Educational Placemats & Local Learning Infrastructure

2/15/16 update: This project is on hold while we focus on developing our new and exciting Citizen Diplomacy Initiative this year.

Following on our mission to spread knowledge in everyday life, this year Learning Life is launching a project to spread educational placemats in metro Washington D.C.

These placemats will feature quiz questions and answers on a growing range of educational topics, from local history to international affairs, depending on community interest. The placemats will be sponsored to make their funding possible, printed in full-color to be eye-catching, laminated so they can be reused, and distributed in D.C. restaurants, bars, cafes, cafeterias and other eateries free to spread learning more widely. The educational content will be written for adults as well as kids, and we will encourage D.C. eateries to use the placemats for all their customers, not just children.

Paul LachelierThis placemat project is part of Learning Life’s ongoing effort to develop a local learning infrastructure – a community’s means for informing and engaging residents and visitors about all that matters to their lives, from emergencies, school programs and regional economics all the way to global economic, political and cultural news and trends. Such means can take many forms, from traditional schools, afterschool programs and adult education classes, to outdoor murals, posters, billboards, kiosks and screenings, to the mostly indoor consumer surfaces Learning Life focuses on, like napkins, coasters and placemats.

As our credo indicates, learning need not, and should not, be confined to one’s youth inside school walls. If learning is to be a lifelong process, then it makes sense to invest in local learning infrastructures that reach people in their everyday lives, and engage them in fruitful incidental learning that might not otherwise occur. For our sponsors, these placemats offer an innovative and eye-catching way to show your support for community education.

Our first planned placemat will feature local history, specifically five interesting questions and answers about the history of Washington D.C.’s Anacostia neighborhood. An electronic version of the placemat will be coming soon to this page. Individuals and organizations interested in sponsoring this first placemat or future ones (your ideas for future placemats are welcome!) should contact me directly at

Paul Lachelier, Ph.D.
Founder, Learning Life