Made 5 years ago, Calandreta Ribeirona offers Occitan education in Vals-le-Chastel (Haute-Loire)

Our visit to Calandreta Ribeirona in Vals-le-Chastel was a good one. Iris, a CM2 student, has a mission. He had to introduce the school to a visitor outside to “wear a belt”. In fact, in this school that applies Freinet pedagogy, there is no mark, but a system of belts, comparable to judo, to French, to mathematics and to “practice”. Iris, who has been educating at La Calandreta since making it in 2015 in Lavaudieu, is so visiting us.

Grows with trees

It starts on the second floor, in the “CE/CM” class in the middle of the geography lesson. “The class is made up of blocks of three or four students, Iris showed us. And in each group there is a “leader” among the elderly to help the young. “Cooperation is one of the key points of school pedagogy:“ We instill autonomy, team trust and cooperation, explains Alexia, a parent and teacher at La Calandreta. They are also given rules of collective life, of social life, thanks to “institutions”. »

Institutions and Occitan

Institutions, the second pillar of school pedagogy, consist of bringing together all students, from kindergarten to CM2, several times a day. In the morning we will do the “que de nou?” to find out how is everything and at night the “como que vai?” to check the day, explained Adriana, head teacher, who had trained for two years of education at Calandreta in Béziers, before the school opened. Then, every late morning, there is another institution. »

This will vary depending on the day of the week. Presentation of presentations, texts, collective work … And the main institution, on Thursday: the council. There, students and teachers will discuss school rules, suggest outings, make comments, criticize. “You can also ask to change jobs,” Iris added. In fact, every child has a “job”: washing the tables, picking up the trash… Continuing the visit: Iris took us to the first floor. Kindergartens and CPs sat and listened intently to Adriana’s reading, in Occitan.

We spoke Occitan all day, except for French lessons. The institutions are in Occitan and we started reading Occitan for kindergartens

Adriana (head teacher)

Iris, like most students, did not speak Occitan before learning Calandreta and would never use it outside, but she still valued this knowledge: “It’s great to speak a second language. For teachers, the interest is also educational: “They learn to adapt, to discover a second language and it is an advantage to learn languages.»

First start for Calandreta ribeirona, French-Occitan bilingual school (2015)

Last visit for Iris, who will now be able to apply for a new belt at the next council meeting and thus gain a new school entitlement. “It’s an maturity -based system. The more belts a student passes, the more his or her rights,” Adriana explained.

Awaiting contract

Right now, the kids are circling the recess, in a grassy yard, with a corner set aside for planting. “When the association was formed in 2013, parents wanted a different school for their children,” Alexia explains. Some wanted an Occitan school, others a school closer to nature, so we tried to connect the two. »

The Calandreta Ribeirona association, which unites parents, supports the school legally, financially and materially.

“Driving and school is tiring. After seven years, we are a little tired, sometimes we have to regain our courage. We need good news: to see our request for contractualization accepted. »

Alexia (Teacher and parents of students)

In fact, after five years, a private school may be required to sign a State contract to benefit from financial assistance that can be used to create an additional teaching post. But last year, Calandreta denied their request, which it renewed this year. “We follow National Education, we respect the program. He regularly inspects us. But contracting also helps us be more recognizable and easier to go on some school outings, ”Alexia emphasizes.

If the recognition of the rectorate is still awaited, that of the children, is already there. Recess ended, and Alexia took the children out in the ministry: “Would you like to go to another school? “” No! “, They replied in chorus.

Mathieu Brosseau

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