CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Another day, another first day of school for children in Southern New England.
There are some big changes for the Cranston School District as they kick off the 2023-24 school year on Friday.
The brand-new Garden City Elementary School is opening its doors and has been designed to foster a much more interactive learning environment.
Superintendent Jeannine Nota-Masse said the bright, colorful school is part of the district’s push toward 21st-century learning.
“They really learn teamwork and collaboration and they have agency over their own learning in these spaces,” she said.
One of the biggest changes? No classrooms. Instead, the school has what they are calling learning commons.
“Instead of having a student sitting at a desk for five or six hours, in rows, being talked at, this is a whole different approach where it’s really a collaborative approach between students and teachers and student to student,” Nota-Masse said.
All five learning spaces inside the school will house roughly 100 students and between eight to 10 teachers.
Nota-Masse says students had a direct hand in the design of the school.
“Students when they’re comfortable, they pay attention, they learn better. They don’t have to be sitting in a hard chair at a hard desk to learn and we have found that allowing students to choose where they are sitting, and how they are sitting, has decreased the number of behavioral issues we have because they’re comfortable and they are choosing their best place to learn,” she said.
The new Gladstone Elementary School — which is expected to open in two years — will be built in the same style.