Our lives now fit in a telephone, but Quebec schools have barely changed since the 1960s. How can we reinvent our teaching places to make them stimulating learning environments? Is it even possible, given the heavy bureaucracy?
Following the broadcast of his documentary ADHD: succeed differentlyLast year, Kim Rusk toured schools and observed how little children’s living environment has changed since his own school years, from green boards to orange plastic chairs.
Inspired to get involved to make things better, she first planned to open her own alternative school, before being demotivated by the mountain of bureaucracy that stood before her.
More realistically, she then got involved in an attempt to modernize an already existing elementary school, the St-Paul de Beauharnois school. His interesting process is summarized in the documentary The school of tomorrow, directed by David Gauthier, that Canal Vie airs next Wednesday, December 9.
“Me, I was educated in a private school, at the Ursulines of Quebec, in a masterly way, but it was a beautiful environment,” Kim Rusk describes. And this is what we want to show: that the aesthetics of a school have an impact on the academic success of students. Today, we send people to the moon, but the place where our children spend ten hours a day is beige, built like a hospital, with no light. It’s not motivating. And then we wonder why children have learning problems and why teachers have depression! It acts as oppression. “
To bring St-Paul school up to date, exit the desks in rows of onions, and welcome flexible classes. But what does it eat in winter, a flexible class, and what are the main distinguishing elements? How to rethink the cafeteria? Schoolyard? The entry hall? Even the color of the walls is under scrutiny. And the children, what do they think?
Alongside the director of the establishment, Lyne Valade, and experts (architect Pierre Thibault, chef and facilitator Ricardo Larrivée and athlete and speaker Pierre Lavoie) from Lab-École, an organization funded by the government, Kim Rusk thoroughly reviews the St-Paul premises and assesses the needs.
She goes to the Center de services scolaire de la Vallée-des-Tisserands, which oversees the institution, to establish a financial plan, and assess both the burden of paperwork inherent in the project and the physical limits that will slow down the transformation of the place.
At the end of the show, one year to the day after her first visit to St-Paul, Kim Rusk returns to the scene and notices some refreshments: schoolchildren can now frolic in “active corridors” and the furniture of the kindergarten class has been adapted to be up to the standards.
But the work is still far from over. Faced with a disillusioned principal after 12 months of hard work – marked among other things by the arrival of COVID -, the host makes a cruel observation: “the school system swallows dreamers”.
By videoconference, Kim Rusk also speaks with the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, who promises developments to come.
“School is a community project, which can be so much bigger than what is currently considered,” says Kim Rusk. But even though we have the greatest motivation in the world, it is not so easy! The end of the documentary cuts our legs a bit, because we understand that dreamers get swallowed up by the system. “
The school of tomorrow, Wednesday, December 9, at 8 p.m., at Canal Vie.