The Lego Foundation is set to open a new school in Denmark, combining global education standards with a focus on creativity and play.
It's a rare few who gets to play with Lego for a living — now, it's a rare few who will get to live a child's dream: going to school in an official Lego institute. The Lego Foundation's International School of Billund in Denmark will be opening its doors to children aged three to seven in August this year.
The school was the brainchild of former Lego president Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, who was born in Billund, where his grandfather founded the Lego company. He wants to put the small town on the map as more than just Lego's headquarters; he wants to make it the world capital of children.
(Credit: International School of Billund)
The plan for the school is to educate children from pre-kindergarten all the way through to grade 10 (16 years old), following a curriculum approved by the International Baccalaureate, combined with an emphasis on curiosity, creativity and play.
"Children are open minded, curious and innovative," said the school's website. "They are not afraid to experiment. These abilities will be nurtured in our school to help our pupils reach their full potential. We believe that all children have the right to become the very best they can be."
To serve as the school's headmaster, the Lego Foundation has engaged Richard Matthews, a former physicist who has led a number of international and bilingual schools around Europe, Africa and South America. Since the International School of Billund is to teach in English, with a mix of 50-50 international and local students, he seems an excellent fit for the role.
"Allowing time for creativity, play and getting into a state of flow is at the centre of Lego's philosophy, and we'll be experimenting with this and other ideas in the timetabling," Matthews told The Guardian. "But we also have a responsibility; the children's education comes first, and sometimes the old methods will be the best."
Fees will be set at 2545 Danish krone per month for kindergarten (around AU$460), and 2945 Danish krone per month for older children (AU$530), payable every month except July. These fees include compulsory healthy lunches and snacks for the children, as well as transport. Children who need before- and after-school care can join the Breakfast Club and the After School Club, which will include activities such as sport and art, free of charge.
It sounds like an amazing learning environment. Although the school is partially being built to bring more people to settle in Billund, we hope the Lego Foundation decides to branch out its education initiatives around the globe. Maybe they can add a few institutions for grown-ups, too.