Education: “Yes, the Breton language is in danger! – Presidential: 20 days with the Bretons



It’s 8:45 a.m., this Thursday in February, in front of the gate of the small Skol Diwan de Kerfeunteun in Quimper. After the parents’ kisses goodbye, not a word of French should pass the gate of this school, one of the oldest in the immersive Breton network. “Demate! ’ the teachers at the schools happily announce.

We sneak between the 112 students and the colorful bustle of the corridors. Here first. Gaëlle Ménez and Gwenn Louboutin begin the greeting ritual. “Unan, daou, tri”, the twelve students talk about their age, the weather and above all Candlemas, which was celebrated the night before. “Mat eo bugale! (Come on, kids!)”. Gaëlle, 44, who has been with Diwan for twenty years, examines faces, articulates every word and repeats it if necessary. “Here, every sixteenth person speaks Breton at home. Toddlers who have just arrived are often introduced to words by the older ones?. They absorb very quickly, the down-to-earth and colorful side of Breton perfectly activates neural connections,” notes the teacher, in love with the language spoken by her grandparents in Spézet (29).

PHOTO FRANCOIS DESTOC / LE TELEGRAM QUIMPER (29): Diwan school in Kerfeuntean English course for CE2 and CM1 classes
For older children in CE2-CM1, English lessons… in Breton. (FRANCOIS DESTOC / THE TELEGRAM)

Newly arrived toddlers are often introduced to words by older children. You absorb yourself very quickly, the down-to-earth and colorful side of the Breton perfectly activates neural connections.

“The Breton language is in danger! »

We leave the small chairs and head towards the large section class. Outside, Gaelle Kervella’s students are bustling around the bird feeders (with difficulty). Laurence Le Berre, pedagogical advisor for the morning, validates her colleague’s methodology in Breton. She, who has been teaching at Diwan for thirty years, knows that the resources remain fragile: “But it was a long time ago that we had to glue our own translations into the books,” she says.

PHOTO FRANCOIS DESTOC / LE TELEGRAM QUIMPER (29): Divan school in Kerfeunteun GS class for kindergarten
The upper level of the kindergarten. (FRANCOIS DESTOC / THE TELEGRAM)

10:15 a.m. At Pokémon card time in the playground, the director of Diwan’s three Quimper locations

Keven Ar Fur welcomes us in the Master Room. Four years in office, the forty-something praises the virtues of immersive education. His two children, 17 and 23, did their primary education in Kerfeunteun and followed the royal road to Diwan High School in Carhaix (29). He himself spoke Breton with his father (who was the first parents’ representative when the school opened in 1977) and swapped Brezhoneg for his son. What does he expect from a future President of the Republic? “Give us more resources to facilitate teaching and train more teachers”. Despite the smile, the message remains serious: “Yes, the Breton language is in danger! »

I joined the Diwan network thirty years ago when we had very little funding. Today we don’t have to stick our own translations on books!

From English to Breton

11.45 a.m.: In the small canteen opposite, the employees paid by the Volksbildungsverein (AEP), who finance themselves through voluntary actions by the parents of students, are busy serving the 95% of the semi-residents.  Bruchetta and Salat (salad) are on the menu this Thursday.  Here, too, we exchange ideas in Breton.
In the small canteen, the employees paid by the Volksbildungsverein work, who finance themselves through voluntary actions by the parents of the students in order to serve the 95% of the half-board guests.

In the small canteen, the employees paid by the Volksbildungsverein work, who finance themselves through voluntary actions by the parents of the students in order to serve the 95% of the half-board guests. (FRANCOIS DESTOC / THE TELEGRAM)

It’s already afternoon and the corridors smell of krampouezh bihan (pancakes) made by kindergartens. For older children in CE2-CM1 there are English classes… in Breton. Meanwhile, at the other end of the school, the CM1-CM2 are talking about klakenn (chatty magpie) with their teacher, Florence Cartron, a 44-year-old Poitevine native of Brittany since 2008.

Among the CE1-CM1, neighbor Bruno Boisrobert asked the adults this written question: “If I were President, what would need to change?
The CM1-CM2 with their teacher Florence Cartron, a 44 year old Poitevine native of Brittany since 2008.

The CM1-CM2 with their teacher Florence Cartron, a 44-year-old Breton woman from Poitevine since 2008. (FRANCOIS DESTOC / LE TELEGRAMME)

Consult the file

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