OUR SEVEN GUIDING PRINCIPLES
- Everyone wants to learn and learning happens everywhere.
We believe that learning happens in all kinds of places, including schools but also at home, in parks, in stores, outdoors, in museums, between friends and online… This is why we would like to offer a space in which young people can easily create learning situations that are not limited and bounded by the walls of the center. For example, by going on field trips, visiting museums, volunteering, or even doing on-the-job training. We trust that everyone would like to succeed in one way or another. We are confident that when we give adolescents the possibility to be the creators of their own lives; take control of what they learn, when and how they learn it; follow their passions and define success in their own terms; then, they are intrinsically motivated to countless and surprising possibilities.
- Young people engage themselves more fully when they are involved in decision-making processes.
When we plan a task ourselves, it matches our aspirations and its outcome is important to us. We are confident that people learn to become responsible by taking on responsibilities, and they learn to make decisions by being involved in decision-making. Recent studies in education supports this. When young people are given the possibility to decide on their learning objectives, evaluation criteria, and evaluate themselves, they become autonomous; self-reflective; critical, and engaged individuals.
- Egalitarian structures encourage creativity and problem-solving.
We think that creativity and problem-solving are two key abilities for the 21st century. We believe that creativity can flourish when ideas can be easily shared, when each one of us has the possibility to share his/her point of view and disagree in a respectful manner, especially in situations of conflict resolution. We are concerned that in situations where authority figures impose their ideas in a group, people in the group become afraid to share different ways of seeing things, thus leaving little room for creativity. This is why we want to offer a democratic learning environnement where relationships are egalitarian.
- Learning that is co-created in supportive relationships is more easily integrated.
Young people learn best when they have positive emotional relationships with people they are learning with. These types of relationships can be fostered in learning contexts where young people have egalitarian relationships with adults around them and where the emphasis is placed on cooperating with others.
- The learning process and environment are more important than the content.
The structures we choose to learn in, and work with, communicate as much as the words we use to express our values, and sometimes even more. Various studies have shown that between 60% to 80% of students in conventional schools say they are not motivated in school. We fear that teenagers under the obligation to attend schools where they are not motivated to learn can lead them to dislike learning, and even hate certain subjects. We therefore believe it is important for young people to like how they learn and the environnement in which this learning process is happening.
- Learning that has been initiated by the learner is durable, on the long term.
When learning happens to satisfy one’s own curiosity or one’s interests, then it becomes meaningful and there is a good chance the learner, young or old, will enjoy and effortlessly remember the knowledge acquired. On the other hand, we are concerned that when something is learned with the intention of getting a reward or doing well in an evaluation, it will be forgotten after the reward has been obtained or after the evaluation. In contrast, the more adolescents are in charge of their learning, the more curious they will become. Learning born of joy and passion is long-lasting.
- The most effective preparation for a constructive future is to be constructive in the present.
We believe that helping adolescents identify what is of interest to them and what is worth doing at this moment in their lives enables them to develop knowledge of Self and Others, curiosity, and long term motivation. This allows them to be in control of their life and their decisions now, in order to shape and imagine the kind of life they would like to have, and what they need to do and learn in order to get there. In other words, this approach prepares them for their future.