Modular classrooms at Barrington school: ‘This is a really nice space’

Crowding issues relieved by new modular classrooms

By Josh Bickford
Posted 3/14/23

Maritime flags decorate the ceiling inside Abigail Canto’s classroom at Primrose Hill School.

The colorful trimmings are a reminder of the year-long nautical theme celebrated by the students …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Register to post events


If you'd like to post an event to our calendar, you can create a free account by clicking here.

Note that free accounts do not have access to our subscriber-only content.

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Modular classrooms at Barrington school: ‘This is a really nice space’

Crowding issues relieved by new modular classrooms

Posted

Maritime flags decorate the ceiling inside Abigail Canto’s classroom at Primrose Hill School.

The colorful trimmings are a reminder of the year-long nautical theme celebrated by the students and their teacher. Canto refers to her hard-working third-graders as crew-mates, and all together they form the “friend-ship.”

Most recently, Canto’s class relocated to a new port — moving from a temporary classroom space inside the cafeteria to a new modular classroom situated between the parking lot and the school. Canto said the new space is wonderful. 

“One of the kids said ‘We moved from a steamship to a cruise ship,” Canto said. “They love it.”

The district has been working hard to bring the additional learning space to Primrose Hill School. The local elementary school, which hosts the district’s pre-kindergarten program, has experienced some overcrowding issues. The challenges forced administrators to move some students into a temporary classroom space inside the cafeteria. 

Meanwhile, school officials secured a grant for $108,000 to off-set the purchase of a two-classroom modular unit which also features two bathrooms, heating and air conditioning. The district spent another $50,000 in local dollars. 

It took administrators a few months to get the classroom spaces prepped and ready. Superintendent of Schools Michael Messore said the required infrastructure work was extensive. The pod was trucked in and anchored to the ground. Electricity was brought in and crews put in new sewer and water lines.

“We went through Building and Fire to make sure we were permitted properly,” Messore said. “There were a lot of moving pieces to it.”

Primrose Hill School Principal Coleen Smith said anticipation grew once the arrived on the school’s campus. She said students were excited to see the inside of the modular classrooms. 

“The Friday before February break we were given access,” Smith said. “…It’s fantastic.”

Canto and her students fill one classroom in the modular unit, and Primrose Hill School art teacher Maria Zapasnik fills the other. 

“It’s been really great,” Zapasnik said. “I was on a cart for about a year.”

“On a cart” means Zapasnik would load all her art supplies onto a small wheeled-cart and travel from one classroom to the next. But in late February, Zapasnik moved into the modular classroom and loaded paints, papers and other materials onto permanent shelves. 

“It gives me more freedom to do more projects,” she said. “Kids have a lot more room. It’s easier for them to share supplies. They can move around.”

Zapasnik said students are very excited to visit her room for art class. 

“I’ve had students come in jumping up and down. They’re very happy,” Zapasnik said. “They missed having the space. And they have a break from their everyday classroom. It’s really good.”

Zapasnik said working off a cart created some limitations to what she could offer students. Now, settled inside the modular classrooms space, she is able to broaden her approach. 

“This is a really nice space,” she said. “It’s a really nice set-up. I’m really, really pleased.”

Teach anywhere

Canto said the move from the temporary classroom inside the Primrose Hill School cafeteria to a new modular classroom has been a positive experience. But, she added, teaching and learning in the cafeteria was not a negative. 

“Like I was telling Mr. Messore, they’re so flexible and resilient,” Canto said of her students. “It was a quick adjustment. We’ve been in here for three and a half days, and they’re quickly adjusted to it.

“We basically took our entire classroom in the cafeteria and transferred it over. It definitely has its perks. We did fine in the there, and we’re doing fine in here… Kids can learn anywhere, and I can teach anywhere. We teach outside on picnic tables. We teach anywhere. The only difference has been our space, but this space has many more benefits than previously. We’ve been happy anywhere. ‘I can teach you here, there or anywhere… they can learn here, there or anywhere.’”

2024 by East Bay Media Group

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.