Outdoor learning: Raimondo visits Smithfield school to get a first-hand look

School Updates

SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Gina Raimondo spent some time outside Thursday to get a closer look at the outside classrooms at a Smithfield elementary school.

Raimondo called her visit to Laperche Elementary School “a positive experience.”

Laperche Elementary is one of several schools statewide able to offer outdoor learning pods for students.

“Every detail has to be accounted for,” she said. “It was pretty clear that they are actually learning, reading books, doing math, they’re just doing it outside.”

Raimondo said visiting the schools allows her to hear directly to students, teachers and administrators how in-person learning is going and if any improvements need to be made moving forward.

“We have to share what we’re learning,” she said. “The practices we’re learning here, I’m going to go share with the next school I visit.”

Julie Dorsey, principal of Laperche Elementary, said she realizes the importance of having students back in the classroom, even if it isn’t a traditional learning environment.

“They just love being out here,” Dorsey said. “They’re little, they need to move and have their bodies ready to learn again.”

Raimondo acknowledges that outdoor learning is weather dependent, but many schools have already prepared their indoor classrooms for the colder months.

“It will be hard to do this in December,” she said. “I don’t think they are going to be out here forever, but it’s an excellent solution for now, and that’s how we are going to get through this.”

Raimondo said she was asked by numerous students when she will make a decision on trick-or-treating, which told 12 News could come as early as next week.

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