Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Kidzania Tempat Bermain dan Belajar

The title from my article for wikimu.com means "Kidzania, a place to play and to learn".

It was along time ago that I proposed an idea of a children playground which mixed the interactive play with the children museum. It should have both interior and exterior activities. It would make the children invent the knowledge about culture, geography, or profession by experiencing it. The idea was commented as too expensive but would not bring any profit.

A continent away, in Canada, Jessie Smith had the dream to make her interactive children museum. A museum that will help children to know other cultures and in the long run will help make a better understanding. Children as the future leader with a deeper empathy towards other cultures will help build a better world.

Though she was having huge supports from her friends and among citizens in her city, the plan to make Kids Around the World as a special children museum should be canceled. Not enough political support and financial sponsors. (I'll post her letter in another post).

So, when I first heard about Kidzania I was curious. How would they make it? Who will finance it?

I forgot about it until I saw a posting in Unspun's blog. A press realese for the opening of Kidzania. Unspun commented about the possibility of making our children be more consumerism and branded oriented. The brand names could be planted unconsciously into the children's memory. Kidzania is place that would introduce children to the various vocation they might have in the future. They can act out as a photographer or as a model. They can also have their own ATM card and driver license. There lots more of opportunities to try there.

Luckily my eldest son got the chance to visit the place with his classmates. So I can interview him to know the effect on him. He was crazy about the place, that's for sure...(this is a kind of consumerism I found, because he doesn't want to think about the cost to enter that place).

Yet, I think we as parents are more responsible in penetrating branded names into our children's minds than this place would.

I can tell that he learn something there. The article is more about what I found from his experience and then the comments came as more input for this place. As an architect the most difficult thing to grab is to meet our design with our clients' need. I think in business it is also the same. So more input will be better for the future development.

I knew this is an expensive playground. My eldest son would not have his dream visits as often as he wishes. But I do think it is important to have investors care about children education even in an expensive way of presenting it.

I do want children with less financial support to be able to visit it too, but I am also uncertain of the impact on them. Will they be more serious in arranging their future (as study harder, or even work harder for those street children who already work) or they'll be more upset on their chance and destiny?!

1 comment:

Unspun said...

Some of my latives also took their kids there this weekend. Their verdict is that it is quite a cool place for their kids to hang out.

One said sure as hell it encouraged consumerism but did not seem too perplexed about it.

His and other relatives' complaints were that it was expensive, especially if you had children under 8, in which you had to accompany them and front up another Rp150,000; and that there were too many children in there during the weekend.

I think the jury is out on the consumerism issue but what seems to be happening there is a typical Indonesia thing where they have something good or enjoyable, then instead of thinking long term they think short term, try to make as much money as possible by squeezing as many people in. The experience gets spoiled and in time, when competition comes along, they'll collapse.