By Shannon McCabe, Guest Writer
The Lab Learning Space is fairly new to the Belmont Heights Community, opening last spring on the campus of the Belmont Heights United Methodist Church. It is a supplementary learning center with the primary focus of social-emotional learning for K-8 students who are homeschooled. At The Lab, students engage in workshops for reading and writing. Unique to The Lab is student choice in topics and projects, but it also includes collaborative and community partnerships.
“Students who attend The Lab develop a sense of self. They leave having the ability to find their center. I have a great sense of pride in having helped a Lab graduate, who is now at a public high school, thrive. She has continued with a great work ethic and is doing well,” said Torry Thompson, Executive Director.
Thompson brings his background as a former public school math teacher. He says some of the structures and strategies he used as an instructor are valuable, but he also says that some students need to develop alternative cognitive habits to be successful learners.
“At The Lab, we don’t just teach reading, writing and math curriculum, we use the Summit Learning Platform to teach habits of good citizenship and social justice,” said Thompson. “This learning center believes in building rapport and relationships, and that relating learning to the real world is most important. This is practical learning that students can apply and generalize to all their life experiences.”
This coming fall, The Lab Learning Space will double their efforts to give back to the community. Located at Belmont Heights United Methodist Church at 317 Termino Ave, The Lab is committed to growing the existing garden beds and partnering with a local food bank. As an ongoing community service, the students and staff will also continue their community clean-up efforts at nearby beaches and nature areas.
If your family is interested, the center does partner with charter schools. For more information about The Lab Learning Space, check out their website: https://www.lablearning.org/.