Trung Nguyen Kindergarten
Pedagogy of play for early childhood education
MASS is partnering with Trung Nguyen, the largest coffee company in Vietnam, in order to design and build a kindergarten in Buon Ma Thuot. The kindergarten will pilot a new curriculum that is based on a pedagogy of play, supported by a school design that seeks to encourage curiosity and exploration.
Vietnam is the second largest coffee producer in the world. However, climate change is predicted to reduce the area suitable for growing coffee by 50% in 2050, threatening both the country’s economy and the livelihood of rural communities, particularly in the Central Highlands. Trung Nguyen is responding to this threat on the Central Highlands with education. By focusing on early childhood education, Trung Nguyen hopes to instill a desire for lifelong learning at a young age, and ultimately reduce dropout rates among the nation’s youth.
Conversations with local families, educators, and Trung Nguyen revealed the challenges of the current educational system and the opportunity for a new Early Childhood Care and Education system that is not based on test taking and memorization, but rather on self-discovery and curiosity.
In response, the school is designed around a learning playscape, with all classrooms situated on the ground floor and grouped in age clusters. Each classroom is informed by principles of playful learning with an accompanying age-specific outdoor play space. This creates a continuous, uninterrupted playscape with all special programs, such as teacher’s rooms, a cafeteria, and art and music classrooms, on the upper level. The school will serve 450 children of local families, coffee farmers, and residents.
Location: Buon Ma Thuot, Vietnam
Status: In Progress
Size: 4,000 sq. m
Services: Architecture Design, Landscape Design