Lumiar: creative education in action


If you’re looking for a creative approach to education, then Lumiar is it.

The underlying foundation of our pedagogical methodology is to promote learner autonomy and the holistic development of the child through the exploration of their passions, interests, and strengths—in a stimulating, democratic, and creative learning environment.

How amazing is that?

Lumiar is an educational model developed in Brazil where students learn through applying their knowledge to problems. The curriculum is organised into projects, and each project is mapped to the national curriculum. So, for example, a project on cooking would enable students to learn aspects of Maths, English, Science as well as key soft skills suuch as organisation, time management and communication. Students also learn collaboratively in multi-age groups, which harnesses the power of peer learning.

And it’s brilliant.

My daughter has just turned three, and although it’s a bit early to be thinking about schools I can’t help it. I’m a teacher, and I struggle with the fact that compulsory education consistently ignores much of the research into effective learning. When so many other disciplines are driven by – and depend on – being at the forefront of research, education seems to be stuck in the last century and unable to adapt.

So when I saw the TED talk about the Lumiar system of education developed in Brazil by Ricardo Semler, I was inspired. And when I found out that there are two Lumiar schools in the UK, I was over the moon.

Yesterday, my family had the opportunity to spend the day with the Lumiar team at Ramsgate – I’m very grateful to Sam, Dan and Nick for welcoming us into their school so warmly. Within ten minutes, I could see just how much the Lumiar method supports effective and creative learning.

To satisfy the growing demand for creativity in the workplace, our education system must enable students to learn creatively. Real life is ‘integrated’ – by that, I mean that it involves constantly solving complex problems that require us to draw on a wide and diverse range of knowledge. So why to we continue to teach subjects in isolation? The same is true at university – we focus in on a specialism, only to go into the workplace and find that work requires us to be flexible, adaptable, and to be able to connect disparate knowledge to solve problems.

Donald Schön highlighted this problem way back in 1987 in his article on the ‘crisis of confidence in professional knowledge‘. Schön noted how professionals are often stuck between solving hypothetical problems that remain within the safety of their discipline, or descinding into the ‘swampy lowlands’ (such a great expression) of real-life problems, to which the answers are often messy and complicated.

If we are to prepare students to tackle the messy, interconnected problems that are characteristic of life in the 21st century, then a inter-disciplinary approach to education is essential. It is pointless educating in disciplinary silos if solving complex problems requires us to work across disciplines.

The Lumiar model of education tackles this problem head-on. If any educational model is going to prepare students for the realities of living and working in the 21st century, then Lumiar is it.

A huge thank you to Dan, Sam, Nick and Jamie for such an inspiring trip to Lumiar Kent.


Schönn, D. (1984) Preparing professionals for the demands of practice. In: Donald Schön, Educating the Reflective Practitioner. Jossey-Bass, pp.3-21.

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