The new Age Children and Kindergarten Education
In a context of growing child insecurity, can we consider the reduction in compulsory schooling at 5 years of age as the one and only bulwark for reducing social and / or linguistic inequalities? Wouldn’t the stake lie – in parallel with this measure – in strengthening the means to improve the quality of reception and teaching, in particular through the training of teachers and out-of-school care workers? In addition, would this bill not produce the opposite effect from that hoped for, namely, the strengthening of the stigmatization of families in precariousness and far from school codes? If this is the case, shouldn’t incentive measures be favored? In addition, what concrete changes does the lowering of the compulsory school age imply?
Kindergarten: why is it so important?
An equalizing virtue?
The “Missions” decree specifies the guidelines and specific objectives that nursery education must pursue:
Nursery education aims in particular to:
- develop the child’s awareness of his own potential and promote self-expression through creative activities.
- develop socialization.
- develop cognitive, social, affective and psychomotor learning.
- detect the difficulties and handicaps of children and provide them with the necessary remedies.
All scientific studies thus agree to show that nursery school plays an undeniable role in the learning and future schooling of students.
Indeed, those who do not attend it would leave with a “handicap” compared to those who attend:
Attending Kindergarten provides an advantage for the rest of schooling, both in terms of achievements and in terms of school career by reducing the probability of repeating a class, and in particular (the first year of primary). The effects being all the more positive the longer the kindergarten education has been.
It is therefore with a view to limiting these initial inequalities, from an egalitarian and emancipatory perspective, that compulsory schooling at 5 years old was thought:
Some of the children who do not attend nursery school face health problems, but they may also be children of foreign origin, who do not speak French at home, or from social backgrounds little favored. Under these conditions, the 5-year bond has an equalizing virtue, capable of correcting or limiting the effects of the initial inequalities. From this point of view, it is:
- facilitate social integration (transition from family environment to school context)
- Facilitate contact with the school culture (organization, language, rules, etc.)
- To compensate for any weaknesses linked to the low socio-cultural level of the family environment and to quickly identify learning difficulties.
All scientists and education stakeholders therefore agree that making the kindergarten compulsory must inevitably be accompanied by ambitious measures aimed at the overall improvement of the quality of reception and the level of qualification of professionals, their initial and continued training, the development of appropriate pedagogical approaches, “at child level”.