Thinking outside the box: Glen Hills kindergartners showcase 3-D projects

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The students in the two kindergarten classes at Glen Hills Elementary School recently hosted a showcase event, sharing their Governor’s Projects created as part of a kindergarten curriculum developed by Boston Public Schools.

The classes were asked to consider what Rhode Island needs to become a better place for children. Each class worked together as a group to determine their answer to the question, and then created a three-dimensional visual representation of their response.

In Maria Santonastaso’s classroom, the students voted to create a Kid’s Library, which included all of the resources and features a typical library might have – a restroom, shelves of books, and a space for research and writing – along with a garden, a treehouse and a refrigerator filled with food.

“If people don’t have money and they’re hungry, they can get food for free,” student Michael Yingling said.

In their message to the governor, the students pointed out the importance of reading. As student Zachary Trask pointed out, “if you can read, you can write, and you can read danger signs.”

Santonastaso pointed out various details that were included in the design, such as individual tiles for the library’s first-level floor – which took the students weeks to create – and the drama room, which the students felt was important for helping to practice stories in order to better remember them.

In Kelly Walton’s classroom, the students decided that Rhode Island would be a better place for children if it had an indoor playground.

In considering the important features for the playground to have, the students put an emphasis on comfort and relaxation as well as on physical activity. Their playground included a waterfall and chairs, as well as a slide, swings, monkey bars and a basketball court.

Walton was impressed by the students’ ability to collaborate on the project and with the scope of the design process, which involved reworking and revising the design as they ran into stumbling blocks such as space constraints. She noted that the students’ other top choice was to create a cafeteria because they felt that their own is too noisy and lacked natural lighting. Ultimately, however, the indoor playground project was the winning choice.

“All 21 of them collaborated on this project, and it’s very reflective of them. The concept really relates to them,” Walton said.

Guests from within the school, the school department, the Rhode Island Department of Education and the Cranston community spent the morning visiting with the students in both classrooms. The guests had the opportunity to interview students and ask them questions while viewing the 3-D models. 

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