Funded in part by a grant from the William Penn Foundation, the School District of Philadelphia is redesigning pre-kindergarten through third-grade classrooms into interactive, center-based learning environments with renovations to include literacy and learning centers. These centers have workstations for art, dramatic play, block building, writing, math activities, and sand/water/tactile learning. The centers also include comfortable reading corners, listening areas to engage with audio materials, and kidney-shaped tables that allow the teacher easy access to students when conducting small-group instruction.
Teachers receive training on the new equipment, technology, and associated best practices, and they have access to sample units and lesson plans for using centers in their classrooms. Eight schools were renovated in the summer of 2017, 11 in the summer of 2018, and ten in the summer of 2019.