When the logic of ‘schoolification’ goes against the quality of preschool institutions




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Ghislain Leroy

Lecturer, Rennes 2 University, CREAD Laboratory

Ghislain Leroy is a lecturer in Education Sciences (Rennes 2 University, CREAD Laboratory). He has studied the ways in which the relationship with the child in the French pre-school context has transformed since the 1980s as a result of neoliberal policies having remodelled this system, seeking to make it more and more profitable academically. Ghislain Leroy summarised his work in the book L’école maternelle de la performance enfantine (Peter Lang, 2020). Since then, he has focused on the growing development of so-called alternative pedagogies within both public and private schools – Montessori pedagogies in particular – as well as on family instruction. His last book is “Sociologie des pédagogies alternatives” (La Découverte, 2022). The aim of all his research on pre-schools, schools and families is to understand contemporary child socialisation and what we are trying to do with children today.


When the logic of ‘schoolification’ goes against the quality of pre-school institutions

Traditionally, pre-school systems in Europe tend to aim either at the holistic development of the child or at preparation for their future schooling. That said, for several decades, the logic of ‘schoolification’ has taken hold in many European pre-school institutions. Through a study of the French context, we question the consequences of this type of logic. It might, for example, lead to a preference for implementing a harsher vision of the pedagogical relationship (enforcing obedience), a less playful pedagogy and less concern when it comes to taking the children’s interests into account. The more formal educational climate can also result in such an increase in the pace of learning that it reaches the point of prematurely marginalising children who do not receive the same level of academic support in their home environment. Finally, this approach to pedagogy can also lead to professionals being less focused on the psycho-affective relationship with the children, and of their emotional security. In short, the logic of ‘schoolification’ can generate quality deficits in Early Childhood Education and Care.

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