During the last week of August the whole village of Le Grand-Bornand falls back into childhood. The entire venue is decorated and closed to the circulation during the Au Bonheur des Mômes festival, it is a true and unique atmosphere.
Labora, the Creative Makers Estonian delegation, took part of the festivities this summer. Visiting many workshops and collecting information on how other educators get children excited about learning. It was clear from the beginning that attending the festival for our research was the right choice. This is because Au Bonheur des Mômes is one of the biggest festival for children in the world with 90 000 festival-goers, 536 performances and 30 different workshops.
The festival was created in 1992 by Théâtre de la Toupine and the village of Grand-Bornand. The festival brings together many events dedicated to young audiences (shows, exhibitions, workshops). In addition, the Festival addresses each year a theme to raise public awareness of social and environmental issues. This year one of the slogans was “Let your screens, come see the living! “ This operation was intended to reflect the children and their parents about the use we make of screens in our daily lives without demonizing them.Which is also an important part for Creative Makers work. The project showed different ways to combine digital and real world without one overpowering the other.
Sustainable development is also one of the major focuses of the Festival. Labora was very interested about how the organizers communicated the information to the small children and families. Turns out that many associations were present to educate children and their parents about the environment and its preservation in a playful way.
Au Bonheur des Mômes also pampers the little ones. Shows and activities were adapted for toddlers from three months and their parents. Observing how the educators interacted with such young children was an important part of our research. In addition to the shows and workshops, in each place, children and their parents could discover many fun activities such as the wooden games, the giant instruments, the hand-crafted rides with parental propulsion or still the Magic Armory.
Finally, the promotion of reading has an important place in the Festival with a tent totally dedicated to children’s books. Labora a believer in paper and printing is very pro reading and was happy to see how many new active readers emerged from the tent.
Being part of this amazing event dedicated for children made us very happy. We left the festival with joy in our hearts, with lots of new contact from around the world and with new ideas about educating children. But most importantly we felt inspired and thought about all the people who created such a magical place for families and children. We hope that some day we also can visit this beautiful place on a less work-related reason with our own families.