A founder of the Lab-École defends his project

In response to questions and comments from the readers of Journal Le Soir following the ceremony that took place on Tuesday before the start of the works, the Journal spoke to Pierre Thibault, the architect of the project.

Mr Thibault answered, inter alia, the questions asked about the costs of the Lab-École de Rimouski.

“We started this project four years ago. The project has also grown, the four-year kindergartens were not there: we added four kindergartens. We know kindergarten costs $1 million, so that’s four million more. And the construction costs are phenomenal. Schools, even if they are not Lab-School, are under the same upward pressure, so we have nothing to do with this cost increase. †

However, he assures that there is not yet another price increase: “It is a contract with a fixed price, otherwise we commit to do it at that price, so it is contractually bound and thus cannot have increases.”

Build instead of renovate

Many readers also wondered why invest in the design of such a project, instead of focusing on renovating the schools already present on the territory of Rimouski.

“There are 500 children at the new school. And we’ve created a lab, so we want to experiment with new ways of teaching. We looked at best practices around the world and in Quebec and we said to ourselves: how to reinvent the school? It is therefore certain that it is not easy to reinvent the school in an already existing school. We are not saying that the existing schools should be demolished, far from it, but we realized that there was a new neighborhood and we want the children to walk to school. In their upbringing it is very important that the children preferably go to a neighborhood school and are able to walk there. This whole sector of Rimouski has developed, so they needed a school there. †

“We don’t want the children to go by bus, it costs a fortune per child. This emits greenhouse gases, the children sit while the children who come on foot can learn better. It is important for healthy living habits. It was also the idea of ​​saying: we’re going to demonstrate that more spaces to work together, more spaces to eat, to exercise, will create the best living environment for children. So you are lucky to have an innovative school in Rimouski, leading the way with its new pedagogy, so that you have a School Service Center that seeks the most advanced in pedagogy to promote the educational success of children. †

Serve children?

Another reader emphasized the fact that a child who goes to the Lab-École and then ends up in the Langevin school or the Saint-Jean school runs the risk of being destabilized by the difference between the two places.

“What we want is for children to be able to develop to their full potential. We want to arm them as best as possible against life. So I think if he had the chance to work in such a context, his education will take him further, so I don’t think a kid like that who goes to another school would have been well prepared. This is also education.

He adds that the concept of the Lab-École, all over Quebec, is based on the principle of innovation:

“We have a group of researchers from four universities who will measure the positive impact on children. So we’re going to see how having a new pedagogy, having suitable spaces for children, having a big garden and more nature, what the positive impact is. We do that for all of Quebec. We will choose furniture that is more suitable. So this school is a locomotive. She will be one of Quebec’s locomotives to show the best ways to do things. We’re going to measure these ways of doing things with education researchers and then we say, in what we’ve done, we probably won’t have 100%. There are things or adjustments that we have made that will have been very positive and others less so, and these studies will be used to design the next schools. We’re moving towards innovation and I think that’s the most important thing. †

Research work delivered

The Lab-School team is not only calling on researchers to measure the positive impact of its project afterwards, but it has also studied and listed 2000 around the world to get an idea of ​​the correct procedure to follow. are followed.

“The main group consists of researchers from UQAM in Montreal. There are also people from Université Laval, from UQTR and we also have two universities, Cergy near Paris and the other in Switzerland, but I forgot the name of the university. So they are recognized researchers who are going to start the Lab-École de Québec, which will be finished this year and for a few years they will study all that and gradually they will share their data, to get the final data, to know what are the best agreements we have made. There are 18 researchers. †

“In fact, we have identified 2000 studies worldwide. Ms. Louise Clément is a researcher at Laval University in the Department of Foundations and Practices in Education. We look for good practices. In Quebec, abroad, we want to know what’s best. So these folks in pedagogy looked through the studies that showed there were better spin-offs. We know that with more natural light, better ventilation, a child will have better conditions and better outcomes. That’s all the research we do. And we went to the projects in Scandinavia, in Sweden, in Finland. †

The Finnish model

“These people in Finland have better results in international tests than we do. So we’ll see there, what did they do that promoted better educational success and is it transposable? In that spirit we look for the best examples in the world because we say, we also want to become the best in the world, what do we have to do for that. And there are examples from Quebec in areas where we have done well, so we want to take good examples everywhere to make sure that in Rimouski there is all the information to go in the best direction. †

“For example, we’ve developed a principle of a schoolyard with outdoor areas, outdoor classrooms, so what we want to show is that the playground – we made a publication about that – it’s that designing the playground of tomorrow is, well, the lessons what we are going to do will definitely have a positive impact on the lessons of all the other schools in Rimouski and the Bas-Saint-Laurent region so that people will see a good example and they will be able to see its impact on the children. We see the new furniture because we are talking about differentiated teaching, new furniture is needed and new furniture is coming in this school, but this new furniture could also be in all the other schools. What we want is to lead by example and perhaps this will eventually lead to the adaptation and redevelopment of the existing schools elsewhere in Rimouski and in Bas-Saint-Laurent. So what we want is for whatever is there to be used to migrate to go to others. It won’t be in one or two years, but in five or ten years we gradually want these good practices to be not only in the Lab-School school, but in all schools in the region. †

Inequality between students?

Finally, when asked about the inequality that the Lab-École can create, Pierre Thibault believes it is a process.

“In the end yes, for a few years they will be better off, but they will serve as an example for all the schools in Quebec, so at some point we have to do one, two or three because if we don’t go there, we have to we don’t evolve, so it takes a few people ahead of the parade to guide the others.”

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