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In the realm of education, where many institutions often find comfort in tradition, the Cranston Public School District has boldly stepped into the future. With the creation of the new Garden City Elementary school, they’ve painted a vivid picture of what’s possible when students don’t merely learn, but actively shape their own learning environments.

At the heart of this groundbreaking initiative was an inclusive project-based learning experience. Students, specifically those from grades 2nd to 4th, were more than just passive participants; they were active co-authors, bringing to life their dream learning spaces through critical thinking, ideation, and prototyping.

This process, far from being a mere academic exercise, resonated deeply with the principles of inclusivity. The result? A transformative shift in educators’ perspectives, giving rise to enhanced student agency, creativity, and self-advocacy.

This feat was achieved through the alignment of Cranston Public School District’s strategic vision, emphasizing stakeholder engagement, core student learning objectives, and the project team. The school opened its doors to the students who helped inform the design, in the fall of 2023.

As part of A4LE’s LearningSCAPES, we invite you to delve deep into this student-centric journey and the space they designed. Join us on Sunday, October 15, from 1:15-2:15 CT in Chicago, for the session titled “Students as Co-authors of Their Learning Environment.”

Come, be part of this immersive experience, and witness firsthand the magic that unfolds when students are given the reins to shape their learning narratives.

Watch the episode of Natural Pod LIVE with a Garden City student, educator, and designer who played a role in shaping this incredible space.