Stephen Heppell wrote recently that schools of the future must be “places in which difficult, exciting, challenging, engaging, complex learning happens, rather than being where uniform education is delivered.”
In Tokyo, there is a kindergarten that has been designed as a place for exciting, difficult and engaging play (learning). Its circular design literally places students at the centre.
In Asian cultures, the circle is a powerful symbol. It represents unity and perfection. In contrast, the square/rectangle has sharp corners representing laws and regulations. Is this the reason why we still build schools as rectangles seeing them as places of regulations and uniform learning instead of seeing perfection in complexity, chaos and creativity?
The kindergarten is one of the best I have seen because the principal and architect dared to think outside the square. I wonder what our schools symbolise? Are they spaces for passivity or play; spaces for listening or living?