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Project Profile: Thrive Elementary School

In Edmonton, Alberta, the heart of Canada, lies a beacon of hope and possibility: Thrive Elementary. Opened September 5, 2023 this visionary school isn’t just about teaching; it’s about nurturing, empowering, and guiding young minds towards a different, brighter future. Principal Donna Rankin-Anderson – armed with a clear vision, a rescue building and a set of blueprints – had a dream; to create a space where every child could thrive, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Thrive Elementary serves a community where resources are limited, where many children face barriers to learning. Recognizing the need to eliminate these gaps, Donna sought a partner who shared her vision of inclusivity and innovation. That’s when she remembered Natural Pod.

From the outset, Natural Pod wasn’t just a furniture supplier; they were collaborators committed to understanding Thrive’s unique needs and aspirations. As she recalls, “It was so much more than just buying furniture from catalogs. It was about creating a space where children feel valued, welcomed, and inspired.”

One of the key decisions was the choice of benches which proved to be a game-changer. Unlike traditional chairs, the benches offered greater flexibility and versatility, allowing students to move, explore, and collaborate in ways they never could before. Benches can be stages or ramps or boats or become forts. As Donna observed, ‘Choose your own adventure, every day.’ And yes, a chair is just a chair.

Even the cleaning process fosters social interaction among the children. Donna mentioned that using simple soap and water instead of harsh chemicals means the children are active participants in maintaining the cleanliness of their learning environment, previously the sole responsibility of adults.
But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Natural Pod’s service is their commitment to collaboration. Throughout the process, Donna felt like she had a true partner by her side, someone who shared her vision and passion for education and really listened.

Today, Thrive Elementary stands as a testament to the power of partnership and innovation in education. Thanks to Natural Pod, the school has been transformed into a vibrant, dynamic learning environment where children’s physical, cognitive and social wellbeing is supported and those gaps have been bridged.

In the end, it’s not just about the furniture—it’s about the values and vision that they represent.

By choosing Natural Pod, Thrive didn’t just invest in furniture; they invested in a vision of education that prioritizes the well-being of students, the health of the planet, and the future of learning. With Thrive Elementary and Natural Pod, it’s not just education; it’s empowerment.