Confronted with recurring and strong problems of free time and space in a reception, it seemed essential to think carefully about childcare facilities.
In our school, extracurricular services share the premises of the school and the moments of regroupement were too frequent during the day, sometimes involving up to 130 children simultaneously. Free recreation time was not structured and could be source of risks.
The second concern was the use of time for child care. What does the child do in these times?
We redefined elementary spaces by using the full potential of existing premises to create small, defined spaces with fewer children. When, before the children had a large hall where they could make what looked like a great recreation, we drew a boardroom, a free workshop room, a drawing room ... and prepared trunks with equipment. There is no more room "tote" but each room offers its free activity. The hall has become a clear, free and welcoming space for parents. A facilitator at the reception is responsible for welcoming the children in these rooms.
Thus the child no longer sees these times as a great recreation but as a possibility of choosing the space in which he will be able to perform an activity of his choice.
On the mezzanine space not used for years, we installed a reading corner with benches and boxes of books. This space also allows you to do your homework if needed. Further on this mezzanine, a corner delimited by carpets allows the games on the ground: kapla, legos and cars.
Another confined space includes a doll house and her models. A limited number of children is provided for each space.
Then, using the school premises, we got to use the library for another reading space. One room allows to make games for the smallest and another one for the bigger ones. For drawings, a table in the hall allows the children to practice quietly under the supervision of the host. Thus all children can at the same time daycare, have several places and activity. In addition to this, the yard allows outdoor activity.
The facilitator is present to enforce the rules of respect of these spaces and to incite the children to take full possession of them in the respect of the instructions.
The children are responsible for these spaces but it is above all the animators who are the guarantors to check that everything passes well including the tidying up. Previously, the leaders had a tendency to scold the children who did not put them away, but they did not give instructions for storage.
We also replaced the supervised activity times (TAP) which was on registration by free workshops where each child can participate without commitment. Where for TAP, the child had to commit to a whole cycle of activity, in the workshop it is free to test and change.
After a few weeks of testing we noticed a greater involvement of the children and involvement of the animators.
VIncent Jean Terrienne, Lydille Lang