In a short note for Terra Nova, an early childhood specialist, Florent de Bodman, is already calling on the future President of the Republic to invest heavily in the poorest children. The idea is to allow these toddlers to access nurseries from which they are now largely absent. With 10 billion euros over five years, the state could be a game-changer, and their “To provide a richer environment (…) in order to increase their chances of future success in school and in life”.
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Concretely, explains the author, this manna would make it possible to create 100,000 additional nursery places, to increase the salaries of the professionals who work there by 10%, to increase their number by a third in the priority districts of the policy of the city … So many essential measures, “If we want to take advantage of early childhood to change the future of our society”. By reducing inequalities in living and early learning conditions between toddlers.
Just access to the nursery
This approach echoes the recent presentation of a work carried out by France Stratégie which proposes to guarantee all children four and a half days of nursery per week. It also resonates with the report of sociologist Julien Damon, submitted on October 6 to the government during the Families’ Conference, proposing to create a “right to enforce” a place in a crèche from the age of 2. These avenues which, by their concomitance, show the importance of fair access to the nursery, while coming from different approaches.
The Terra Nova rating sees this as a profitable “social investment”. “From the point of view of public finances, spending an additional 10 billion does not constitute an insurmountable change of scale, explains François de Bodman, since the State already pays 15 billion euros per year for childcare ”. And this increase in power allows for a maximized return on investment.
He cites the work of the Nobel laureate in liberal economics James Heckman, according to which “A dollar invested in the best early childhood education programs brings in 7.3 dollars to society: increased income for future adults, less future spending on social benefits, less spending on health, etc. “
“We lose sight of the universalist logic”
Such an approach, in vogue for example in Canada, is far from unanimous in France. “It is a perspective which consists in optimizing the use of public money, analyzes consultant Marc de Basquiat. However, seeing everything through this prism, we lose sight of the universalist logic of family policy and we forget that the middle classes, which finance the system through their taxes, must also collect something. “
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Marc de Basquiat also stresses that it is not the state of their finances that keeps some families away from nurseries. “A study by INSEE in 2009 established that, despite the diversity of families’ situations, through the aid system, the effort rate of all, rich and poor, was between 5 and 7% of the salary. , he illustrates. The fact that the children of the poorest families do not go to nursery is due to other, more complex reasons. There are cultural, psychological and educational obstacles. “
An observation is partly shared by Olivier Thévenon, an economist at the OECD who supports the targeted approach of Terra Nova, but accompanies it with a warning: “ the real problem is how to reach these children. Financial aid cannot do everything, even if it is still necessary. “ They are only a prerequisite.