The world’s best kindergarten
Fuji Kindergarten was founded in 2007 by Takaharu and Yui Tezuka, a Japanese architect duo at Tokyo-based firm, Tezuka Architects. The Kindergarten was named the best school in the world by OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and UNESCO.
In 2015, their TED Talk video, The Best Kindergarten You’ve Ever Seen, recorded 7th in the world for the number of views. In the video, Takaharu walks us through Fuji Kindergarten, its design process and its method of education, explaining how architectural design could be a key part of the children’s education.
We made this kindergarten to be a circle, it’s a kind of endless circulation on top of the roof. If you are a parent, you know that kids love to keep making circles. This is how the rooftop looks – Takaharu
Four key elements that make Fuji Kindergarten unique
Open Spaced Learning Environments: Fuji Kindergarten has more open spaces and little or no boundaries. This was done to discourage children from establishing a social hierarchy. Little or no boundaries means there’s no such need to create such hierarchies.
The Right Level Of Noise: Takaharu ensures that every classroom at Fuji is filled with the right level of background noise. The kindergarten accepts more than 30 children affected by autism so noise isn’t something that they take lightly. A typical day at Fuji Kindergarten is while one class is learning basic mathematics, another class is playing piano and children learn amid this background noise.
The classrooms in the building have sliding doors that can be kept open for at least two thirds of the year. There are no walls between classrooms, so noise floats freely from one class to the other, from outside to inside. This can be very important as many children get nervous when they’re expected to be in a quiet box! – Takaharu
The Element Of Circles Into Play Spaces: Fuji Kindergarten has been designed as a circle. The kindergarten has an endless circular roof that allows kids to run forever. Play is important to healthy brain development and this kindergarten has an endless playground. Do the math!
Connection With Nature Matters: At Fuji, nature is everywhere. Nature is in fact at the forefront of its teaching. There are trees growing right through classrooms. There are trees with giant safety nets to stop kids from falling through. There are big pre-existing trees that have since become splendid climbing points for children on the roof.
Every month at Fuji the teachers and kids rearrange the classroom furniture. They filled the school with around 600 very light wood boxes so they can play/rearrange them to their heart’s’ content, and are often used as pretend trains! – Takaharu
Fuji Kindergarten was beautifully designed and built with children in mind. Takaharu and Yui Tezuka are big believers that thoughtfully designed learning spaces can help foster a positive reaction and relationship between children and the school early on. In their TED Talk video, Takaharu ends his speech with this statement: My point is don’t control them, don’t protect them too much, and they need to tumble sometimes. They need to get some injury. And that makes them learn how to live in this world. I think architecture is capable of changing this world, and people’s lives. And this is one of the attempts to change the lives of children.