Tribune. Born under IIIe Republic, nursery school today reconciles three imperatives: welcoming the young child, educating him, preparing him for his future schooling by working on his cognitive, social and cultural development. This point of balance was formalized by the current school program, which meets the expectations of families and satisfies teachers. Published in 2015, this program, which received very wide approval, was developed by calling on all research sectors concerned with nursery school, the expertise of teachers and the collaboration of school partners. .
Nothing, therefore, justifies wanting to upset this balance and force the nursery school to give up a large part of its missions. However, this is what the Higher Council for Programs (CSP) is considering, in a « analysis and proposal note » where he suggests an overhaul of the program that focuses the nursery school on a few targeted learning that would be intensely worked on. The CSP’s proposals are motivated by an objective, the mark of which is not mystery: to improve the scores in the assessments that children take when they enter preparatory course.
As the challenge is to obtain better performances than those achieved on average by this age group, for the authors of the note, it is a question of anticipating the learning concerned without taking children’s development into account. As these tests relate only to what the official jargon calls “the fundamentals”, ie French and mathematics, the other fields are neglected, in particular the physical and artistic activities. As the preparatory course tests assess only technical skills, the teaching of mathematics and French should be technical. There is therefore no longer any question of familiarization with children’s literature, a cultural openness that could waste time.
This political choice stems from a technocratic vision of the school. The authors of the note indeed seek to improve the profitability of nursery school by restricting its scope and by anticipating subsequent learning. This doctrine is due to a very incomplete knowledge of nursery school and young children. Indeed, the authors only allowed themselves to consult three researchers in favor of the minister, by depriving themselves of the knowledge of specific learning in nursery school, a field however well explored by research. They therefore remain on the surface of things and are not interested in the substantial transformations that the nursery school aims for each child, and which take time.
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