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Building learning blocks at LEGO school

By Alanna Petroff, CNN
updated 5:27 AM EDT, Fri August 9, 2013
The school was dreamt up by billionaire Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, who led the LEGO Group for more than two decades.
The school was dreamt up by billionaire Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, who led the LEGO Group for more than two decades.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The LEGO Foundation -- the charitable arm of the LEGO Group -- has opened a school in Denmark
  • The school aims to deliver the traditional curriculum required by the Danish government with play-centric teaching
  • The LEGO Foundation is looking to collaborate with the school to learn more about child development

(CNN) -- The concept of learning through playing this week went to a whole new level.

The LEGO Foundation -- the charitable arm of the LEGO Group -- has opened a school in Denmark designed to provide young children with a new, creative way to learn.

The school was dreamt up by billionaire Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, who led the LEGO Group for more than two decades and is the grandson of LEGO's founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen.

Read more: Makeblock: open source 'Lego for adults'

The International School of Billund welcomed roughly 75 students this week, aged between three and seven, for their first day of class.

Read more: Seeking gender equality in LEGO world

The school aims to deliver the traditional curriculum required by the Danish government alongside play-centric teaching and learning. It is based in the same town as the LEGO Group headquarters.

Camilla Uhre Fog, a director at the Lego Foundation and chair of the school's board, said the school intends to invite LEGO employees to come in for visits to teach the children, and classes may be used as a testing ground for new products and innovations.

Read more: Lego Tube maps mark 150th anniversary

"We want to be a role model. Everyone has something that they can give back to children," she said.

The LEGO Foundation is looking to collaborate with the school to learn more about child development and product development, said Uhre Fog. But "we will never compromise on education or the child's development," she said.

Paul Hansford enrolled his son Lukas in the school's kindergarten program this year. He said he likes that the school focuses on enquiry-based learning and English language skills.

Read more: Lord of the Rings lines, as delivered by LEGO characters

"Everything we've heard about it seems to be very positive," he said after the first day of classes.

The LEGO Foundation owns 25% of the LEGO Group and provides support for research and teaching-related activities around the world.

In 2012, the LEGO Foundation, LEGO Charity and related family-run foundations donated roughly 148 million Danish kroner ($26.5 million) towards charitable initiatives.

LEGO Group is the world's third largest toy manufacturer by revenue, after Mattel and Hasbro. The Denmark-based firm is still owned by the Kirk Kristiansen family that founded it in 1932. Last year, global sales increased by 25% to 23.4 billion Danish kroner ($4.2 billion).

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