walled-in or constrained. That doesn't happen here. And since little dynamos thrive in environments with lots of noise, they've come to the right place — there are no acoustic barriers.

“The principal says, 'If the boy in the corner don't want to stay in the room, we let him go. And he'll come back eventually because the circle comes back.'" — Takaharu Tezuka


This shows the rambling travels of one little boy over the course of just 20 minutes. Over the course of his entire morning, he covered 6,000 meters, or 3.7 miles!

Things are deliberately a little risky.

Parents have a hard time figuring out how much protection is too much protection. But children, Tezuka says, “need to get some injury. That makes them learn how to live in this world." And so, he says, there needs to be a “small dosage of danger."

Should all kindergartens be like this?

Dunno. But there's a lot of discussion these days about standards-based teaching and why our kids don't seem to be learning as much as they need to.

This refreshingly creative and successful take on kindergarten is at least a reminder that there's still a lot to learn about educating children, especially at this miraculous young age.

Here's how the kids spend their day.

Courtesy of Movemeant Foundation

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Have you ever woken up one day and wondered if you were destined to do more in your life? Or worried you didn't take that shot at your dream?

FOX's new show "The Big Leap." is here to show you that all you need to take that second chance is the confidence to do so.

Watch as a group of diverse underdogs from all different walks of life try to change their lives by auditioning for a reality TV dance show, finding themselves on an emotional journey when suddenly thrust into the spotlight. And they're not letting the fact that they don't have the traditional dancer body type, age, or background hold them back.

Unfortunately, far too many people lack this kind of confidence. That's why FOX is partnering with the Movemeant Foundation, an organization whose whole mission is to teach women and girls that fitness and physical movement is essential to helping them develop self-confidence, resilience, and commitment with communities of like-minded girls.

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One little girl took pictures of her school lunches. The Internet responded — and so did the school.

If you listened to traditional news media (and sometimes social media), you'd begin to think the Internet and technology are bad for kids. Or kids are bad for technology. Here's a fascinating alternative idea.

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Norton

This article originally appeared on 03.31.15

Kids can innovate, create, and imagine in ways that are fresh and inspiring — when we "allow" them to do so, anyway. Despite the tendency for parents to freak out because their kids are spending more and more time with technology in schools, and the tendency for schools themselves to set extremely restrictive limits on the usage of such technology, there's a solid argument for letting them be free to imagine and then make it happen.

It's not a stretch to say the kids in this video are on the cutting edge. Some of the results he talks about in the video at the bottom are quite impressive.

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