Why support this project?
✔️To support an innovative and inspiring school project that puts integral ecology at the heart of its approach, serving the children's growth
✔️To promote Montessori’s catechesis by reintegrating it into the pedagogy in which it was born, in accordance with Maria Montessori's initial project
✔️To permit the care of autistic children in a normal school environment with care for their specific needs
✔️To encourage a project contributing to the revitalization of a rural territory
What will the funds collected be used for?
✔️Acquisition of the Montessori educational equipment
✔️Renovation and upgrading of the premises, and facilities for the care of autistic children
✔️Training courses for the schoolteachers
The vision of the Eco-Hamlet of La Bénisson-Dieu
The Eco-Hamlet of La Bénisson Dieu is a group of homes - families and singles - wishing to live together all aspects of integral ecology, rooting in a given place while focusing on a great openness to their environment.
A project in response to the challenges of our time
At the origin of our common approach, there is the shared observation of a yawning gap between our contemporary lifestyles and the salutary requirements of integral ecology. Threatened biodiversity, endangered species, over-consuming, waste, use of polluting products, weakened health, delocalized economy, alienating work, lack of attention to the poor, disempowered citizens, individualism, society of speed and noise... and in particular, for us Christians, a faith sometimes disembodied because it is not deployed in all the concrete aspects of our lives...
Our need for conversion is therefore urgent!
In response to these challenges, the Eco-Hamlet of La Bénisson-Dieu association has the following missions:
- Main mission: to live the integral ecology, and to spread this way of life
- To promote a more incarnate spiritual life, both in the liturgy and in daily life
- To set up the conditions for a quality life, centred on conviviality, allowing us to rediscover our deep vocation and restore our contemplative glance on the beauty of nature
- To invent an inclusive, local economy that respects the environment, with the objective of fertility and not productivity
- To welcome everyone, and first and foremost the poor, to reintegrate them into an authentic natural, cultural and spiritual environment
- To promote instruction and education of the child based on a pedagogy that fosters the development of his or her innermost nature
- To put ourselves at the service of our village and our parish, to encourage the citizen to take his place in the City and the layman in the Church
Values of our association
We are convinced that "everything is connected", according to the fundamental principle of integral ecology. This is particularly true of the values described below, which feed on each other and guide our way of life: rootedness, incarnation, restoration of nature, joyful simplicity, authenticity, conviviality, preferential welcome of the poor, fertility and transmission, subsidiarity, renewal of political life.
Find our charter here (french version)
An original approach
The Eco-Hamlet of La Bénisson-Dieu is :
- One of the first eco-hamlets aiming at the renewal of the life of the Church and society from daily family life
- A global project, to convert all aspects of our way of life to integral ecology, according to the teaching of Pope Francis in the encyclical Laudato Si
- A rural project, in response to an emergency: to reinvest the French countryside
- A church service carried by lay people, which aims to renew village and parish life
- A project promoting a spirituality of incarnation, the purpose of which is to restore the natural conditions that allow grace to work in the heart of man and to permeate all creation
- A project that combines care for the poor and for nature
- An innovative education and instruction project, which is inspired as much by what has worked in the past and by advances in the educational sciences, which takes the best of the various existing pedagogies, which reintegrates the "catechesis" originally present in Montessori’s pedagogy, and which works to welcome autistic children in a normal school environment
The heart of our project is the conversion of our way of life, in accordance with the integral ecology, we who live in the hamlet. And to make this conversion shine and to infuse it into the rest of society, we are carrying out several ambitious projects!
- A permaculture farm project, serving agricultural innovation and the professional reintegration of people in difficulty
- A participatory garden project backed by an associative and solidarity grocery store, at the service of the village of La Bénisson-Dieu
- An artistic and cultural project at the abbey church of La Bénisson-Dieu, in particular through the rediscovery of Gregorian chant from the first centuries, and its relevance in order to rediscover a more adjusted listening to sound, natural intervals and word
- A Laudato Si school project combining different pedagogies, promoting the care given to nature and allowing the welcoming of autistic children in a normal school environment
It is for this last project that we are counting on your support!
Focus on the Laudato Si school project
Our objective is to create a Catholic elementary school, with a pedagogical project based on integral ecology, i.e. respect for nature, instruction based on proven pedagogies, and the welcome of the specific needs of each child, in particular autistic children.
The pillars of the school:
1. A Catholic school, aimed at providing the child with the spiritual nourishment essential for his or her development.
- visibilityTo go further…Our school wishes to provide the spiritual food essential for the child's development. It also has a vocation to transmit Christian culture and faith to its pupils. A priest will come every week for times of adoration, preparation for liturgical highlights, and to celebrate Mass in the school. A specific catechesis, called "Catechesis of the Good Shepherd", will be proposed by the teachers. It is inspired by Maria Montessori's writings and fits perfectly into the rest of the children's pedagogy and daily life.
2. A school whose pedagogies are attentive to the development of the deep nature of each child.
- visibilityTo go further…Our objective is to promote child-centred pedagogies. The learning programme is defined according to the child's psychomotor development and what Maria Montessori calls "sensitive periods", and is therefore organised by age groups (3-6 years, 6-9 years, 9-12 years), where the elderly help the youngest. We are inspired by various tools such as "benevolent education", the pedagogy developed by Maria Montessori, Elisabeth Nuyts' structuring grammar, cooperative work and recent discoveries in emotional and social neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience. The objective is to adapt to the child's various forms of intelligence and rhythms, making him/her active in learning and promoting his/her autonomy. These pedagogies also enable children to acquire a high level of self-confidence and a strong sense of initiative, to develop their creativity and artistic sense. The teacher is considered here rather as a dispositive cause, fostering the development of the child's deep nature through the precise care given to the organization of his environment. Craft and artistic activities, as much as possible in the open air, will be offered every afternoon.
3. A school that learns to respect the earth and the human being, and that transmits a contemplative view of nature.
- visibilityTo go further…The children will have botany classes, teaching them the cycles of life; they will themselves take care of the garden and the animals of the school. They will discover the daily actions and tools that respect the environment. In order to promote soft transport, more adapted to human time and less polluting, we have decided to invest in a horse-drawn carriage, which will take care of school pick-up in the morning and evening. The care of the draught horse will be an integral part of the children's education. The horse-drawn carriage will meet public transport standards, and be driven by an experienced driver.
4. A school that welcomes vulnerability and allows the inclusion of autistic children in the normal school environment.
- visibilityTo go further...We believe that welcoming fragile children with special needs is not only a necessity for the good of these children, but also for the good of other children who, in contact with this "difference", learn to better welcome their own fragility and that of others. In particular, we wish to develop the care of autistic children through the so-called "3i" method. This developmental method allows the autistic child to make a smooth transition to his/her autonomy in the classroom. We work with the association “Archange Autisme”, whose aim is to integrate these children into a normal school life, without school life assistant.
5. A school that focuses on the coherence of educational actors, parents and teachers.
- visibilityTo go further...Because "being a parent" is something that has to be learned, and a child only grows up to its full potential thanks to the coherence of the educators, according to Salesian pedagogy, we wish to invest parents as much as possible in the school's educational project. Parents will be offered an educational charter and "parents' school" workshops, working on "benevolent education" in particular. These courses will be open to all adults who wish to learn. Because we believe that transmission is fundamental, we want to foster intergenerational ties with local seniors who could share meals with the children.
The school will be directed by a state-certified teacher trained in Montessori pedagogy, supported by a teacher trained in Elisabeth Nuyts' structuring grammar and in the process of training in Montessori pedagogy. A young person in civic service will come to help them welcome their first autistic child into the school. This team will be reinforced by the parents, who will participate according to their respective talents.
- visibilityAdministrative team
- Benoît Regnier-Vigouroux, President of the OGEC of Briennon; military officer, President of the association “Archange Autisme”, whose purpose is to welcome autistic children with their parents for holiday and training stays
- Matthieu Aucourt, Vice-President of the OGEC of Briennon; agricultural engineer, farmer in GAEC of Charolais cows between La Bénisson-Dieu and Briennon
- * François Nolle, Treasurer of the OGEC of Briennon; Professor of Philosophy, President of the Eco-hamlet of La Bénisson-Dieu association
- visibilityPedagogical team
- Virginie Regnier-Vigouroux, state-certified teacher and trained in Montessori pedagogy
- Elsa Poisblaud, storyteller, trained in the structuring grammar of Elisabeth Nuyts, having taught French in middle and high school
- Blandine Nolle, psychomotor therapist, trained in Montessori pedagogy
- Odile Scherrer, professor of literature, trained in permaculture
- Mélanie Chambefort, professor of literature and theatre
- Marianne Durano, professor of philosophy in high school
Project agenda and budget
- work to refurbish the first class on the ground floor of the school
- installation of teaching materials
- the first school year, for a class of 3 - 7 years
- renovation work on the first floor of the school
- the start of the school year with two levels: 3 - 6 years and 6 - 9 years
Expenses: 120,750 € broken down as follows:
- Renovation, upgrading and fitting out of the premises: €50,000
- Initial educational equipment: €20,000
- Purchase of a horse-drawn carriage and a draught horse: 20.000 €
- Operating expenses: 30.750 €
Revenues: €120,750 broken down as follows:
- Tuition fees: 22.500 €
- Supplies and registration fees: €2,250
- Membership fees: 300 €
- Sales of educational items: 1.000 €
- Patronage (including crowdfunding): 94,700 €
The funds collected as part of this campaign will be used to finance the renovation, upgrading and fitting out of the ground floor, as well as the purchase of Montessori’s teaching materials!
- visibilityTable: details of expenses and ressources
- visibilityGround floor work plan
We need your support!
Why support us?
- Because there is a strong challenge to reveal, in the new generations, all the qualities of heart and mind already present in every child, so that they may grow in humanity and holiness
- Because our society will need mature people and witnesses of this inspiring way of life to which integral ecology invites us
- Because it is necessary to save rural schools, and to reinvest the French countryside
- Because despite the obligation to provide care for children with disabilities, too few schools truly offer inclusion of vulnerable children in normal school environment
- Because it is for the good of our common home, the Earth
In practice, your donation allows us to finance this Laudato Si school project. But more broadly, you are helping us in this urgent mission to initiate the conversion of the whole society!
- visibilityAbout the Eco-HamletThe Eco-Hamlet has been in existence since 2016; it is inspired by both the Oasis of the Hummingbird movement initiated by Pierre Rahbi and the encyclical Laudato Si by Pope Francis. Each home preserves its privacy and financial autonomy; each has a profession in or outside the village, while keeping time for the life of the hamlet. Families live together in daily prayer times, share goods, places and skills, share some meals as well as participatory workcamps, organize convivial evenings. A bimonthly Association Council allows decisions concerning community life to be taken together. The hamlet welcomes a priest suffering from Lyme disease. We participate in the liturgical life of the parish and the local life of the village and we have gardens, allowing food autonomy in fruits and vegetables for half (sunny) of the year.
The Eco-Hamlet of La Bénisson-Dieu association is a church project supported by the diocese of Lyon, and benefits from the label Eglise Verte “fig tree level”. The OGEC of Briennon, which is the structure managing the Saint Nicolas de Briennon school and its premises, is a member of the OGEC union of Catholic education in Lyon.
Infuse and spread our experience
By summer 2019, the Eco-Hamlet will have 7 families and 2 single people, including 1 priest. In the long term, we expect to have 40 families, this growth being achieved both by aggregating families already present in the area and by attracting other families further away geographically. Once this model of Eco-Hamlet has proved its worth, we hope that it will serve as an example to others, with the objective of one eco-hamlet or Christian eco-neighbourhood per French department within 30 years! Similar projects are already being carried out or studied in Italy, Spain, the United States and various French regions..
In addition, through internships, an annual festival of integral ecology, testimonies and conferences, as well as publications and communications, the Eco-Hamlet shares its experience of integral ecology to witness and encourage everyone to progress in this necessary conversion of our way of life.