Yutaka Kindergarten is built on a steady philosophy of play-based education, encouraging children to develop their thinking actively. Space that offer diversity of experiences by stimulating children to explore and develop their thinking was required to practice such education policy. In order to respond to its needs, we traced the word “kindergarten” to its origin - “children’s garden” - and converted the site into mosaic-like collection of gardens for diverse activities of children. Three approaches were adopted to realize the ‘gardens of learning through play’. First approach is the design of density. The furniture, walls, and playground equipment are distributed inside and outside, carefully designed to create three different gardens with different densities – ‘Garden of Motion’, ‘Garden of Stillness’, and ‘Garden with a Roof’. The three gardens are developed seamlessly on the site, which allows children of different age and body capabilities to coexist, interact, or be separated. Secondly are the mountain-like walls. The structural walls with openings on the upper half are placed like layers, creating diverse light, colors, spaciousness and relationships between the loosely separated classrooms. The layers are aimed to induce children’s motion by controlling children’s views, where in some places they are blocked, and in some places they are open. Although children’s views range according to its coordinates, the openings on the walls with a certain scale allow the adults’ views to be open at all times as a matter of management.
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