Les Grands Chevaliers
4 – 5 years
Man’s maturity: To have regained the seriousness that he had as a child at play. – Nietzsche
The second year of Jardin d’Enfant, and final year of daycare, is a crucial step for parents and their child. Concerns often arise from both sides, as does pride and apprehension regarding the near and not-so-near future. A child is curious and optimistic by nature, and will often let his excitement and pride guide him. He will tend to make a greater effort, be more meticulous. Children understand perfectly well that beginning school will mark their entry into the Adult world.
During this year, we will ensure that your child is fully prepared to make the leap and successfully graduate from this last stage of daycare. To ensure such a peaceful transition to kindergarten, activities will be more academic in nature in the mornings. The maturity that your child has acquired at this age will allow him to handle longer periods of intellectual stimulation, and his more elaborate language skills will ensure a better understanding of the knowledge that is being transmitted to him. The notions of logic and mathematics, which have already found their place in your child’s mind, will be assimilated with greater ease. We will use board games and assignments to develop basic notions of arithmetic, reading and science. Children at this age will naturally turn to more educational games, as their curiosity will always get the best of them.
Let’s not forget that at four to five years old – and even up to age seven, I would say – they are still children. Many civilizations, for example, set the age of reason for a child at seven years old. We are not asking our children to dive into adulthood (responsibility and stress) right away. Our goal is to accompany them in the months and year at hand while allowing them to progress at a pace that suits their abilities.
To return to my main point of reference: Finland, while redesigning its education system, decided that daycares should accommodate children until age six, so that they can reach their full intellectual maturity. Consequently, it gave early childhood educators the leeway necessary to decide at which moment a child would enter the school system.
Our school system, unfortunately, is incompatible with such a child-centred education system where a child’s wellness takes priority over everything else. At our daycare, however, we will diligently strive to always keep this goal in mind and work cooperatively with parents so that their child continues to thrive throughout the year at hand and the many years to come, to consolidate what he has learned, and above all, to keep his self-confidence intact. To make this possible, we will introduce many workers from the school system to our children over the course of the year. This should allow them to make associations with what school means and what will be expected of them, and thereby encourage them to make the leap enthousiastically.
Role play, team games, and puppets
In preparation for school, which will also present children with difficult situations to manage, we will encourage them more than ever to express their feelings and emotions using these kinds of games. We will discuss subjects such as bullying, extortion, sexuality, respecting one’s body – elements and situations that your child must be able to recognize, name and discuss with you in an honest and trusting manner. Teaching a child right from wrong, acceptable from unacceptable, tolerable from intolerable, etc., will help him to express himself and go to you should he ever be confronted with situations that he finds bothersome, and this, as soon as they happen.