The bright colours and open space are the first things that you see when walking into the brand new Kenneth D. Taylor School. The kindergarten to Gr. 4 school in Evanston is a welcoming place for students in the community. Its motto, “take care of yourself, take care of each other, take care of our place”, demonstrates how everyone is responsible for making it an amazing school.
“A focus in our new school is bringing everyone together and building strong, respectful relationships that make this school a great place to learn. We are continually communicating with each other to build trust and strong bonds in our school,” says David Dyck, principal.
The classrooms provide a perfect space for working together and learning. The moveable wall between rooms allows for classes to work either separately or together. For example, students in Ms. Carstairs’ and Mrs. Witczak’s Gr. 1 classes have collaborated on a math unit, giving students the chance to work with and meet kids from the other class.
The classrooms have lots of natural lighting and neutral colours, which creates a calming atmosphere. In addition, the rolling furniture enables easy reconfigurations of the room. The "community" tables contribute to an atmosphere where students learn together.
“The classrooms have a Zen feel to them. The modern furniture promotes conversations and collaboration between my students,” says Mrs. Brar, Grade 2 teacher.
Students and staff have many reasons for being excited about their new school. Students love the new books and learning tools, while staff members are excited to have the unique opportunity of building a new school culture.
Students in Mrs. Steckly’s kindergarten classroom are already working hard on their learning goals. They are exploring the space and objects around them and making connections to what they are learning by identifying shapes found in everyday objects. “Look, an oval!” one student said to his friends while holding up an olive from his snack.
“Coming together as a staff to build a learning community has been a rewarding and enriching, experience,” says Dyck.
As with any school at the beginning of a new year, the students are meeting new people, but this year they also have the chance to walk to and from school with other kids in the neighbourhood.
"I like my new school because I am making new friends," says Isla, a Grade 2 student.
One of the next steps at the school will be the construction of the playground, which parents are actively fundraising for and hope to have up in the spring of 2018.