World’s best Kindergarten? Maybe so.

Perhaps you’ve heard about Fuji Kindergarten. I first learned about it from a YouTube video I no longer can find–but it’s an amazing school, and a fascinating concept.

Listen to a 2014 TED Talk by its architect creator, Takaharu Tezuka, as he explains his concept:

The Montessori approach of the educators fits well with the open classrooms and the children’s freedom of movement.

One favorite activity at Fuji School is climbing on the tree with the cargo nets.
One favorite activity at Fuji School is climbing on the tree with the cargo nets.
This play area was built after the school was completed in 2007, but uses many compatible ideas.
This play area was built after the school was completed in 2007, but uses many compatible ideas.
The deck is a prominent part of the school's design. The kids love to run there, but the government did require protective railings--no, school officials were told, they couldn't put up nets around the edges instead.
The deck is a prominent part of the school’s design. The kids love to run there, but the government did require protective railings–no, school officials were told, they couldn’t put up nets around the edges instead.
Here's a glimpse of the open classroom design of the school. Architect Tezuka asserts that the noise is healthy for small children. As a teacher who's had to teach in noisy conditions, I'm less sure about that (of course, I was teaching high school, so that may be different).
Here’s a glimpse of the open classroom design of the school. Architect Tezuka asserts that the noise is healthy for small children. As a teacher who’s had to teach in noisy conditions, I’m less sure about that (of course, I was teaching high school, so that may be different).

The school has been profiled by the international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Monocle Magazine’s Asia Bureau Chief Fiona Wilson (don’t miss the video she narrates), and many others.

VIDEOS AND IMAGES: Many thanks to YouTube for the TED Talk video and images of the tree, and the play area.  The aerial view of the deck is from Upworthy, and the photo of the open classrooms is from Detail Inspiration. Fascinating articles and more photos are available from most of these. Many thanks to all!

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jansgephardt

Kansas City-based Jan S. Gephardt is a writer, artist, and teacher. She makes nationally-recognized paper sculpture and writes sf mystery novels about a sapient police dog.

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