Ending open concept schools would be a ‘mistake,’ says professor – Windsor

Shutting the door on open concept schools in Windsor-Essex in favour of a system that would build walls between students would be a “mistake,” according to a University of Windsor professor.

The traditional four-wall system segregates children, explained associate education professor Yvette Daniel.

Her comments come following an effort by Greater Essex County District School Board trustee Ron LeClair to end what he describes as the “outdated” system.

“Open concept is not an ideal learning environment for our children,” said LeClair.

The board only has two open-concept schools left — Sandwich West Public School in LaSalle and Roseville Public School in east Windsor. 

Ron LeClair, trustee at the Greater Essex County District School Board, wants to see the two remaining open concept schools converted back to the traditional style. (Jason Viau/CBC)

LeClair has put forward a motion requesting a report, which will be heard in September, to identify how much it would cost to convert these elementary schools back to the type of set up most students are accustomed to.

Biggest complaint is noise

Many parents have expressed concern about their children learning in the more open environment, according to the trustee — the biggest complaint, he added, is noise.

“Obviously noise is not conducive to the best learning environment,” the trustee added.

An open concept is also not as safe as a traditional school, according to LeClair, who said parents are worried what a lockdown would look like in such an accessible area.

“Quite frankly our schools are very safe. I’m not concerned about the safety of our students,” he said. “However, an open concept school is not necessarily as secure as a tradition school with walls.”

Teachers need to embrace the idea

File photo of an open concept classroom at W J Langlois Catholic Elementary School. (CBC)

Open concept classrooms can work, according to Daniel — teachers just need to embrace the…

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