end of the form?

Since lowering the compulsory school age to 3 years, the sustainability of kindergartens in the city of Paris is under threat. The municipality is looking for solutions to preserve the spirit of these alternative nursery school structures.

close or repair. This is the dilemma facing 22 educational kindergartens in the city of Paris, which receive nearly eight hundred children between the ages of two and six years. One thing is for sure, they will not be able to continue to exist in their current form.

It has been rumored for several years that these alternative structures for traditional kindergartens will not last long. The School of Trust Act passed in July 2019, by lowering the compulsory education age to 3 years, has in fact accelerated the movement. By 2024, they must have disappeared … much to the chagrin of professionals and families who gathered on Tuesday 12 April at the call of three unions to protest in front of the 12-town town hallAnd Circle. The spirit of these reception spaces is unparalleled, where Educators of Young Children (EJE) are trained in active pedagogical methods that ensure the proper development of the child.

“In kindergarten, for example, we don’t force them to drop their diapers when they enter the little section, we accompany them gently. Same for naps: sleep needs are very different … the idea is to start from the little ones, to adapt to their rhythm, they are smaller than to merge!” Marin, a spokesperson for the association Décollaje (Collective Defense of Kindergarten Friends), argues. And she adds: “There is no break during the day, the same team is there from morning to evening, including during meals, and it is an opportunity to continue learning.” Another peculiarity of this model is close to Kindergarten The Germans, who looks like a UFO in the French landscape.

Families and teachers gather for Kindergarten Pedagogical Defense (JEP), April 12 at the Town Hall in the 12th arrondissement in Paris.

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Social Diversity Like DNA

The first kindergarten in Germany was born in 1837, under the guidance of teacher Friedrich Froebel. In Paris, their history is closely connected with the history of social housing. In the interwar period, to reduce unsanitary housing installed on the old fortifications, between the Ring Road and Maricho Streets, the municipality launched an extensive building program in the east and north of the city, in which kindergartens were incorporated. In addition to nurseries and then joined distinct backgrounds. One hundred years later, social diversity remains in their DNA. “It attracts two populations who benefit from the innovative aspect of pedagogy, Sociologist Marco Operti, co-author of a two-part research report conducted by the Sociological Observatory for Change in Sciences Po, notes in 2018 and 2019. Upper-middle-class parents who criticize the inertia within traditional nursery schools, but also very working-class families who appreciate the availability of staff to discuss with and flexibility in caring for youngsters. » Without forgetting a third file: children with “special needs”, who can represent up to 13% of the total number of employees.

Since the School Trust Act, teachers follow school programs: “Children learn to write their first name, recognize numbers, the days of the week, but professionals maintain a flexible spirit. They know very well that not everyone develops at the same pace, “ Marin explains, his conviction that those who arrive from kindergarten are no better prepared for cerebral palsy. “To check whether children who go through this experience succeed as well as other children once they return to the classic course of civic education, another study should be conducted,” Marco Operti weights. However, there is no mystery: it is also their rate of supervision that makes these structures successful. With EJE and two assistants for twenty children, it is much higher than in nursery schools, including in REP, where the number of pupils per class is limited.

Towards hybrid structures?

We understand that the former in question is still dreaming of continuing the adventure, as Natalie (first name changed), head of a kindergarten and government employee in the city of Paris: It would be a shame if such structures were to disappear, when they could be laboratories for ideas of patriotic education. » But it is a waste of time, according to the municipality, which invokes the principle of reality. “Since the law does not allow it to be preserved as it currently exists, I am trying to find a way out that will preserve the basics, says Patrick Bloch, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of education and early childhood. Do we turn them into nurseries, and then they will only welcome young children, or do we try to build a mixed framework, along with national education, with teams made up of teachers for young children but also of teachers? Work begins. » With, in the end, the risk of normalizing the original spaces.

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