The first students ever to enroll at The Croft School are now in first grade. Based in Wayland Square, Croft was founded in 2018, but its first cohort is already on the move: They’ve visited the Providence Athenaeum, Gracie’s restaurant, Ronald McDonald House, and the Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art (RIMOSA). Each Friday, Croft takes its 20 first-graders on a field trip to a local institution, showing the six- and seven-year-olds what their capital city is all about.
Not long ago, Croft visited us. “Us,” as in Providence Media. A school bus parked in front of our offices in Pawtucket, where we publish East Side Monthly and four other Rhode Island magazines. For a little more than an hour, our editorial team had the chance to describe what we do – and give the fledgling publishers a heap of arts materials, so they could cut and color their own periodicals.
“As a school, we believe there is plenty of learning that can happen within our classrooms,” says Scott Given, Croft’s founder and head of school. “Nonetheless, there are inherently limits to being inside any school building. Therefore, we really try to break down the walls of our school however we can, make the community part of our classroom, and learn from the great people, places, and resources that Providence is so fortunate to have.”
Before each field trip, Croft students spend weeks in preparation. In one case, the first-graders visited Laid Back Fitness, where they participated in a Ninja Warrior Junior session. But instead of just jumping into the fray, students heard in-class presentations about nutrition, exercise, and brain development. They developed a list of questions for the Ninja Warrior instructors (e.g. “How often do you eat something not healthy?” and “If you aren’t tall, how do you complete the obstacles?”).
At Providence Media, students gathered on the floor of our editorial room and called out similarly astute questions: “When was the first magazine made?” And: “How do you come up with so many stories?” And our personal favorite: “How many breaks do you get?”
Afterward, our young visitors spent about 40 minutes with old copies of East Side Monthly and sundries from our supply closet, cutting and gluing and writing colorful headlines. Subjects ran the gamut, from yoga to basketball to the importance of stretching regularly. (The Providence Media team might do well to read up on that last one.)
Next, Croft students will start their “engineering unit,” with field trips to the Lego-robot lab Snapology, playground supplier Premier Park and Play, and the Children’s Museum. We have a feeling they’ll have plenty to write about.