A Shinto priest in charge of a Kyoto nursery school is taking an unconventional approach to early education, seeking to "see what cannot be seen" in children to help nurture their development.

Itsuki Murota took the helm of the Iwaya Nursery School in Yamashina Ward in 1980, when he was in his mid-20s, and began to recognize changes in children around 1995.

"Children who couldn't sit quietly or join groups began to be noticeable," Murota recalled. These children would become quiet when told, but scolding could not settle fundamental problems, he said.