English teacher’s testimonial – 2 years spent at Douces Maternelles !
Douces Maternelles raised my expectations of an education environment with such a collaborative and open approach between all staff. Together we manage to provide and share exceptional learning materials, creative ideas and ensemble projects that lead to fantastic spaces in which the children feel welcome, happy and engaged. The children are as pivotal as the teachers in the way themes are established and progress. We discuss plans and curiosities frequently and note down shared passions that we can then utilise to provide materials that actively speak to the children’s interests. Having these open dialogues exemplifies the values of Douces Maternelles, where everybody’s voice is heard and confidence grows from directing the learning experience. Nurturing these thoughts from the children means we can take numerous paths to gain an understanding of a topic and there’s always ample time given to teachers to construct future classes. As well as time, there’s also support with providing all necessary materials to ensure that even ambitious ideas are feasible.
Our classes alternate between group and individual work, recognising the importance of our social relationships parallel to establishing autonomy gives a rounded educational experience. In classes prepared for individual work the children have the opportunity to explore their own preferences for learning. Each task, whether it be focused around vocabulary, maths, motricity or another skill will be creatively centered on the current theme, continuing to learn different skills in an established thematic framework allows each activity to continually contribute to the understanding the topic whilst stimulating select skills. The teachers are always there to note the children’s experiences with certain materials, note where there were successes or potential barriers and adapt suitably in the future.
Notes taken by the teachers are another good example of the teamwork and strong communication between the team. We constantly share updates and observations so we are able to guide, support and encourage each child as an individual. Our group work allows us to realise our roles in a larger community, to respect each other and acknowledge that together we can create much more ambitious projects than we sometimes can alone.
In art we come together to make large decorations that we then place in the classroom to document our past teachings so that we can reflect on previously learnt topics. Our group work also takes the form of morning welcome time sessions. Whether it’s singing, sharing stories or discussing classroom activities, together the children learn to be patient in allowing their friends to speak up, to respect each other’s input and to take pride in their own contributions to the group.
Finally a special mention for our location, we make the most of our beautiful surroundings, for outside activities, explorations and recreational playtime. We have photographed beautiful gardens, observed passing boats and trains, undergone treasure hunts, searched for insects, popped into bakeries and much more in various locations surrounding the school. These are opportunities which expand the children’s learning but also to help them understand their wider role in the community and to take pride in their school and locality.