Montclus – Rhone Gard: the alternative associative school Le Tourrihou moves to middle school!

Montclus - Rhone Gard: the alternative associative school Le Tourrihou moves to middle school!

Dans la cour du Tourrihou, Delphine Girard-Bouchard et Stéphanie Bondoux, deux des quatre mamans qui portent le projet de collège. Pour leurs enfants, les bienfaits d’une pédagogie alternative sont tangibles. C. C. – MIDI LIBRE

Parents from the associative school created and based in Montclus since 2015 plan to open a middle school class in the area. Where ? In Bagnols-sur-Cèze, Pont-Saint-Esprit, Barjac ? The project is complete, all that is missing is the premises. 

In 2015, a first class opened. Then a second in 2016. A local resident then observed: "As soon as there are children, a village comes back to life…" Montclus had not had a school for forty years. At the origin of the Tourrihou school, mothers, who wanted a different pedagogy for the development of their little ones. And quite a commitment on their part, working voluntarily to ensure the proper organization of the structure (recruitment of teachers, work, cleaning, and so on). With the kind help of the municipal team, since the beginning.

From the small section to CM2, the private associative school, supported by the Grandir ensemble association, welcomes up to thirty children. Twenty this year, accompanied by two teachers: Maria Kaufman for 3-6 year olds and Léa Sonzogni for 6-12 year olds. There is room to welcome new children at the start of the next school year. They come from Issirac, Bagnols-sur-Cèze, Connaux… the parents organize carpooling. The children are happy in their little school, near the river. "It’is our greatest gift, our children who come home happy from school or who don't want to leave… You have to see them in meetings. They are amazing, in their speaking… We trust them, they know it, everything is fluid", these mothers testify. The commitment of parents and their "educational beliefs" is concretely reflected in their voluntary involvement for the school, and paying 250 € per month over ten months for their child's schooling. Last year, the school received a second visit from the academic inspectorate. "The feedback is very good."  The comments on English and team sport have already been taken into account count. 

Tools to understand   

This year, Stéphanie Bondoux, Joëlle Coulom, Delphine Girard-Bouchard and Jessica Renversau, four mothers, set up and completed the project of opening a middle school class for around fifteen students aged 11 to 15 at the next school year, "for continuity, to make children active in their learning by decompartmentalizing subjects and linking knowledge together". A project also supported by the Grandir ensemble association. It will be a private secular college outside of a contract offering an alternative pedagogy. On the program: "In the morning, the acquisition of the common base of knowledge, the afternoon will be dedicated to personal and collective projects."< /em>
Last September, after schooling at Tourrihou, Delphine and Joëlle's daughters entered 6th grade at Saint-Ambroix college, "because it’s a small structure and there are no classes on Wednesday". The two students have an average of 16, they are "autonomous, respectful of adults, underlines Joëlle. The principal told me: "Humanly, we would like to only have students like them." The interpersonal skills are there. The children have confidence in themselves and have acquired autonomy". Three other students also completed the college stage in other establishments, including the Saint-Jean college in Bagnols, "they really like it there&quot ;. That said, for these middle school students, Tourrihou remains their school, they come back from time to time, nostalgic… "It doesn't make sense to put them back in the classical system&quot ;, indicate these mothers. "Here, we take the time to understand and we create tools to understand." The pedagogy is inspired by Freinet, Montessori…

The project is self-financing   

At college, the philosophy will be the same: support in kindness and respect for each person's rhythm. "Well-being and knowing how to be", summarizes Stéphanie. "L’learning happens when there is meaning, Delphine adds. We want to keep this pedagogy, starting from the desires and projects of the children, making learning accessible, not a chore that lacks meaning…" 
Their project is finished. The Gardoises send their file to municipalities and to the Agglo du Gard rhodanien, looking for premises, even shared ones. They think of Barjac, Pont-Saint-Esprit, Bagnols-sur-Cèze, served by buses. "We need 50 to 100 m2, a kitchen would be a plus but it’is not obligatory, children bring their meals. We have interested families . And the project is self-financing."
They are convinced of this, mentioning alternative colleges in Sorgues or Arles: "There is a place in the sector for this project. For the continuity of education for the children of Montclus, for families who have chosen family education, or for children considered to be failing at school. When you adapt to them, things go well."The Tourrihou parents are currently preparing the school party (read below). An invitation to visit the structure and discuss this great adventure, where everyone grows up within a caring group. ; email: association.grandirensemble

Event: the school festival, in the village square, June 1st

It’has become a tradition: it has been organized by parents since 2016. Saturday June 1st, it’s the return of "Montclus en fe&ecirc ;te", from 9 a.m. à 8 p.m., on the village square. The profits from the school festival are donated to the school. On the program: festive garage sales, market é creators, juggling workshop, hula-hoop workshop, trampoline, inflatable games, a concert with Tom Cie Bonne pioche, and the Minouchette children's show. Catering and refreshment bar on site.

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