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Hi everyone,

Does anyone out there know anything about the Freinet Pedagogy??  I had my heart set on Steiner for our 2 yo son, but we just moved to France, and are in a place where there is only Freinet available.  Conventional schooling scares the pants off me….former high school teacher in the US and had some bad experiences…seen some things at nursery schools that I don’t like.

I can’t find much beyond very superficial accounts of Freinet’s original philosophy.  I don’t know how it’s implemented in todays classrooms, and really what it means.  I do have a friend who’s 6 yo is there and all are very happy. We’re waiting for the open house, but I’m trying to learn as much as I can and am pipe-dreaming about starting my own Steiner Kindergarten!!!

My husband is strongly for him going to “maternelle” (=nursery) so he can speak more french, play with others, and we can all make some new friends…and my husband has such great memories from his experience that he wants our son to have it too.  I’m sort of for, as long as its not every day….

If any of you can wax poetically (or unpoetically!) about Freinet, I’m all ears!

Thanks in advance

SAHM to DS- 10/08 and DD 11/10

This is fantastic, thanks!

Some of these sites are new to me and great..once the kiddo’s are in bed I shall be reading/watching them! 

I’m hoping someone on this forum has some personal experience to share, either from the student/parent/teacher perspective.

There aren’t a lot of books out there like there are for Steiner or Montessori.  And to be honest, it takes me a LONG time to slog through the French….I’m still in the steep part of that learning curve.

Given the language factor, I want to be as in the know as possible before their open house at the end of March. 

Thanks again!!!

SAHM to DS- 10/08 and DD 11/10

If it helps this is good for translating text smile

Good luck,

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.

LETS number 64

let me know which sites you are interested in or you can copy and paste text here and I can translate it for you.

Thanks!  I can get through them….I actually need the practice tongue rolleye .  It just takes me a long time….. But, since we live here now, I need to improve my facility with the language.  [sigh]

The one I was able to get through last night was good, probably the most useful so far….It seems that when I googled Freinet I got pretty much the same info cut and paste (Who Celestin Freinet was and how his Pedagogy developed) onto different sites.  Unfortunately the school here doesn’t have a very well developed site itself.  And my friend whose child is there is happy, but she is still learning about the system as well and can’t explain it that well yet.  She loves the autonomy it’s provided her daughter.  From what she can tell me, is that it’s very book and library oriented, and that the learning is what we would call in the Education field “inquiry based” where the kids themselves decide (within certain frameworks that differ with each teacher/pedagogy) what they want to learn.  Then the teacher marches them off to the library where they begin their research.  How this works with pre-literate children I don’t know.  But it means at least they should have a well developed library which is always good.  I also don’t know how the pedagogy really manifests itself in the classroom, and in reality probably won’t until I can get in there and observe.

I plan to watch the video during naptime, if my husband doesn’t usurp the computer!

My kid is 2 though, so he’ll just be in Maternelle for the time being and if they’re even trying to do anything academic, he’s outta there.  I want him to just play, develop his imagination, and learn whatever social skills his age will allow.

Did you live in France or are you French?  I’m trying to figure out why Steiner is so undeveloped here… (pushback against anything perceived as German??? I’d like to think people are over it by now).  There are just a handful of schools country-wide, and only about 6 (being generous) that go through Lycee.  Our closest kindergarten is 3 hours away!  There are 2 Montessori schools, but they’re a little far and I’ve heard some disappointing things about the teachers.  Plus they teach in Breton (same school, 2 locations), which is great, but then my son will never become competent in French!


Anyway, thanks for jumping into this with me!


SAHM to DS- 10/08 and DD 11/10

I am french but living in the UK. If I understand you live in Brittany…where about? it is a lovely area, I really like it and go every year. My gandma was from Rennes and we have always spent the summer in the Morbihan when I was a kid.
Anyway, just an idea but you should be able to ask this school if you can come for a little while and seat at the back of the class to understand how a day is running. Especially if your kid is not fluent yet in French, you want to make sure he will understand and will be able to participate. I don’t see why they would refuse. I think that would help you.
About Steiner, I am not too sure to be honest…French are very attached to their academic and schooling system which is not the best in Europe. Everyone has to pass the baccalaureat otherwise no future! However let’s say in Germany, only good and academic students make it to university where having a degree means something. The others can go to do an apprenticeship and learn a job from 14 years old which I think is much better.  I was not very academic but had to go through university to do a degree in the end I was not interested it and I failed! Waste of time and money. At the moment everyone has a degree but no skills.
I certainly hope we don’t hold a grudge still with Germany, especially as the country has suffered probably more than us in the end.

Depend on where you live but if you are in the countryside where I grew up, the school would be much different than let’s say the school in Paris. I went to a small school with nearly no facilities but our surroundings where amazing, therefore we use to have the gym class in the local park, swimming lesson in the lake, then we would do biology in the forest and learn about trees and plants, we used to do some nordic skiing in winter go walking in the mountain and learn about orientation…We spent a lot of our time outside. And this was a normal classical school. But in the countryside there is more freedom to teach the way you want, that’s why I think they might not so be interested by Steiner, unlike in bigger towns where you need to provide alternatives for different people.



We’re just outside of Brest, in a little town called Plougonvelin, but will be buying a house in Brest (hopefully signing papers in the next 2 weeks).  My husband is French, from a village near Strasbourg, so our son probably speaks better french than I do (and I’m probably not as bad as I think…)!  I just don’t want him, or our daughter to learn my version of your language!!!  At least not until I feel better about my ability to communicate and stop making so many mistakes…..

It is beautiful here, it’s nice being so close to the beach, but this town has very little else, and there aren’t many young families.  It’s a vacation town, so as I look out my window, the vast majority of the houses are boarded up.  It is so sad!!! I imagine the population triples in the summer.  The people we’ve met, both through my husband’s work and my getting involved in a local parenting group have been super nice.  In fact, when we came here in July for his interview, and to check the place out, we were so impressed by the friendliness of the people here that we decided to accept the job offer.

We’ve been once to Rennes, and will go again in Feb to register our daughter at the US consulate there.  What a beautiful city!  I’m disappointed that its 3 hours from here.  We haven’t explored much of southern Brittany yet, but certainly plan too!

Your school days sound sublime!  I hope its still like that somewhere.  It doesn’t seem to be here, and certainly won’t be in Brest.  The schools all have playgrouds, that are fenced in and neatly paved over.  Not a blade of grass, or moss or lichen to be seen! 

I probably will do as you suggest and spend some time in the classroom.  I agree that they will probably let me do that.  We have to go to the open house first, and my husband has to be convinced.  He, as you can imagine, thinks about nothing other than the Bac, and will be worried that with a non traditional start (Freinet only goes up through primaire, I think….they have to go to a conventional school for college) our son may fall behind.  Geez I hate that concept about falling behind, kids aren’t allowed to grow and flourish at their own pace anymore. I agree with you about the faults with the system.  Even without an exam like the Bac, we have the same problem in the US…too many degrees, not many skills.  But if you don’t go to college/University there is something wrong with you.  I think it’s sad and devalues artisinal work that everyone depends on and appreciates. 

It’s nice to meet you!  It’s too bad we’re no longer in Epsom (that’s where we moved from in Sept).


SAHM to DS- 10/08 and DD 11/10

Susan, I know Plougonvelin really well. I have spent a few summer there looking after some kids. The family is still living there in a big house looking over the sea. It is so so funny, can’t believe it. It’s a lovely area to live in. Kids at local schools usually get involved in lots of environment project like cleaning the beach…Have you been to Ouessant?
People tend to be very friendly and quite straight forward in this part of the world.
Although even if you live in town, your kid could still go in a small local school. Do you drive? roads aren’t busy and there is a good network of school buses. I tend to prefer village school for the outdoor activities they offer.
Maybe if I go and visit my friend, we can meet one day.

No, we haven’t been out to Ouessant…we just arrived in Sept and I was 8 months pregnant!  I’ve heard that it’s beautiful from others as well, so perhaps this summer, we’ll get there.  It is a small world that you also know Plougonvelin!  If there were more young families here, we might be inclined to stay, but there’s just more children oriented stuff in Brest.  The parenting group I’ve met up with though is mostly here and in La Conquet, so I will be coming back out weekly!  Plus the swimming pool here, now that its reopened, is one of the best I’ve ever seen, especially for kids!  Our son adores the giant slide.

That is a really good suggestion about sticking with the village schools even if we’re in Brest.  I will look into that option as well.  I do drive, after 18 carless months in the UK, the rediscovered freedom is fantastic!

Do let me know if you’re ever in the area to visit your friend!  It’d be nice to have a face to face chat over a cup of coffee or something! 


SAHM to DS- 10/08 and DD 11/10

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