In 2014, Inserm researcher Jean-Philippe Lachaux launched the ATOL (Attentif à l’écOLe or Attention at School) program, which aims to use neuroscientific knowledge to improve children’s attention span in school. A thousand children from 40 classes, spanning the French equivalents of kindergarten to the 7th grade, have now benefited from this program, which is funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR).
ATOL is based on the premise that all pupils can develop better attention skills, with benefits lasting into adulthood and professional life. The project thus seeks to develop the attention capacity of 6-18-year-olds through a program that takes place in the form of workshops adapted to each level of schooling, and focuses on three subjects:
– understanding the biological mechanism of attention;
– learning to spot situations where there is a conflict for attention; and
– developing a sense of attention balance.
The ATOL project aims to put attention skills at the heart of schooling in order to improve learning, and the future adult lives of the children involved. Partnerships are now being planned with a number of elementary, middle, and high schools.