Life Style

In kindergarten, rituals to better understand the passage of time

That morning, due to the health crisis, there were only 7 in the class, compared to 18 in normal times. “We are not going to count the absentees because there are too many”, warns in a voice as soft as dynamic Gaëlle Hallier-Fourage, teacher of small and medium sections at the Grand Carcouët school, in Nantes.

→ READ. Education: appropriating the notion of time, a real challenge for the child

Classified in REP+, the hard core of priority education, the establishment welcomes many children who grow up in families in social and economic difficulty. For this experienced teacher, the acquisition of time goes first and foremost through the language of adults. “I use words like“after”,“then” or “now” so that they become imbued with it, she slips. Linguistic support is not as significant at home as in other settings, so I overplay the time markers. »

Frieze and nursery rhyme

After a welcome time, Gaëlle Hallier-Fourage starts the music announcing the moment of the gathering. Hocine, Assia, Tamru and the others come and sit on the benches for this first great ritual of the morning. The teacher waits for her students to put their hands wisely on their thighs, before greeting them with a “bravo” and saying hello to each of them with her eyes. The morning of school can begin.

→ MAINTENANCE. Learning in toddlers: “Through language, the parent transmits what he is”

After the “hello everyone” nursery rhyme, it’s time to move on to the day of the week. A frieze, displayed on the blackboard, aligns five school images and two house images to represent the weekend. Gaëlle Hallier-Fourage positions a little bear, called Ploum, on the first box, before asking the children what day of the week it is. No response from the audience, a sign that it is still early to master this skill, which is part of the nursery school curriculum. The latter specifies that it is a question of bringing the pupils little by little to “consider time and space as dimensions relatively independent of the activities in progress”.

The teacher writes “Monday” in capitals, emphasizing the sound of the letters. It is only after this episode that the children recite the rhyme of the days of the week. “I do this on purpose, explains the one who is also a teacher trainer. Certain rituals sometimes turn empty. It is not enough to know the song or to associate a day with a color to understand them! You have to go gradually. »

“Long and complex” apprenticeship

After a very popular nursery rhyme about a tarantula climbing a staircase, Gaëlle Hallier-Fourage asks the students how they feel. Then Alioune comes to the blackboard to place an arrow on a series of photos that cut out the school day on the blackboard. Another way to apprehend the passage of time! Make way for painting, counting or modeling clay workshops.

→ MAINTENANCE. Pedagogy: “Patience or the art of inhabiting the wait”

“The perception of time changes a lot between the small section and entering CP, she points out. When they are small, their lived time is primarily affective. Even in CP-CE1, they find it difficult to grasp the historical depth, between the time of their grandparents and that of the dinosaurs. It is a long and complex apprenticeship. » Back to the gathering to work on the story of a little mole in winter. The opportunity to approach the seasons, another great time marker. “Look outside,” the mistress instructs them. In the little mole, in winter, it snows. At home, in Nantes, it’s raining! »


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