Innovative kindergarten education provider MEES International School has announced a full-day project-based learning (PBL) elementary program starting in September 2021.
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MEES founder and principal Euft van den Berg explained that this new program can provide the opportunity for students in Tokyo to develop the critical thinking skills the next decades will demand—and which aren’t being encouraged by traditional Japanese schools: “Even though Japanese local governments have recently started to implement technology into the classrooms, giving children the use of a tablet or computer does not mean they will become independent critical thinkers. For example, you will need individuals who can think out of the box to come up with an original idea for a successful startup.”
PBL is a student-centered, dynamic pedagogical approach that provides opportunities for students to acquire in-depth knowledge by actively exploring real-world challenges. In PBL, subjects are not standalone academic entities—projects determine the needed skills to proceed, which are gathered by students’ own research, AI and teacher input. Teachers facilitate learning and encourage exploration and discovery. As they learn through this innovative method, children develop key 21st century skills such as the four Cs: Communication, Creativity, Critical thinking, and Collaboration.
The teaching approach has its roots in educational philosophies such as the Reggio Emilia approach and the Montessori method, which is grounded in the idea that children are native learners who can learn faster and with more engagement when given the freedom to choose what to learn. It is no coincidence that MEES’s van den Berg, like Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, grew up in the Montessori education system. Brin in particular has credited some of his startup mentality to the freedom his Montessori education offered to learn and discover things at his own pace.
At MEES they believe that students have the right to take ownership over their own learning as they engage with fundamental questions. The school nurtures students to become continuous learners who are not afraid of challenges, are versatile, and will embrace new technological developments.
About MEES International School
MEES International School, founded in 2016, is a Tokyo-based school whose educational philosophy combines the Montessori method, the Reggio Emilia approach, project-based learning, and 21st century technology. It has three locations: Komagome, Toshima Ward; Sendagi, Bunkyo Ward; and Hakusan, Bunkyo Ward.
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