Terre et Crayons, an alternative high school to rediscover the taste for learning, opens in Codognan

Terre et Crayons, an alternative high school to rediscover the taste for learning, opens in Codognan

Nelly Letessier, la directrice : “Toutes les filières générales du bac et STMG seront accessibles”. Midi Libre – K. H.

Le collège, qui accueille aujourd’hui 20 élèves, fonctionne depuis septembre 2021. À la prochaine rentrée, le lycée ouvrira à son tour avec dix places.

How to learn differently ? Regaining self-confidence ? Rediscovering a taste for school ? The Terre et Crayons college created by Nelly Letessier in 2021 in Codognan was born to provide answers to these questions, sometimes painful for children and distressing for parents when schooling does not go smoothly. And Nelly Letessier knows what she is talking about: "At 5 years old, my son had a school phobia, it was very complicated", she recalls. She trained, discovered alternative teaching methods, including Freinet, which emphasized cooperation, mutual aid and placed the child at the heart of their learning. This discovery was a revolution for the woman who was then a maths teacher in a middle school, a place where students who did not fit into the mold,"those in difficulty but also those who go faster", do not always find their place. "J& rsquo;changed the way I think and teach and saw the results!"

A pedagogy of mutual aid and autonomy

At Terre et Crayons, teaching is based on the Freinet pedagogy, which favors mutual aid and autonomy. "The students co-construct the life of the establishment, specifies Nelly Letessier. Traditional learning is done with Pi correspondence courses, with the help of teachers. In addition, the students discuss an issue twice a week in council and vote, they also organize projects (lotto, camping, hiking…).

The establishment is not under contract, tuition is 6,000 euros/year in middle school and 7,500 euros/year in high school. “I struggle to find patrons, grants…", explains the principal

The idea of ​​a college then matured and Terre et Crayons was born in September 2021 with three teachers. “There was a lot of utopia at the beginning", smiles the principal. “We have a great team, it's magic. Every day, I know why I get up", she enthuses. Here, "no grades or compulsory homework", we discover autonomy, we open our curiosity, we learn to learn at our own pace.“But be careful, there is a framework”, reassures Nelly Letessier.

At the college, which can accommodate 35 students in total, “about 75%” are there because they are having difficulty in the traditional education system: loss of motivation, dropping out, harassment, phobia, dys disorders, the reasons are multiple. And the “rebirths” exciting:  "A kid who saw himself in a CAP gets back on his feet and considers the bac". Some students only spend a few months there, others have been there since it opened and "four third-year students will join the traditional high school".

But the demand for a Terre et Crayons high school is also there. So, at the start of the school year, ten places will be created that will offer all the general and STMG streams to prepare for the bac more serenely. “A family moves from Switzerland so their child can come to us!”

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