Where is the Lab-School?

Où en est le Lab-École?

Photo: Alice Chiche Duty
The school becomes a large playing field with this model called “The big hut”.

The arrival of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) has had no impact so far on the project Lab-a School created in 2017 by the liberals with the support of Ricardo Larrivée, Pierre Lavoie, and Pierre Thibault. The organization hopes to expand its mandate to the schools.

“Quite,” said the director of Lab School, Natacha Jean, which ensures that the change of government had no impact on the course of the project. Since the election, the minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, has renewed the operating budget of the non-profit organization of $ 3 million for a new mandate of two years.

Created in 2017 by the former liberal minister of Education, Sébastien Proulx, Lab-School is the result of an initiative of the chef, Ricardo Larrivée, the speaker Pierre Lavoie and the architect Pierre Thibault, who aims to reinvent primary schools. “Lab-School is there to think about,” he then announced. “With the same dollar, we can do better. “

Seven schools, which were to be built or renovated, were then targeted for test to known best practices : Quebec, Granby, qc, Maskinonge, Saguenay, Rimouski, Montreal and Gatineau. A total of 60 million has been booked, with the equivalent of 15 % of more than what is normally allocated to projects of this type. They should for the most part open their doors in the fall of 2021.


Number of millions allocated to the construction of the Lab-School

These last few months, gentlemen Arrival, Lavoie and Thibault took part in meetings in each of the environments to determine the needs of their own and design schools.

In fact, according to Ms. John, who joined the team this summer, the only change arising from the arrival of the CAQ to power is that he has recently had to add in kindergarten 4 years ago. “We had to integrate them quickly, but this is not a major element,” she said, noting that the addition of classes for toddlers does not need the removal of other spaces. The schools, she said, will simply “larger” and additional funding will follow accordingly, he has assured.


Year opening of the Lab-Schools

The power at the heart of projects

The adventure must also pass an important milestone in April with the launch of the architectural competition for five of the seven schools, a first for the primary network.

The project planned for Montreal remains, however, to tie up, because it is less advanced and much more imposing, and that the money that had been reserved ($3 million) has allowed to finance your studies.

The complex, for which we’ve booked a pitch on the site of the pavilion of the Sisters-Grey of Concordia University is “a large-scale project of more than 30 classes,” according to Ms. Jean. Alone, it is going to require $ 50 million in additional investments.

In the premises of the organization on the rue Saint-Joseph in Quebec city, architecture students have produced dozens of models. “They have examined fragments of all the possibilities,” says the director.

“That is what we can do here as a vegetable ? How is it possible to set up a gym for it to be more luminous, and that it has an opening on the outside ? There has been a variety of models studied. How to recreate the classes is flexible and does not take up too much space ? “

Even if the projects differ, a constant everywhere : the addition of space compared to the traditional school. “We realized that there was a need for new spaces. “


Total number of cities that will receive a Lab-School

Schools should, for example, have changing rooms in order to free the corridors adjacent to the classrooms. It also wants to create spaces dedicated to food. “There is no room to eat in most of the schools,” she says.

“In the old model, the youth were not there on a lunch hour and were going to eat at home. But now, in some circles, 85% of young people eat at school and many spend ten hours a day in the building. “

In addition to spaces for eating, some schools are keen to have vegetable gardens. This is the case of the school of Maskinongé in the Mauricie region. “The food aspect, the food education, the garden, it’s going to be the heart probably of their educational project,” says Natacha Jean.

The project in Limoilou, in Québec, provided for the development of a collective kitchen that would be used also by community-based organizations in the evening when the school is closed.

In the old model, the youth were not there on a lunch hour and were going to eat at home. But now, in some circles, 85% of young people eat their dinner at school and many spend 10 hours per day in the building.

— Natacha Jean


Ideas for the secondary level

The revision of the acoustic in the sports hall should also be reviewed a bit everywhere. “It is an element that figure in the unavoidable,” says dr. John, who recalls that a court has recently recognized that the noise in the gym could cause occupational diseases among teachers.

In some places, there are also advocates of the libraries say ” exploded “, with displays and books to different places in the school. “If the school is configured by cycle, you can go with a offer literary that goes with the cycle. “

All in all, the buildings would be more light and bright spaces, more open — like some of the classes double, which may be related one to the other on occasion.

Où en est le Lab-École?

Photo: Alice Chiche Duty
A part of the team of the Lab-School : Natacha Jean, director general ; Christopher Bouchard, administrative assistant ; Dominique Laflamme, operations manager ; Denis Morin, coordinator of the working committees ; and Elisa Verrault, site manager, healthy lifestyle and active

Remains to be seen how this will be. The seven pilot projects will lead to a widespread change of practices ? The director-general hope, but do not presume the intentions of the government.

“Of course, there are other schools that will be built, other schools that will be renovated. Then, it is hoped that this will not be the only models that will integrate innovation and use of spaces like this, ” said she.

Team Lab-School would also like to do the same exercise for secondary schools. “In my opinion, this would be really interesting,” says Ms. Jean. “We must look, in the coming weeks, on our intention or not to propose to the ministry to create a cohort also at the secondary level. “


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