Concern is high among parents and early childhood education professionals who are mobilizing “for a school of trust” against the closure of the pedagogical kindergartens (JEP) that have disappeared since the Blanquer vote was passed.
Kindergartens are these municipally funded educational institutions that take children from 2 to 6 years old. It’s been around for 100 years now. If they use the kindergarten program well, they adapt to the specific needs of young children.
In the JEP classes we take the time to acquire knowledge up to the entry into CP. Holding a pen or forming letters, the rhythm is not imposed like in a classic kindergarten school year and the child is not accused of anything. The main thing is that he adopts these new ideas if he can. In these structures, which also welcome children with disabilities, an active pedagogy inspired by the Montessori method is represented.
But with the law “for a school of trust” announced in 2019, around 250 kindergartens in France are threatened, half of them in the Île-de-France. In Paris, more than 800 children are affected in the 20 facilities managed by the city.
This law makes school compulsory for children from the age of three and no longer from the age of six. After a two-year moratorium, from 2024 kindergartens will no longer be able to accept children over the age of 3 unless they are converted into a school.
“In these educational kindergartens, the children are given time to grow up. They enjoy going to school and learning. Why do we want to break this?‘ exclaims Marine Deligabel, President of the Collective Defense and Friends of Kindergartens association.
According to this mother, the problem would be a budgetary one as these structures would represent too high a cost to the city. “As parents we find it crazy that structures that work, that satisfy everyone and that have shown their ability to evolve by adapting to the demands of their school structure from the age of 3 are only condemned for stories of legal cases. We need to stop with this Excel spreadsheet logic.“
For two years and the promulgation of the law, parents and professionals have mobilized despite the health crisis. The collective has launched an online petition to the government and Paris City Hall which has been signed by 17,000 people.
Danielle Simonnet, Councilor of the City of Paris (LFI), has also publicly denounced this impending closure in a press release. “[Ces lieux] enable a large social mix and thus promote republican equality. […] If it disappeared, it would not only be a loss for our public childcare facilities, but also a gain for private actors and would thus promote social inequalities.“In fact, these structures are more present in the priority neighborhoods of the capital, offering costs proportional to family income.
This Tuesday, April 12, 14 Parisian kindergartens went on strike. And at the call of three unions (FO, UCP and SUPAP/FSU), around 200 parents and early childhood professionals gathered outside City Hall in the 12th arrondissement to challenge the city.
They hope that the law will be changed by the future education minister. They also asked Patrick Bloche, the deputy mayor of Paris responsible for education and early childhood, who pledged his support at a meeting the day after the demonstration. “By then, the city had had a pretty resigned speech. It’s progress‘ greets Marine Degabel.
For its part, the Ministry of National Education plans to transform the GEPs into “innovative structures”. But some parents are concerned. “I’m not reassured” Loose marine de fork. “Maybe we don’t have a choice in the end, but we really will have done everything we could to find solutions to preserve these structures, which are nuggets.”
The collective plans to organize a new rally soon to save kindergartens.