Zukeran Elementary opens new facility on Camp Foster

by Cpl. Chelsea Simons, Marine Corps Installations Pacific
Stripes Okinawa

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan – Zukeran Elementary School opened the doors of its new facility to parents, teachers and students for the first day of the new school year Aug. 29 on Camp Foster.

The new facility will provide a more modern education environment compared to the previous campus which was in use for 65 years. The new facility is designed with an open floor plan that connects not only the teachers, but also the students to their peers in different classes.

“Instructionally, we have transitioned from single isolated classrooms to a neighborhood of studios,” said Reynaldo Toquero, principal of Zukeran Elementary. “In each neighborhood, there are five or six studios that open to a central learning area called the hub. The design affords the entire grade level to be a family sharing common spaces and working on similar projects resulting with a grade-level community of learners.”

The new facility features six major, grade-level neighborhoods. This allows for the free movement of students between teachers, promoting flexible grouping and flexible learning environments.

“This allows more socialization for the students,” said Elizabeth Shiroma, a kindergarten teacher with Zukeran. “It gives them an opportunity to work with other kids that are not in their class and build social skills.”

The new facility is also designed to be safer than the previous campus.

“The school is designed for monitored and controlled entry to ensure the safety and security of our children,” said Toquero. “The building is also designed to be energy efficient and asbestos free.”

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