On Friday, our team had the privilege of visiting the enormously fun and immensely welcoming Gretchko Elementary School, a K-2 school in West Bloomfield. Our tour was led by the lovely and talented Amy Quinn (as well as some of her first graders).
Gretchko has truly embraced a culture of making. Teachers have their own mini makerspaces in their classrooms, the school’s media center, called the icenter, has exploratory stations that seamlessly blend literacy and STEM, and the school has transformed an old hallway into another shared makerspace.
Throughout our tour of the classroom and shared makerspaces, we were struck by two things. The first was how engaged and on-task the kids were. Even in the rare cases where kids needed to be redirected, they were quick to refocus just by asking, “What are you working on?”
Second, we were extremely excited to see how the whole school has embraced a maker culture. Teachers collaborate and support each other, with the help of administration. The atmosphere advocated exploration and reflection, all while seeking to foster a growth mindset in students. Teachers don’t place limits on their students. Instead, they seek to facilitate and further their learning by creating opportunities to make thinking visible.
Gretchko was such an exciting place to visit, and an encouraging example of how powerful the maker movement can be in education when it is embraced as part of the culture of the school.