The Laurier School in the Community is a meaningful collaboration between The Working Centre and Wilfrid Laurier University that brings together the formal learning experiences of Laurier enhanced by the informal learning and engagement opportunities offered through TWC. This community-university partnership seeks to:
- Offer an academic option in Community Engagement. In the Fall of 2014, the Faculty of Arts introduced a new mini-specialization known as the Community Engagement Option. The Option includes three core courses open to all 3rd and 4th year honours Arts students. These core courses are taught in downtown Kitchener; appeal to students who are passionate about social inclusion and eager to integrate university learning with the broader world; and, create opportunities for students to reflect on their values, nurture interdisciplinary thinking and action, and gain marketable skills.
- Enhance access to higher education for non-traditional learners who typically face barriers in accessing universities, such as New Canadians, Aboriginals, older workers, and those living on a limited income. The Working Centre has collaborated with Laurier on a number of access projects for New Canadians (teachers, social workers) and this project will build on these experiences of collaboration to create a longer-term sustainable partnership for broader and deeper access to community learning.
- Develop a certificate program in Community Engagement for citizens seeking to develop practical skills and theoretical knowledge in Social Inclusion, Local Democracy and Community Development. Community agencies and public institutions are facing a new climate which requires innovation and adaptability. This certificate program provides a structured way to engage creatively on these issues.
- Provide a creative space in the Kitchener downtown as a hub for innovative pedagogy, co-learning and social innovation. Students, faculty and community members are creatively exploring the ideas of social inclusion and community development in the Kitchener-Waterloo downtown areas in a learning environment that fosters creative participation in long-term engagement projects and an entrepreneurial approach to community-engaged learning.