Together, Brown, Vartan Gregorian Elementary are designing, creating hands-on ‘STEAM room’ for kids

News from Brown

Science and technology instruction is about to get even more engaging than the exciting lessons already in place at Providence’s Vartan Gregorian Elementary School. 

Teachers and administrators at the school, located just blocks away from Brown University in the city’s Fox Point neighborhood, are working with the University to transform an empty classroom into a hands-on, interactive space where students from kindergarten to fifth grade can explore science, technology, engineering, arts and math — or STEAM for short.

Throughout the 2021-22 academic year, the two schools are collaborating to outfit the space with new furniture and supplies, with the goal of transforming a traditional third-grade classroom into a vibrant laboratory-like space with endless possibilities. By late spring, with funding from Brown enabling project implementation, students and teachers at Vartan Gregorian Elementary will be able to conduct interactive experiments, work together on creative projects, and fill the walls and windows with finished art and science projects.

Brown President Christina H. Paxson said the collaboration is inspired in part by the elementary school’s namesake, Vartan Gregorian, who served as president of Brown from 1989 to 1997 and died in 2020. For nearly a decade before Fox Point Elementary School was renamed in his honor, Gregorian had considered it his “adopted” school, partnering with educators and local leaders to expand its resources and physical footprint, connect its students with tutoring and mentoring, and host school-wide enrichment activities. 

“Vartan Gregorian believed that institutions of higher education have an obligation to respond to urgent social needs across the nation and world, including the need to deliver quality education to every single child,” Paxson said. “His legacy lives on in Brown’s deep connection with this elementary school, and the University continues to build on the foundations he first laid 30 years ago, both at Vartan Gregorian Elementary and across the city at other public schools. We’re excited to help turn the vision for a new STEAM laboratory into reality.”


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