Chronicle | Children of La Cabane

I have a soft spot for those who work differently. But sitting there, in the middle of the kids who tell me about their cabin, I can only bow my head to so much creativity …

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La Cabane is a creative family space located in the Montreal neighborhood of Rosemont-La Petit-Patri. From Saturday, the general public will be able to enjoy places designed by designer Bruno Bran (Pullman, Hunting and Fishing, Moleskin) for a low annual subscription …

And I must say it’s worth it.

Around me: a climbing module, a slide, a reading area at a height, a large kitchen for children, a disco ball, an indoor greenhouse, a table whose height “creative kits” can be adjusted for free tinkering with the family. .

Everything invites young people to learn in society.

“There are three main pillars of our work,” explained Christine Rand, co-founder.

Over the weekend, everyone will be invited to take advantage of workshops on these themes, or to wander around without supervision. Just for the pleasure of being there together.

During the week, the place will be reserved for children whose parents are responsible for education, since they have chosen homeschooling. Or, as we say here, “family education”.

In fact, the whole project started with it, two years ago … if not 20 years ago?

I was graduating in secondary education in 2003. A philosophy teacher asked us: “Who wants to start their school here?” I didn’t know you could be an education entrepreneur! I’m starting to get interested in alternative education …

Christine Rand

Christine Reynaud then earned a master’s degree in education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, then moved to New York, where she developed a technical tool that promotes collaborative learning: Braindett. Success.

Back in Quebec, he started the e180 company, telling himself that the day he had a child, he would create the place of their dreams … Then Nora came.


Photo by Allen Roberts, Press

Christine Rand and Sophie Duchastel de Montreux

Christine’s daughter quickly made a best friend in day care. Christine fell in love with her mother: Sophie Duchastel de Montreux, owner of a famous and promising restaurant.

“She was my sister, my partner. A

Sophie had two adult daughters who studied in public. Although she acknowledged several benefits, the entrepreneur wanted to be more involved in the school career of her youngest child.

“Childhood goes by fast … the longer you stay there, the more magical it is!” A

Family education has become a good option.

In 2020, the partners therefore launched the first version of La Cabane. Three days a week, 16 young people between the ages of 6 and 12 meet in a former convent with academics who advocate pedagogy through challenges.

In this approach, projects are defined by the issues raised by children, their families and community members. For example, during the epidemic, we thought about how to ensure a safe Halloween …

A brainstorming allows young people to find a solution: What if we paraded a giant doll?

A screenwriter and costume designer from Cirque du Soleil agreed to go with them. Before creating monsters on a paper mat, children had to outline a project, create a parade concept and measure (thus calculate). Pretty miserable behavior with the surrounding residents!

Similarly, when a child says he wants to learn more about cosmic exploration, a student is doing his doctorate on cultural mediation between art and space who has come to teach young children.

There is an entire village that supports La Cabane.

Now that they have moved into a 6,000-square-foot building, entrepreneurs will be able to double the cost of young people practicing family education at a cost of 50 per day (tax assistance may be provided to keep).

Parents can stay on the site to telecommute, participate in activities, or simply leave.

“It’s good to have time for yourself,” summarizes Sophie Duchastel de Montreux, whom I met at the upstairs craft workshop.

Made about twenty children around him ojos de dios, Common Mexican objects. It is that every month, they are interested in their own culture. Also, a community meal was prepared for the occasion.

The tamales and coleslaw that I offer are exceptional. Did the children help to do this? Really?

The fact is that Shelley Garinther (Olive and Gourmando, Rubarb) who runs the cooking workshop probably has something to do with …

He will be in charge of the picnic station menu, which will soon allow members to have snacks and drinks. Products will be selected with special focus on organic and local farming. Some will even grow up on the spot! This summer, the building’s parking lot will be converted into a garden with play area and beer garden …

I chat with the kids about food opportunities.

Henry (9 years old) is with Arzan (11 years old). When Kovid-19 is infected, they both start homeschooling. With La Cabane, they have discovered a model that is “really fun compared to school”, they say with the same breath.

Arjan likes to meet people. Henry is glad he didn’t spend his days behind the desk.

“We can be free,” he said simply.

I took his punishment as a minor injury.

I never imagined such a childhood. This model is definitely not for everyone, but it exists and I think it’s beautiful.

Then, Christine Rand ends up telling me that the La Cabane team bought land in Lawrenceville. He will build an educational farm and housing for family artists to diversify the activities …

So, maybe I want kids after all.

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