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Learn More About Lincoln's New Little School Expansion!

Lincoln School’s littlest learners have a lot to celebrate! The state-of-the-art Little School expansion, a 4,700-square-foot sustainable net-zero building, has officially opened its doors!

The cutting-edge facility was built to maximize the connections and creativity of a Reggio-Emilia approach, an Italian early childhood pedagogy that focuses on hands-on discovery and student-centered learning, while also honoring our Quaker roots with its sustainable, environmentally conscious design. 

Registered with the US Green Building Council and pending LEED Silver Certification, the Little School expansion was built in partnership with Brookline, MA-based studioMLA Architects, Warwick’s Deslandes Construction, and North Kingston-based Newport Solar on the building. All the partners on this project specialize in school projects, and have a proven track record in the educational market. 

The new Little School expansion neither contains nor utilizes any fossil fuels, and produces zero carbon emissions. The roof of the building contains a 63.5kW solar array, which provides more energy than the building requires to run, funneling the excess back to the main campus and lessening the school’s overall carbon footprint. In addition to being a net-zero facility, the Little School was designed with the highest air quality standards—fresh exterior air is brought into a state-of-the-art heating, cooling, and air exchange system and circulated continuously throughout the building. All building materials were carefully selected from sustainable sources that contain no off-gassing chemicals. 

Little School’s unique educational approach honors children as individuals who are curious about their world and have the powerful potential to learn from all that surrounds them. The bright, airy, engaging learning spaces are lined with floor-to-ceiling panes that fully open and close, providing fresh air and a panoramic window into the natural world. A central piazza welcomes parents into the building, off of which is a small on-site Reggio Emilia studio, which brings the philosophy to life through loose parts and natural elements to encourage creative and imaginative play. All classrooms also have access to a dedicated Little School playground, a direct connection to nature, which was designed with small, curious learners in mind. 

“The Little School is a testament to everything that sets Lincoln apart—a world-class program and a commitment to a more sustainable planet, all combined with so much joy and warmth. It’s been wonderful to hear the sounds of children in the space that so many have worked so hard to bring to a reality,” said Sophie Glenn Lau ’88, Lincoln’s first alumna head of school, whose own children attended Little School. “Though much has changed since my children went to Little School many years ago, the outstanding teaching and one-of-a-kind community remains. I am excited that this expansion project means that more families will be able to access the power of a Lincoln education at an early age. This expansion is a critical investment in the state’s littlest learners, and a beautiful addition to our campus.”  

The Little School expansion, which broke ground in December of 2019, is a part of the Building Beginnings campaign, dedicated to learning through discovery and connection through community. 

"The new Little School expansion is a small but mighty example of the integration of building and landscape design with Lincoln's Reggio Emilia-influenced approach to early education. The building's clean lines and open sunlit spaces are inspired by the spirit of calm, community, and environmental stewardship that is so important to the Quaker heritage of the school,” said Mike Lindstrom, AIA, Principal, studioMLA Architects. “We are confident that its simple, sturdy, yet elegant construction will serve the school and its students well for years to come."

The environmentally conscious construction of Little School features a highly insulated building envelope, an air exchange ventilation system, use of sustainable sourced and recycled materials, energy-efficient fixtures and appliances, highly efficient HVAC systems, renewable energy systems, and natural landscaping. It was also built to produce no onsite combustion and no carbon emissions.

"The clean appearance of this new state-of-the-art facility bears no shortage of detail. From the western red cedar soffits wrapping the exterior of the building to the intricate design of the buildings mechanical systems, Deslandes Construction ensured that the building was delivered on budget and with high-quality standards, with minimal disruption to the school’s operations and to the surrounding community," said Jim Deslandes, Sr., President and Owner of Deslandes Construction. "It has been a pleasure to partner with Lincoln School to help bring their vision for Little School to life.”

These projects are a part of Lincoln’s 10-year Master Facilities Plan. Other enhancements include the award-winning STEAM Hub for Girls, which transformed our Blackstone Boulevard facade into a striking home for the 21st-century learning that takes place inside.

Learn more about Little School, and take a peek inside the finished product!