Day three — Beauty and The Hague

Thanks to the country’s efficient public transportation system, it was easy to visit other interesting spots in neighbouring cities. That is, if you’ve got the charge card properly set up and if you are accompanied by helpful local hosts.

We visited Perron 07, a school for pre-primary students that operates as both a day care centre and a kindergarten in The Hague. The school is considered an innovation, as it is the norm that day care centres operate as what they are and do not serve an educational purpose. Perron is therefore a breakthrough in the early childhood education market.

The school follows a localised version of the “Reggio” pedagogy that originated in Italy. It started three years ago and its founder is hoping that the school will serve as a model for the wider community. I really don’t know anything about Reggio but it’s educational enough for me to learn directly from the school and the founder.

The school is a beautiful place. It is actually very stylish with its straightforward colour scheme mostly made up of black, white and a few simple colours, minimalistic furniture and decor, and very clever utilization of space. “The first things that a kid sees in the world should be beautiful things,” the founder explained. I wonder if our kids back homes enjoy what they see?

Being a model school, teachers at Perron are not just teachers but also educators, “pedagogs” and researchers. Teachers don’t just teach but they research on the students and study them closely. Remarkably, students’ work, everything from scribbles to clay work, are meticulously preserved and “documented”. It’s amazing to see how the school traces and values such details in the students’ development. It shows that the school has high expectations on the development of their students, and values them as people who is capable of producing things, making connections, and exploring the world in the comfort of the school.

Word of wisdom from the founder: if you have a dream, stick to it and don’t give up. Perron 07 is the result of a long time of hard work and resolve. How nice it is for me to have learned so much from a kindergarten!

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