The best kindergarten you’ve ever seen
For this week we watched a Ted Talk by Takaharu Tezuka entitled “The best kindergarten you’ve ever seen.” Tezuka is an architect that designed a kindergarten in Tokyo that consists of one large building with two floors. The upper floor has a track where the kids can run around, as well as a tree for the kids to safely climb on. The lower floor has classroom and table space that is completely open; there are no doors and windows to confine the kids to one area. By being allowed to roam around in an open area, the kindergarteners are truly able to explore and be kids.
The kindergarten also has a play area in which kids are faced with obstacles that are challenging to maneuver through, which creates a sense of danger for them. Tezuka describes that it is important for kids to feel that aspect of being in danger, as it allows them to understand that at points in their lives they will not always feel safe. It also adjusts the kids to the feeling of an adrenaline rush that occurs when you are doing some “dangerous.” We also think that one of the best parts about this play area is that the kids will often work together to move around obstacles. This helps teach the kids team building, a skill that will help them be successful throughout their lives.
Thinking about this kindergarten, one of the aspects we thought was most interesting is that each morning, parents will drop their kids off at this big, open space and feel totally comfortable leaving them there for the day. This says a lot about the culture, and that there is a feeling of trust amongst the parents of the children who attend the kindergarten. We feel that this is a good lesson to take from the Toyko kindergarten.
For next week, we are all going to find a different Ted Talk that we feel relates to our future practice as elementary teachers, and share what we found valuable from the videos with the rest of the group.