Fielding International’s “Pathfinder” projects are strategically designed for schools that are ready for educational innovation, shifting their pedagogy to a more Project-Based Learning and Student-Directed approach. These makeover projects enable students and teachers to implement and experience a new kind of collaborative learning environment that follows the patterns of a “Learning Community” model.
These projects become the new models that illustrate new strategies for teaching and learning and allow teachers to develop new techniques.
Cranston Public Schools, Eden Park Elementary
The District needed a plan to transform its aging building stock into modern, responsive learning environments to support all learners.
In preparation for a bond, Fielding International helped navigate the District in establishing a “Pathfinder” project that would set the standard for their educational spaces going forward. A small-scale, low-cost transformation was needed to showcase what the future of their educational spaces could and should look like. The west wing of Eden Park Elementary School was identified as a natural location for a design renovation to show the community what their 5-year plans were for the rest of the district.
A highly successful “Pathfinder” project based on a holistic “Learning Community” model rather than the now outmoded “Cells and Bells” model.
Powerful Ensemble of Spaces
It contains a shared learning common, a social heart, and a robust collection of discrete learning studios of varying sizes, small group rooms, and some seminar spaces, which can respond to individual needs and personalized learning.
By reconfiguring underutilized circulation space, learning is now able to extend to shared areas outside the classroom.
Classrooms are now studios, and the new space offers an interconnected array of different spatial types to support a variety of learning modalities to support all students. A Learning Commons is thought of as the main space, with Learning Studios as more of a breakout space. Once learning is able to break out of the classroom and into a more flexible environment, students become more engaged and self-directed.
Through the transformed wing, flexible and multi-use spaces are found everywhere. The adjacencies of these spaces from one to the other, and their visual connectedness, supports varied learning styles and student-centered activities. Students have agency to choose the right space type for their work and teachers are able to shift easily from one lesson to another and feel ownership over their shared Learning Community.
As a testimonial to the project’s achievements, AIA Rhode Island, a statewide component of the American Institute of Architects, recently awarded Eden Park Elementary and Fielding International a 2020 Design Award of Merit. Additionally, the project has received international recognition, including recent publication in Planning Learning Spaces: https://issuu.com/fielding-international/docs/planning_learning_spaces-eden_park.