Education Update 8/12/15

A Kindergarten Designed to Let Kids Be Kids

At Fuji Kindergarten outside Tokyo, kids make the most of a magical environment designed just for them by Tokyo-based firm Tezuka Architects. The roof of their oval-shaped school is an endless playground where trees grow right through classrooms. Architect Takaharu Tezuka and his wife, Yui, designed this school with the question in mind, “How do you build to let children be children? You think like a child.” In his TED talk, Tezuka stresses the importance of allowing kids to play and the need for learning how to fall. The circular school roof allows kids to run around and explore and each classroom isn’t enclosed by walls. Tezuka believes that “architecture is capable of changing this world, and people’s lives. And this is one of the attempts to change the lives of children.” Watch his funny and light-hearted talk at the link above.

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Image source: Altanaka / Shutterstock

Swapping Screen Time for Getting Dirty: Why Kids Need to Spend More Time Outside

In this book review of How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature by Dr. Scott Sampson, writer Shannon Hayes describes her own experiences with nature and its relation to her daughter 20 years later. Her review highlights some of the major points Dr. Sampson argues in book, most importantly, that “the present-day gap between kids and nature emerges as one of the greatest and most overlooked crises of our time.” Dr. Sampson offers a hypothesis of Topophilia, “that bonding between people and place offers adaptive advantages to human beings.” He also believes that this bonding is most valuable when it begins at an early age.

Image Source: Vizzutti, Lido, NY Times 8/7/15

New York High School Students Trade Skyscrapers for Big Sky

Six NYC high school students, all who have never traveled west of Chicago, ventured out for nine days to outdoors of Montana for what was half field trip to a museum of natural history and half “The Read World: Montana”. Sponsored by the American Prairie Reserve with grants from Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, an academic program for low-income students in New York City’s public schools to earn college degrees, the program provides opportunities for these students to experience the outdoors. The students, mostly from immigrant families, live in areas that are considered under-served and where “the amount of open park space measures around one acre for every 400 residents.” The goal is the change their perspective and potential impact what they choose to study in college.

Education Update is a weekly blog post highlighting recent developments in the world of education. The linked articles and summaries are not endorsements, rather frame points of view to begin conversations about the state of education, trends, and how we as designers can play an active role in shaping schools.

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