Network for Information and Digital Access

The 'La main à la pâte' Foundation

Coordinating Organisation The "La main à la pâte" Foundation, France
Organisers/Type of Organisation Foundation for scientific cooperation
Initiative Type Professional development of teachers in science education
Field of Science Involved Scientific Education
Target Audience(s) Primary and secondary school teachers
Reach France and other European Union countries (36 partners), Asia (Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Pakistan, Vietnam), Middle East (Iran), Africa (Cameroon, Egypt, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia ) Latin America (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Venezuela)

Main Objectives

To improve the quality of science and technology teaching in primary and secondary education.

Description of work

La main à la pâte is a foundation for scientific cooperation founded in 2011 by the Académie des Sciences, the École Normale Supérieure (Paris) and the École Normale Supérieure of Lyon. The Foundation’s activities are carried out within France and internationally, providing assistance and professional development for teachers. 

Programmes are designed to help teachers implement inquiry-based learning which stimulates a scientific spirit in pupils, understanding of the world and capacities for expression.   

The five key priorities are:

  • produce and distribute scientific and teaching resources so that teachers in France and other countries can use them and adapt them to their context ;
  • provide professional development for teachers;
  • develop international cooperation on science teaching;
  • encourage equal opportunities through science education: support is provided for scientific education programs in difficult or rural school environments. Pilot centres assist primary school teachers and Pilot middle schools benefit from partnerships with laboratories and researchers. The foundation also actively contributes to a science and disability program for special needs pupils;
  • bring together science and industry in the development of science teaching. The Foundation coordinates in particular the ASTEP program (Accompaniment in Science and Technology in Primary School) which aims to reinforce the commitment of scientific professionals to primary school teachers and their pupils.

Results (2011 - 2015)

  • 10,000 teachers and trainers trained in one of the 9 Houses for Science and national centres
  • 4,000 teaching guides disseminated for free to primary and secondary classes
  • 400 trainers trained in 10 countries
  • 21 pilot centres covering 9,000 classes, half of which are based in priority education areas
  • 3,300 primary school classes benefitting from the ASTEP programme (Assistance in Science and Technology at Primary School) whereby scientists work alongside teachers to encourage inquiry-based learning among pupils

More details of their successful experience abroad can be found from:

Resources used or generated

The La main à la pâte Foundation produces many teaching tools and different resources.

You can search the resources on their website:

in French:

Resources in other languages 
(including Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, English, German, Italian, Japanese, Khmer, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish and Vietnamese.)

A wide range of subject topics are included, a sample includes:

Contact Details
Principal Contact Laurence Constantini
Address 43 rue de Rennes - 75006 Paris, France
e-mail Contact Form
Social Media Facebook
Twitter - @Fondation_Lamap
Other partner details The French Academy of Sciences, the École normale supérieure in Paris and the École normale supérieure in Lyon