Kaye Schindeler hopes that every child who walks through the doors of Elk Island Public Schools' (EIPS) newly built Davidson Creek Elementary will feel welcome and accepted.
“A Place Where We Belong” will be a guiding motto at the Sherwood Park kindergarten to Grade 6 school when it opens to roughly 520 students on September 4.
“I want every child who attends to feel safe, cared for and that they are in a place where they can truly excel,” said Schindeler, who is ready to embark on her journey as principal at the new building. “As a school community we have to encourage students to be accepting of each other and find commonalities to bring us all together.”
Schindeler has worked for EIPS since 1988 as a teacher and principal. After accepting her new role at Davidson Creek, she set about bringing the school to life -- interviewing teachers, picking out furniture and organizing programs and services. During the entire process she focused on building a student-centered learning environment, something she learned to value as the daughter of professional educators.
“I always admired my parents’ work ethic and the way they cared so deeply about their students,” she said. “I think, because of them, I wanted to be a teacher too. I remember as a little girl turning my playhouse into a school where I could teach the neighbourhood kids. And that desire never waned.”
With its learning commons, breakout rooms and outdoor plaza, Davidson Creek makes plenty of room for students to connect and work together. Students arriving in the fall will also find floor-to-ceiling windows, a music room and a large gym.
“I can’t wait to watch the look on students’ faces as they see their new school for the first time,” Schindeler said. “Students are the heart of a school, so their happiness is what I consider success. My hope is we have created a space where students can learn and play together in their own neighbourhood.”