Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Let Kids be Kids

Credit: Upworthy, ideas.ted.com

Do you remember how life was like as a kindergartener? I do, vaguely. It was the most fancy-free time of my life to be honest, not having a care about the world, homework was minimal and in the form of colouring sheets if any; Friday was invariably play day so we were allowed to get up and down on slides and run around until tea time. I don’t think kids these days would believe what I say though, for they seem to be robbed of their childhood what with the pressure on their parents’ shoulders, which is passed on to these little humans who have only just managed to walk in a balanced manner.

I do not have kids. One of the gazillion reasons being the expectations schools and society have on children these days: from kindergarten onwards they are pushed beyond their limits to fare well academically, so much so that they are deprived of the right to be children – roll in the sand, chase after each other for no apparent reasons, and play according to their own schedule. Educators and parents alike seem to have lost sight on what is best for children.

Fortunately enough, there are educators behind the Fuji Kindergarten outside Tokyo, whose desire for children to be children materialised by the design executed by Tokyo-based firm Tezuka Architects. Put simply, the Fuji Kindergarten is an endless playground, with trees growing right through classrooms. The school is especially designed as a circle and the roof as a giant ring of playground to let kids run around literally forever, until they have had enough of it. With the light structure that is the kindergarten built around a big tree, kids are encouraged to climb up to the classroom if they wish. Oh, and there is a water sink in each classroom to foster the children version of water-cooler talk.

To quote the principal: “I don’t train them (children). We leave them on top of the roof, like sheep, and they will keep running.” And that is precisely the kind of school life a kindergartener deserves.

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