A school (almost) like any other
First and foremost, the Lab School... remains a school: it teaches the French 'Education Nationale' curriculum. Our students will acquire the knowledge and skills required to attain national diplomas. Our difference lies in the focus we put on creating the best conditions for children to successfully pursue their academic choices, and later their professional orientation. They are able to become free, responsible and happy citizens. The role of the teaching community is to place students at the center of their learning journey and to accompany them in being active constructors of their own future.
Everyone is a researcher!
As early as the 19th century, pedagogue John Dewey advocated that education should engage students in a 'learning by doing' process, to make them active. The starting point of students' learning should be their own areas of interest. Children are naturally curious, eager to learn and to discover the world that surrounds them. At the Lab School, they can participate in research-based learning, based on their own interests. These projects can be carried out with researchers from different disciplines or with the help of the educational program Les Savanturiers, developed by the Center for Interdisciplinary Research. They introduce students to creative questioning, rigorous research methods, and collaboration. Les Savanturiers 'are dedicated to training humanist citizens and members of a fair society of production and sharing of knowledge'.
A XXIst century-ready school
Our societies are drastically changing. Researchers (Michel Serres, Harmut Rosa, Dirk Baecker) even make the hypothesis that this evolution is a true breaking point, a “changeover from one society to another that is only emerging” (Delvaux, 2015). This has far-reaching implications for education and the educational ecosystem as a whole is in charge of accompanying this change and must take full account of what is at stake. We now know that many jobs that exist today are doomed to disappear, while the jobs of tomorrow do not yet exist and the majority of us will have several jobs, simultaneously or over the course of our lives. New technologies are transforming our lives and our relationship to the world. This evolution can be both scary and exciting. Today, the role of school is not to pass on knowledge but to give young people the means to fully develop their potential and to become life-long learners, while developing their creativity, their critical spirit, and their capacity for reflection. Our school project partly draws inspiration from the book Changer le collège, c’est possible ! Et pour nos enfants, c’est urgent ! Since 2006, authors Jérôme Saltet and André Giordan have engaged a reflection on pedagogy as well as on the mapping and assessment of various kinds of initiatives. Most of their proposals can also be applied to primary school.
A school open to the world
The school is not closed off from the rest of the city: the presence of the Lab School in the Liberté Living Lab facilitates the discovery of different professional environments, because the children are certain to informally interact with other residents at lunchtime. They can also go discover their activities and ask them questions, and even conduct common projects (for example, a journalistic inquiry, a documentary, an art piece); in return, the residents benefit from the students' ideas, questions, and input. It’s another form of learning by doing. Occasional or long-term partnerships are also developed with other structures (for example, Cité des sciences). Finally, the Lab School team is in contact with different innovative schools and research institutes abroad (for example, Geelong Grammar School in Australia or Gateway School in Mumbai, India). It draws inspiration from some of their practices, adapting them when necessary. The Lab School will be able to collaborate with some of these schools through, for example, meetings between classes by video conferences, common projects, or class trips.